by Monica Hayes
After years of crafting animated hits, director Chris Wedge’s follow-up to his 2013 hit, Epic is this satisfying E.T.-esque family film, Monster Trucks.
The story centers around Tripp, (Lucas Till) a high school loner, who dreams of the day he can get in his truck, which he is currently building from spare parts, and leave his miserable little town. Unfortunately for him until that time, he is stuck working for Mr. Weathers’ (Danny Glover) junkyard and towing company.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the town, Reece (Rob Lowe), an oil executive with a deadline and millions on the line, gives the order to keep drilling ignoring warnings of his engineers after discovering a river some two thousand feet underground due to the possibility of a living ecosystem. Due to the continued drilling, something becomes lodged in the pipes causing a massive explosion. Lo and behold, it turns out the cause of the explosion are three squid-like creatures with a taste for oil. While two of the creatures were quickly captured, one escaped and is hiding in a demolished truck that was delivered to the junkyard.
Tripp stumbles upon the creature, who he affectionately named Creech, hiding in the truck he is working on. Once Tripp realizes Creech can make his old clunky truck run and burn rubber just by wrapping his tentacles around the axels, the two are inseparable. That is until oil goon Burke comes to collect and ultimately exterminate Creech and his kind. Tripp, Meredith (Jane Levy), and oil company scientist Jim Dowd (Thomas Lennon) team up and fashion two additional Monster Trucks to get them back to their nest before Burke and his cronies can destroy them.
This fun, heartfelt movie hints of a new age E.T. or Escape to Witch Mountain where there is a race to get the alien back home or meet up with the space ship before the government arrives. Kids will fall in love with Creech’s cuddliness; they will also enjoy the action that incorporates crushing cars, crashing into buildings, racing along the open fields, jumping off cliffs and climbing walls, everything that embodies the spirit of Monster Trucks.