- RatedPG /GenreAdventure, Fantasy
Some movies require much thought and reflection to understand the complex plot, while others require the exact opposite. ‘Monster Hunt’ is one such movie that encourages no thinking on the audience’s part if it is to be enjoyed.
Bolstered by somewhat impressive CGI animation and visual effects, this comedy-fantasy-adventure film is up-tempo and consistently funny for its entirety.
However, the movie can only get so far with its clumsy plot and occasionally absurd moments.
GENEROUS WITH VISUAL EFFECTS AND LAUGHTER
Set in an ancient world in which monsters that cross into human territory are hunted, Tianyin (Jing Boran) is a young village mayor who is as compassionate as he is clueless about the supernatural. He is apparently saved from three monsters by novice hunter Xiaonan (Bai Baihe), but not before he is chosen by the exiled monster queen to birth (yes, birth) and protect her unborn heir.
Xiaonan plans to have the radish-looking infant sold for a lucrative price and to split the reward with Tianyin. However, the pair find themselves growing increasingly attached to the monster, and to each other.
Helming the movie is former DreamWorks animator Raman Hui, whose portfolio includes ‘Antz’, ‘Madagascar’ and the four ‘Shrek’ films, with Hui co-directing ‘Shrek the Third’.
The Hong Kong director’s impressive credentials are reflected in ‘Monster Hunt’, his feature film directorial debut. While the cute and simplistic design of the monsters would look more impressive in a fully animated film, the animation does fit in well with the live action world with which it interacts.
Hui also uses large, sweeping shots to capture the beauty and scale of his fantasy world. While not consistently realistic, these reflect both the effort as well as the generous budget that went into making the movie.
Visual effects aside, 'Monster Hunt's' main engine is its humour. Bai and Jing are consistently funny as the leading duo, and their endearing exchange of traditional gender roles is a source of much laughter. They are further aided by comedy veterans Eric Tsang and Sandra Ng in supporting roles.
Combined with slick and decently paced action scenes, ‘Monster Hunt’ delivers two hours of fun and entertainment for those who appreciate silly humour.
OCCASIONALLY ABSURD AND UNBEARABLE
As fun as it is to watch, ‘Monster Hunt’ occasionally crosses the line and becomes more absurd than comedic.
The movie has its most unbearable moments when the monsters are the stars of the scene. From random Disney-esque musical numbers to awkward flirtatious gestures, it feels as if the CGI characters are completely clueless about how to carry a comedic film without any human actors to keep things in line.
And despite not taking itself seriously in any way, ‘Monster Hunt’ cannot get away with its clumsy and illogical plot. Conveniently shoehorning new details with minimal or no explanation, the plot-holes are too abundant to go unnoticed, even for an audience that is trying hard not to make sense of anything.
Owing to its charm and visual effects, ‘Monster Hunt’ turns out to be a somewhat decent experience. Unfortunately, it is sometimes too silly for its own good.
'Monster Hunt' opens 23 July 2015