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Monsters (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=199679&d=1296232191
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

85






Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 94 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Written & Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Music by: Jon Hopkins
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 1, 2011







"Beware"



Film Synopsis:

Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear there and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"...
Our story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.



My Take:

Reading the description for this film and having seen the trailer it had a sort of Cloverfield meets District 9 feel that looked interesting. After watching it I found that it was really neither. It is set after most invading monster movies normally end as these large alien creatures take over and inhabit certain parts of the world. The locals become accustomed to living life so close to them but occasional interactions happen and usually have fatal results. Photographer Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) has been waiting for the chance to get the big money shot and travels to Mexico during the aliens migratory season. But when his boss's daughter Sam (Whitney Able), also in Mexico, gets caught up in things there her father demands that Kaulder help to bring her home. This turns out to be easier said than done after a series of mishaps lands them deep in the alien infected zone struggling to make their way back to America.

This is a multi-genre film that is part road movie/romance, drama and sci-fi/horror. It follows the trials of this couple as they struggle to make their way from Mexico back into the U.S. and the bond that forms between them as a result. It is more character driven science fiction adventure than horror/monster story as they level of suspense/threat by the creatures is secondary. Whereas a film like District 9 excelled at balancing character design, drama and action I felt that Monsters lethargic pacing and uneventful story left it feeling bland and uninteresting. Likewise I found the design of the aliens (squid like that walk around on their tentacle/arms) to be non-menacing which diminished the fear factor. For 93 minutes I sat wondering where the film was going. In reality the answer never came as the non-climactic ending (which was preceded by a bizarre mating sequence witnessed by Andrew and Sam) perfectly coincided with the rest of the film. I have read very positive things about it which leads me to think that perhaps I just missed the point of Monsters. It was shot on a shoe string budget and features only two actors (the remainder of the cast are locals) and lots of CGI. Be that as it may I have no problem with a budget film provided I find it entertaining. I did enjoy the performances by Able/McNairy and appreciated the narrative's allegory and organic feel but neither provided a viable connection for me. Maybe a second viewing will provide a different perspective but I somehow doubt it.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some disturbing images.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Monsters comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.6 Mbps.

This film's source elements don't lend themselves to overly vibrant, high gloss video as images tend to lean toward reserved color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that director Gareth Edwards was striving for. Contrast is slightly scaled back which gives the video a flatter less dynamic appearance. Blacks are fairly strong and detail in dark areas and shadowy backgrounds is estimable. Resolution is good overall however due to the nature of the photography definitive sharpness and fine detail perception ebbs and flows. These instances don't completely inhibit the ability to visually resolve the structure of objects within the frame but slightly diminish it. Conversely there were times when images have improved dimensional depth and discernible clarity. Many of the dark/low level sequences are overtly grainy and tend to look noisy. Otherwise the presence of grain is rarely detectable and artifacts are kept to a minimum.

This 7.1 channel lossless soundtrack delivers good sound quality, punchy dynamics and discerning clarity. There isn't aggressive use of surround sound but when called for the mix utilizes the entire system to create a fair level of envelopment that brims with diffused ambience and convincing near field effects. Dynamic range and detail are excellent as the recorded sounds have definable presence, appreciable delineation and robust impact. Bass response is appropriately dialed in and has good solidity and palpable extension. The final sequence at the convenience store brought all of these elements together and sounded great. Dialogue is predominantly clear and concise but occasionally required more prominence within the front soundstage. Overall I found this to be a decent home theater presentation but not especially worthy for demonstration purposes.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary with writer/director Gareth Edwards, Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able

  • (HD) 4 Deleted/Extended scenes

  • (HD) Behind the scene of Monsters - 69 minute making of featurette

  • (HD) Monsters the edit - 21 minute featurette

  • (HD) Visual effects - 35 minute featurette

  • (HD) Interview with Gareth Edwards - 44 minutes

  • (HD) Interview with Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able - 28 minutes

  • (HD) New York Comic Con discussion with Gareth Edwards - 5 minutes

  • (HD) HDNET: A look at Monsters - 4 minutes

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Digital Copy (iTunes)




Final Thoughts:

Monsters is a multi-genre film that is part road movie/romance, drama and sci-fi/horror. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting and turned out to be more of a character driven science fiction adventure. That isn't a problem however the film suffers from lethargic pacing, an uneventful story and unconvincing special effects. I did enjoy the performances by the cast and appreciated the narrative's allegory and organic feel but unfortunately neither provided a viable connection for me which left Monsters feeling dull and uninteresting. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment featuring good high definition audio/video quality and an in-depth look behind the scenes at the film/filmmaker that brought it to the big screen. I have read very positive things about Monsters which leads me to think that perhaps I just didn't get it. Maybe a second viewing will provide a different perspective but until then I can only recommend that those interested should rent it first.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 26
Ralph, I felt the same way, especially with the ending. You kind of just feel let down when it ends.

I also agree with the acting, well done by those two.
post #3 of 26
I watched this on HDNet Movies awhile back and it wasn't at all what I was expecting. Great acting but not my kind of movie. The early reviews when it hit theaters did have me interested.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by taz291819 View Post

Ralph, I felt the same way, especially with the ending. You kind of just feel let down when it ends.

I also agree with the acting, well done by those two.

Same here, I got this on demand expecting a big action horror monster movie District 9 style. Instead I was left with a slow paced romantic tension sci-fi movie. I will say the movie in its self isn't that bad, I just felt cheated as they didn't advertise the movie properly. My biggest problem is a movie called Monsters you think would be filled with monsters, Alto they are there it's nothing what you would expect.
post #5 of 26
You nailed it Ralph. I was really looking forward to this one and once I saw it I was really let down. I can appreciate the atmosphere that the director created but essentially you end up with characters that you don't know much about (therefore you don't really care about them), half-assed "monster" designs, and almost no story to speak of. Also like you said, the pacing drags the film on and on even at a brisk 90+ minutes. I don't know...it just seems like a wasted opportunity.


The ending was just the last nail in the coffin because
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
at that point you didn't care that they probably died! Perhaps you even cheer on the flying octopus!
post #6 of 26
Thanks to your review Ralph and others comments I decided against to blind buy this. Ill think ill wait for it to be released here in Australia and rent it first.
post #7 of 26
I really liked this. A sci-fi Lost in Translation is how I'd describe it to others.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Thanks to your review Ralph and others comments I decided against to blind buy this. Ill think ill wait for it to be released here in Australia and rent it first.

It's worth a rental, but not a blind buy.
post #9 of 26
I liked it, quirky charm actually watched it twice.
post #10 of 26
I didnt see this movie yet but I will say this:
this guy better do a good job on the upcomming Godzilla movie or I will very angry.
post #11 of 26
I enjoyed this movie when I watched it....I liked it even more after reading how it was made with a very small budget, little script or location prep during filming.
post #12 of 26
I'll give it a rent on a slow night.
post #13 of 26
A rent way down in my queue and I'll go in with lowest expectations. I'm curious enough to give it a go whenever.
post #14 of 26
"A Sci-fi Lost in Translation"? What drugs are you on?! Lost in Translation is a great film. This is a forgettable rental type movie you watch once and maybe wish you rented something else afterwards.

the movie is somewhat entertaining despite being bad. it was a different take on a monster movie than I've ever seen before, but it has lots of shortcomings. lack of monsters, actors that can act, and a good script are some. i thought the acting wasn't that great and the dialogue is so stupid at times it's laughable. i was close to turning it off only partway through, but kept watching cuz the woman is pretty cute.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxxjulie View Post
"a sci-fi lost in translation"? What drugs are you on?! Lost in translation is a great film. This is a forgettable rental type movie you watch once and maybe wish you rented something else afterwards.

The movie is somewhat entertaining despite being bad. It was a different take on a monster movie than i've ever seen before, but it has lots of shortcomings. Lack of monsters, actors that can act, and a good script are some. I thought the acting wasn't that great and the dialogue is so stupid at times it's laughable. I was close to turning it off only partway through, but kept watching cuz the woman is pretty cute.

+ 1
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxxjulie View Post

"A Sci-fi Lost in Translation"? What drugs are you on?! Lost in Translation is a great film. This is a forgettable rental type movie you watch once and maybe wish you rented something else afterwards.

the movie is somewhat entertaining despite being bad. it was a different take on a monster movie than I've ever seen before, but it has lots of shortcomings. lack of monsters, actors that can act, and a good script are some. i thought the acting wasn't that great and the dialogue is so stupid at times it's laughable. i was close to turning it off only partway through, but kept watching cuz the woman is pretty cute.

I agree with ya on some of the script. Like the way the guy acted towards the woman in the beginning, knowing full well that she is his boss's daughter. I don't think there are many people whom would act like that.
post #17 of 26
What's even funnier is the decisions they make.... gee should we wait a few months here in tropical paradise until its safe or cross the quarantine zone on foot during monster feeding season.... hmmmm


Still I liked this movie
post #18 of 26
Horrid movie. Probably worse than Skyline.

Bad dialogue, characters you don't care about. Just horrid.
The dialogue was so bad it made Alien Resurrection seem like Shakespeare.

I was hoping the flying squid would just munch on them and end the lousy movie. Felt like it was over 2 hours long. I was shocked afterwards to see it was only 90 minutes.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by neveser View Post

The dialogue was so bad it made Alien Resurrection seem like Shakespeare.

lol I like that.
post #20 of 26
Watched last night. This movie had great potential. Unfortunately it was a terrible ending (in my opinion) and the movie should have centered more on the monsters, it would have been a great "Godzilla" type movie. Instead of showing the areas already damaged by the monsters, I would have preferred if the story was about when the monsters first arrived and what happened then. I wouldn't watch this again and give it a rating of 2 stars only for the creature design.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sold View Post

I really liked this. A sci-fi Lost in Translation is how I'd describe it to others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redshift1 View Post

I liked it, quirky charm actually watched it twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeorwell View Post

I enjoyed this movie when I watched it....I liked it even more after reading how it was made with a very small budget, little script or location prep during filming.

I really liked it. IMO they should have called it something else as the title implies well.....Monsters!
post #22 of 26
i think the title refers to people being monsters as much as the aliens. some profound bs, eh?
post #23 of 26
I rather enjoyed this one. Well worth a rent.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by neveser View Post

Horrid movie. Probably worse than Skyline.

Bad dialogue, characters you don't care about. Just horrid.
The dialogue was so bad it made Alien Resurrection seem like Shakespeare.

I was hoping the flying squid would just munch on them and end the lousy movie. Felt like it was over 2 hours long. I was shocked afterwards to see it was only 90 minutes.

I agree this film was absolutley horrible, lucky I rented it. What a waste of night.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxxjulie View Post

"A Sci-fi Lost in Translation"? What drugs are you on?! Lost in Translation is a great film. This is a forgettable rental type movie you watch once and maybe wish you rented something else afterwards.

the movie is somewhat entertaining despite being bad. it was a different take on a monster movie than I've ever seen before, but it has lots of shortcomings. lack of monsters, actors that can act, and a good script are some. i thought the acting wasn't that great and the dialogue is so stupid at times it's laughable. i was close to turning it off only partway through, but kept watching cuz the woman is pretty cute.

Lost in Translation was terrible. It's one of the most overrated movies in recent history.
Monsters, while average, was much better.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I rather enjoyed this one. Well worth a rent.

I liked it, not scary but interesting.
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