The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Connor and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do; tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry.
He struggles at school with bullies and looks of pity from everyone, and at home, with his mother’s terminal sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth? With the aid of a 40 foot tall tree monster, Connor is about to embark on a journey of courage, faith and truth that powerfully fuses imagination and reality.
2016, Color, Rated PG-13, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
DTS-MA 5.1, 1080p, 1 hour and 48 minutes
Starring: Lewis MacDougal, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Based on the award winning novel by Patrick Ness (who wrote the screen play), I judged the film by its title and assumed it was intended for the kids. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The themes are quite adult. Dealing with loss and grief, struggling to function in the real world, being misunderstood and facing the world as a man…not a child.
Conor O’Malley (played by MacDougal who recently starred in Pan) lives with his dying single mother (Jones) and has come to the truth she is not long for this life. He must make peace with his grandmother (Weaver) and make peace with himself. To help him through this difficult part of his life, he summons a giant tree monster. The monster provided 3 stories to Conor, but only after he makes Conor promise to tell a fourth story that includes a truth he must face alone.
The monster is voiced by Neeson who “sounds” perfect for this role. The effects are very good and the animated story sequences are wonderfully lush and colorful. Young adults can safely watch this film, but those below the age of ten may need some adult guidance. Dying is not an easy concept for kids, but the film still manages to be thought provoking and deeply emotional. Recommended.
This film looks great, with deep earth colors and rich textures. Though many scenes take place at night, the lighting never gets too murky. It was shot with an Arri Alexa XT with a 2K DI. I would love to see this get the UHD/HDR treatment to really make the details pop, but the BD does not disappoint. Sound is clear and the sound is loud and powerful during the climactic ending. The creaky tree branches will engulf you and Neeson’s voice makes the subwoofer sing.
A DVD is included along with: deleted scenes, The Making of A Monster Calls and Making of the Tales. They are all quite informative and helpful in explaining some of the deeper meanings of the story.