This past Saturday I got to see an indie film from the UK about two U.S. people in Central America called MONSTERS, which is sci fi-lite. The UK director Gareth Edwards is known for making big FX for small $$$. This feature length film shows his abilities in spades.
The movie is slow paced, which for many viewers is apparently some sort of crime. I like slow pacing and especially when the cinematography soaks in the environment. The cinematography and sound take “indie” to an all new level, nonetheless the fact that the director/writer/camera guy also did all of the FX work. Not most of them, but ALL of them. Wow. They FX are on par with anything you’d see from a Hollywood studio production, but he did them all. From adding simple warning signs for alien invasion, CGI jets, to the giant 100 foot alien monsters themselves, Gareth Edwards made them all and inserted them into his film all by himself. Impressive.
Now the film itself managed to avoid several clichés I thought I saw coming and that surprised me a lot. What I love most about the movie is that it isn’t about the “Monsters” at all. That merely serves as a backdrop to a story about two people. Every movie tries to invent a world, whether fantastical or realistic, but we hope an audience can recognize and accept the universe we put on screen. Here, a filmmaker made a radical and beautifully damaged world as a backdrop for his story and I bought it hook, line, and sinker.
The local theater played the movie off of what seemed like a standard definition DVD and not in HD or Blu Ray. The details on text and little things weren’t that sharp, but the sound was killer and the camera work was so good with the soft focus (shot on a Sony EX3 with a 35mm lens adapter) that it was still a very theatrical experience. They only did 1 show a day in a smaller theater, but it is also already available on Video On Demand on several cable operators. Traditional distribution is on the outs.