NOVEMBER 13, 2009
As a big fan of the short-lived animated show Clone High, I was hoping Monster High would be roughly the same sort of thing; i.e. a funny look at what it would be like if a bunch of traditional monsters (werewolf, vampire, generic Frankenstein, etc) were in high school together (as opposed to the historical figures of Clone High). But no, Monster High is apparently about how completely boring and unfunny it would be if some demon took a look at what happened when some wizard named Mr. Armageddon took over a school with a giant plant and seeming omnipresent powers and how a few outcasts fought him by running around like jackasses a lot and eventually challenging him to a basketball game.
Needless to say, I liked my idea better.
The biggest problem with this wholly terrible movie is that it’s not funny, ever, and yet that seems to be their main focus (it’s certainly not in the monsters - monster action takes up maybe 10 minutes of the 85 minute film). The script by John Platt and Roy Langsdon (the team that also wrote Lambada: The Forbidden Dance) has our largely terrible actors run the gamut from slapstick to farce to puns to meta-humor to stoner gags, and none of it works (though I suppose if I was stoned out of my mind AND 8 years old I would probably enjoy some of the jokes). The only time I laughed during the entire fucking movie was at the very end, during the aforementioned climactic basketball game, during a recycled but still funny sight gag of a ball circling the hoop in slo-mo for a ridiculous amount of time. It’s been used several times before (usually in cartoons) and is hardly the most brilliant gag ever devised, but compared to the rest of the film, it’s Charlie Chaplin quality.
I also cannot for the life of me figure out who their target audience was. The humor is largely childish, Police Academy-level (later sequels I mean), yet it carries an R rating due to the gratuitous nudity. The monsters all suck, and there’s no real violence or gore, so I can’t see any horror fans really taking a shine to this nonsense. Nor does it carry the basic charm of something like (the somewhat similar) Class Of Nuke Em High, itself no masterpiece but can still at least hold your attention.
It’s also incredibly cheap, and normally I can forgive that in a movie but it seems like they went out of their way to make the film look shoddy. For example, there’s a goddamn jump cut during an establishing shot of the school! Like, was it so expensive to throw a fucking camera on a tripod and let it roll for 10 seconds? And at the top of the third act, our heroes go to talk to the basketball coach about their plan to fight off the bad guy with basketball, and it’s obvious that the team is not actually in the room, because you never see them. Instead they just overdub some walla of the “team” murmuring and saying “Yeah!” or whatever whenever the coach says something worth “Yeah!”ing about. Why call attention to the fact that you couldn’t afford to have the actors come in for the scene? Just take out the overdubbed voices and the scene plays exactly the same as if they weren’t in the room to begin with!
At times it feels they were going for a Rocky Horror type thing (well, more like Shock Treatment, what with the incomprehensible plot and constant cutaways to a guy watching the entire thing unfold onscreen), but they miss the mark entirely, which of course just makes me wish I was watching one of those movies instead (or Christ, even reading the Revenge of the Old Queen script online). It’s rare I see a movie so terrible that I would rather just shut it off and watch something else for the day, but this one came close. The DVD has no extras (though the menu has a few icons that look like traditional Easter Egg buttons), but even if it did I wouldn’t bother. You already stole 85 minutes away from me movie, you’re not getting any more!
What say you?