Love and Monsters
Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic adventure comedy about a guy named Joel played by Dylan O’Brien who is kind of a loser, taking on monsters and becoming a leader. The film was recently added to Netflix and is one of my favourite films of the year so far. It was originally released in 2020, but new to Netflix at least in Canada a few weeks ago. The film was up for Visual effects at the 2021 Oscars, however, understandably lost to Tenet. I love this movie and its effects but no one was beating Tenet this year.
I was not expecting much from this movie, but it was way better than I thought it would be. I loved the characters and especially the dog, Boy. I’ve been watching a lot of behind the scenes for the film recently and the two dogs they used did a really great job, very well trained for the role. I loved Micheal Rooker’s character Clyde and Ariana Greenblatt’s character Minnow, and their father-daughter relationship. It was very sweet that he took her in when she lost her family, and he lost his son. Then when they meet Joel they train him to use his crossbow, kill monsters, and tell between the nice monsters and the ones that will kill you.
Joel is practically helpless when he first goes above the surface on his journey to find Aimee. So to see them take him in and help him survive is a fun part of the film. Plus I love Dylan O’Brien and all of his work so it's cool to see him do a role that in a way combines his sarcastic funny characters like Stiles in Teen Wolf and his adventure characters like Thomas in Maze Runner. Joel feels like the perfect role for him because it is such a blend of his two biggest roles. My favourite scene in the film is when Joel has to fight off this huge cockroach-like monster to help save Boy. Joel gets knocked to his feet and goes through this flashback of when he watched his parents die. It parallels the current situation where Boy is about to meet the same fate. Joel overcomes his past and takes matters into his own hands, saving Boy. I think this is a really beautiful moment for the character and highlights his growth as a person. Especially since at the beginning of the film, we see Joel freeze in a very similar situation and here he gets past the fear and fights back.
The different creatures and the world they created is really cool, it is very different from what you would normally see in a monster apocalypse film. The land called “the surface” is really beautiful where wildlife has taken over. The two underground bunkers are very different from each other and represent different lifestyles. Aimee is in a colony with predominantly elderly people who are dependent on her to care for them. Their bunker is along the beach so the structure has this big open window that lets in light and it looks a lot more extravagant. Whereas Joel’s colony bunker is more like a shack with lots of weapons. The much younger group is always prepared and oriented for survival and protecting themselves rather than focusing on the quality of life.
As for the creatures, each of them is very uniquely designed and just fun. I like that each species of monsters has a very distinct look. My favourite of the monsters was probably the giant crab at the end of the film just because it was so detailed. As for my favourite creature I really liked the luminous floating jellyfish scene, which to me was one of the most beautiful scenes in the film.
The movie is so funny and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I like that you don’t really know who the bad guy is until much later in the film and it mostly focuses on Joel’s journey. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and keeps it light. I highly recommend it, it's a great movie and it has something to appeal to everyone. Go give it a watch available on Netflix.