Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter ★★½

Listen up chicklefucks cause I’m only going to say this once. I’m not a vulgar auteurist, nor am I a PWA hater. I don’t play video games so I have no familiarity/affection for the franchise this is adapted from. I watched this for one reason and one reason only, as a giant monster movie connoisseur. Therefore I am the only critic you can trust to review this objectively. 

Of the recent Western kaiju movies, this is closest to Kong: Skull Island, with both about soldiers stranded in a strange land inhabited by giant monsters and trying to return home. However, we pretty quickly get down to just one soldier, Mila ‘Jolly’ Jolovich. Fortunately she soon makes a cool new friend in Tony Jaa. I did like his characgef, a ‘monster Hunter’ who despite living a tough and dangerous life is actually a cheerful relationship. His and Mila’s relationship reminded me of the one between Sanaa Lathan and my friend the Predator in Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator (Mila even makes a tarp out of a dead monster’s skin much as the Predator showed Sanaa how to make a shield out of Xenomorph hide.)

My opinion of PWSA remains the same as before: I don’t think he’s terrible, but I don’t see the visionary director others do. No action sequence stood out to me as particularly impressive, though given my relative disinterest in action films I suppose that might be more on me than him.

I’ve heard people call this crazy and insane, and frankly it makes me think of those calling WandaVision Lynchian. I can see why one would say that, but compare this to Godzilla: Final Wars (by the way, is GFW vulgar auteurism? Sound off in the comments) or Godzilla vs. Hedorah or the Showa Gamera movies. I mean none of the monsters talk to each other at all! Even limiting to just recent American giant monster movies I don’t think this is as crazy as Rampage or Godzilla: King of the Monsters. That’s more an observation than a complaint, though; certainly few things are more annoying than a movie loudly trying to seem crazzzzy, after all. 

No, my central issue is the film is more interested in the humans than the monsters. Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining that this isn’t monster action all the way; I loved Godzilla (2014) after all. What I mean is it’s doesn’t seem interested in the monsters as anything other than obstacles. Aside from a pack of plant eating dinosaurs seem briefly, we never get a sense these things do anything other than attack. This is firmly in the Ultraman/Pacific Rim school of kaiju, which is just about killing them, a tradition that I have always found boring and unimaginative given what Shinichi Sekizawa and others have shown us the genre is capable of. I didn’t find these monsters particularly memorable in design or personality, so this doesn’t really give me anything to sink my teeth into. I suppose it’s not fair to judge this for what it isn’t than what is, but I think I’ll sleep soundly tonight (well, so long as that jackass’ car alarm doesn’t go off again.)

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