HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Monsters: Dark Continent
HTS Overall Score:66
The sequel to Gareth Edwards’ “Monsters” is nothing but a shell in comparison to the original. “Monsters” was a quirky little alien movie that was a generally well received genre flick and helped Gareth gain the notoriety he needed to make the new “Godzilla”, as well as come up next in line for “Star Wars: Rogue One”. Unfortunately, Gareth handed the directors’ job over to Tom Green, a first timer in the seat, and the results are less than spectacular. “Monsters Dark Continent” is hopelessly shallow movie that meanders all over the place and can’t seem to find some sort of equilibrium between mindless action movie and social commentary. The action becomes overwhelming clichéd and mind numbing and the ham fisted attempts at social commentary fall as flat as a pancake.
It’s been all out war since the invasion of the stories high monsters that invaded earth some 5 years ago, and now humanity is struggling for survival. The Middle East has been hit the worst, with entire nations falling pretty to the enormous beasts as well as American air strikes that have left just as much damage in their wake as the beasts they’re trying to kill. Following the exploits of a handful of American soldiers, the paper thin plot wafts through the breezes of the cinema, being thrown to and fro as the director’s whim changes over the course of two mind numbing hours. Mike (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), Williams (Parker Sawyer) and Sergeant Frater (Johnny Harris) are sent to take down an insurgency in the Middle East that has risen up due to anti American sentiment over their overzealous attempts to wipe out the monsters. Stuck between the stories high beasties, and the human insurgents, the crew has to find some way to stick together and fight their own inner demons as well as the physical beings that threaten their lives.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=46306[/img]I really liked 2010’s “Monsters”. It was a low budget sci-fi movie that was a lot of fun with plenty of introspection. I would have like it if the sequel was at least ALMOST as good as its predecessor, or even just a mindlessly fun action movie. However, Tom Green gives us a lackluster attempt at social commentary and a brutal blunt object attack of an action movie. As far as social commentary goes, they had points where they TRIED to put up the military on one end, and the monsters on another and nudge the audience to question who was the bigger monster, man or alien, but It..just..doesn’t…work. I can see the attempt, but the rabid use of military cliché’s and over acted sob stories just fell flat as a board. Lets just say that this is no “Starship Troopers”, more like one of the much maligned sequels to said movie, just not nearly as entertaining on a B movie level. “Monsters Dark Continent” just ends up floundering around, blind in the dark as it becomes obvious within the first 30 minutes that the creators have no idea where to take the story. It just ends up being an effort in futility as the characters walk from one action scene to the next, with no apparent story cohesion besides the fact that they’re facing some sort of inner turmoil.
The actors do a decent job in their own right, but the lackluster script and jumbled up directing leaves them with not a whole lot to work with. The actors and characters never really stand above anyone else, but rather feel as if they’re cookie cutter marines who just got placed in the storyline to have someone to connect to. Fater, Frankie, Williams, they are just don’t feel memorable enough to even remember once the movie ends, which is a disservice to some decent B grade actors who have done much better work.
Rated R for graphic war violence, pervasive language, some sexual content/nudity and drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=46314[/img]“Monsters Dark Continent” arrives on on Blu-ray with a fantastic looking 1080p transfer. The image is gritty and very “sandy” colored if you know what I mean. It’s a modern warfare movie and tends to color grade itself to look like a grimy, gritty and sandy looking film. Browns and earthy tones dominate the palette and some of the colors can be a tad washed out. You’re never wanting for detail though, as the digital photography leaves nothing to the imagination. Every greasy and sweaty face, ever crease and line on Fater’s face, and all the nasty dirt that you can imagine mixed with blood show up fantastically well. You can notice every line and ever stitch on their military garb and even long shots look incredible. Black levels are exceptionally strong, although sometimes there are a few scenes where it looks a bit washed out and grey, such as the night shot with the night vision goggles. I didn’t notice any digital artifacting and the disc has plenty of room to breathe with a healthy bitrate.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=46322[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is a bit of an interesting bird. It’s good on the surface, but when you dig down it starts to show a few flaws. Surround activity is exceptional, as the film is nothing but a cacophony of action, bringing in a full 360 degree field of immersion that is truly exceptional. Gun shots wiz over your shoulder, the impact of mortars rock the sound field and dialog is exceptionally clean and clear. LFE is powerful, and the dynamic range is HUGE. However, these last two things are also the track’s downfall. The LFE and dynamic range are just BONE CRUSHING. So much so that it starts to become very fatiguing on the ears after a while. The movie just becomes so overwhelming in the audio department that I started to get a headache. Many times you want to turn the volume down, but can’t because the dialog is normal and clean, while the action set pieces are just beating your senseless with a brutal assault. There’s a fine line between aggressive and completely over the top, and that line was definitely crossed here. Those of you who like that heavy metal, dubstep level of assault on your ears will definitely get a kick out of it, but those of us who like well-balanced tracks will find it a bit grating.
• On the Set of "Monsters: Dark Continent"
I really wanted to like this sequel, but came out hugely disappointed. The story was about as flat and thin as you could get, with no cheesy humor to at least make it a guilty pleasure. Instead we get a film where the director took himself way too seriously, or at the very least was in way over his head. Gareth Edwards direction is sorely missed, and even the excellent video score can’t save it. The over assault of the heavily cooked audio track can be a bit fatiguing and the lack of extras on the disc leaves me with distinctly sour taste in my mouth. I honestly would just skip it.
Starring: Sam Keeley, Johnny Harris, Joe Dempsie
Directed by: Tom Green
Written by: Tom Green, Jay Baso
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Runtime: 119 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Buy Monsters: Dark Continent On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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