Monsters: Dark Continent Blu-ray Review
In 2010, a little seen indie film that showcased a lot of promise and talent from those involved, quietly made a mark on movie lovers. The film wisely used its title characters, MONSTERS, as a backdrop for a character driven story between two people. Director, writer, cinematographer and visual effects artists, Gareth Edwards, has since gone on to direct 2014’s GODZILLA and is attached to 2016’s STAR WARS ANTHOLOGY: ROGUE ONE. MONSTERS (click the link to read my review) was one of my favorite films of that year. So it is no surprise that I would request to review the sequel when it came to Blu-ray. Unfortunately, While MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT may look beautiful, it lacks the depth and compelling nature of its predecessor.
It’s been ten years since the events from the first film, and the “infected zones” have expanded globally. The middle east particularly had an influx of monsters, now named MTRs. The U.S. military is sending troops and air strikes to kill as many as possible, but there is still chaos within the natives who are not taking kindly to the intrusive military and their collateral damage.
Giving individual personalities through quick developmental situations, the film sets up a small group of soldiers – narrator Parks (Sam Keeley), his wild best friend Maguire (Joe Dempsie), new father Williams (Parker Sawyers), fast-talking Sgt. Forrest (Nicholas Pinnock), and Sgt. leader Noah Frater (Johnny Harris). The main fight ultimately becomes between people with the monsters, once again, wisely put in the background. However, their appearances at different stages of their growth, while visually intriguing, never have much of an impact on our group. In fact, unlike MONSTERS complex take, MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT chooses to portray the monsters as kind animals who don’t really want to bother anyone. It’s tough to understand why we hate them so, which seems to be one of the film’s incoherent yet preachy messages.
Gareth Edwards is back this time as executive producer, but the direction now belongs to Tom Green (no, not the odd ball comedian from FREDDY GOT FINGERED). Green has a eye for staging beautiful looking shots and enlists the shaky close up cam, which is effective on the battle field. But that credit more than likely belongs mostly to cinematographer Christopher Ross. Either way the film looks fantastic and can almost fool the audience into thinking it might be better than it is. But a Terrence Malick film, this is not.
MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT struggles in the screenplay by Tom Green and Jay Basu who seem to lose sight on what their film is about. The editing is another culprit, lingering on scenes that were finished well before they end. As a whole, the dramatic structure was in much need of some tightening. Having a great looking film with some extremely interesting pieces just isn’t enough if they aren’t put together properly. Ultimately, I was more emotionally invested in the film ending rather than the characters.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.40:1) As I said before, the film looks amazing, complimenting the locations and chaotic environment.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is equally as great.
On the set of Monsters: Dark Continent (2:51): The director talks a little about a scene on location. It’s far too brief and gives very little information.