January 3, 2021 – This is a very appealing fairy tale story dressed up in pseudoscience fiction garb. There is plenty of action and comedy with a bit of drama and suspense.
Like a knight on a quest to win the hand of a princess, Joel (Dylan O'Brien of “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”) sets out in from the safety of his underground colony to make a very dangerous journey to another colony across a post apocalyptic landscape to where his old girlfriend, Aimee, (Jessica Henwick of “On the Rocks”).
In this danger-filled world, there are monsters everywhere, like giant insects, amphibians and reptiles. There are monstrous creatures living on the ground, under the ground, and in the water, too. All of them seem to have a taste for human flesh. The explanation given in the movie for why the world is this way makes no scientific sense at all, and is best ignored. The movie is enjoyable anyway, despite the absurd premise.
The premise does, however, allow for a fairy tale-like story in which Joel must overcome his paralyzing fear and general athletic ineptitude in order to become a brave monster-slayer. In this way he will become manly enough, like the dragon-slayers of old, to win the hand of the lovely Aimee.
In a flashback scene seven years ago, just before catastrophe strikes the earth, Joel and Aimee are in a car on a date where it appears that Joel is going to get past first base, when the great catastrophe interrupts them. The memory of this is what prompts Joel to leave the shelter of his bunker to try to get to Aimee's colony.
Joel is about to be devoured when he is rescued by two travelers, Clyde (Michael Rooker of “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt of “Avengers: Infinity War”), who instruct him in the ways of survival in this dangerous environment. He also acquires the valuable assistance of a dog, “Boy” who rescues him from a giant frog-like creature.
Joel finally manages to overcome his paralyzing fear in order to rescue himself and Boy from a giant monster. He begins to gain courage and confidence as he travels onward. There is also a very nice scene between Joel and a damaged robot named Mav1s.
There are some interesting plot twists later in the film, when Joel discovers things about Aimee and himself which change the course of his life profoundly. Here, the story changes from a somewhat routine fairy tale to a more profound story about Joel growing up and taking responsibility not only for himself, but for his friends as well.
This is a very enjoyable and entertaining movie. I went to the local movie theater to see this, but a movie projector-related malfunction prevented that, so I finally got a video disk of the movie recently, which is what this review is based upon. The movie is well structured and acted, and the monsters look real enough, thanks to good computer graphics. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.