With its amusing tone and touching relationships, Love and Monsters makes for fun viewing.
Staring:Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Michael Rooker, and Ariana Greenblatt
Direction: Michael Matthews
Had the coronavirus pandemic not thrown a spanner in the works, we would have had the chance to watch Love and Monsters in cinemas earlier this year. But instead of its intended big screen release, the film has now arrived for streaming on significantly smaller screens via Netflix.
Seeing how impressive the film looks visually might leave you wishing you were watching it in a movie theatre instead.
The dystopian comedy adventure takes us to a post-apocalyptic world where giant mutated creepy crawlies – from cockroaches and spiders to crabs and frogs – have taken over the planet, sending the decimated human population into hiding.
Among the survivors is Joel (Dylan O’Brien), a young man who has spent the last seven years living in an underground bunker with a colony of people, all of whom have paired up. All, that is, except him.
The lovelorn Joel – who has an unfortunate habit of freezing when faced with danger – finally decides he must venture out of the safety of the bunker and go on a quest in the hopes of reuniting with his pre-apocalypse girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick).
His journey is, of course, riddled with peril. But he fortunately finds quite a bit of help along the way as he encounters a plucky dog named Boy (played primarily by the wonderful Australian Kelpie Hero), a damaged Mav1s robot (voiced by Melanie Zanetti), and two fellow travellers, survival expert Clyde (Michael Rooker) and his young sidekick Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt).
It’s in his relationships with those who cross his path that the film truly excels. The premise isn’t exactly fresh and the route the movie takes is fairly predictable, but the writers make sure that you stay invested in the adventure through the strength of the relationships and interactions. Joel and Boy make wonderful companions. Minnow is endearing, and, surprisingly, so is Mav1s; you know a movie is doing something right when even a robot manages to elicit emotions from the audience.
The timing of its release – an apocalypse movie in the middle of a pandemic – may not be perfect, but with its impressive world-building and delightful Zombieland-like vibes, Love and Monsters makes for fun, entertaining viewing. Here’s hoping that by the time the inevitable sequel arrives (they’ve built a sturdy base, now they need more inventive stories), the circumstances will be more favourable and we’ll be able to watch it in all its visual glory on the big screen.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection