Australian Council on Children and the Media

Monster Trucks

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Not recommended under 8; parental guidance recommended 8 to 12, due to violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Monster Trucks
  • a review of Monster Trucks completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 January 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 8 to 12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 12 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Monster Trucks
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film’s lead character Tripp (Lucas Till) is a high school student fed up with his small-town life. Tripp spends his spare time daydreaming about driving his engineless broken-down old Dodge pickup truck and escaping.  One of Tripp’s problems with his home town is that it is totally dependent upon an environmentally destructive oil mining company called Terravex, run by a ruthless oil executive named Reece Tenneson (Rob Lowe).     

Tripp’s life takes an unexpected turn of events when Terravex, while drilling through subterranean lakes to find oil, accidentally releases three never-before-seen sea monsters, one of which escapes.

While working at his after-school job in a junk yard, Tripp discovers the creature busy sucking the dregs from old oil drums. At first Tripp is terrified, but soon realises that the creature is intelligent and has emotions. When the creature crawls up inside the engine bay of Tripp’s pickup, it turns it into a super Monster Truck, capable of climbing walls, driving over rooftops and jumping across buildings. Tripp and the creature, whom Tripp names Creech, become the best of friends.

Meanwhile back at the Terravex oil fields, Reece Tenneson assigns a mean and tough security guard named Burke (Holt McCallany) to track down the escaped monster and return it to Terravex for disposal with the two other creatures.

Tripp and Creech now have a race against time to avoid the clutches of Burke, rescue the two imprisoned creatures, and return all three monsters to their subterranean home.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Environmental destruction and protection; creatures in distress; greed; relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains action violence, including occasional use of guns against young people, threats of physical violence and intimidation, and some destruction of property. No actual deaths or blood and gore are depicted. Examples include:

  • As the result of actions by Terravex, an oil pipeline ruptures, spewing water high into the air and sending several large sea creatures into the air. There is an explosion, a fireball rises into the air and a crane comes crashing down, destroying a truck.  
  • A large creature controlling a pickup truck deliberately drives the pickup over the top of a long line of new cars at a caryard crushing the car beneath its wheels; we see their windshields explode out. The Monster Truck then rams through a food truck with red liquid spraying out of the food truck and covering a nearby man as if he was covered in blood.   
  • A muscular henchman with a threatening demeanour, who is holding a Taser pushes a young man in a violent manner and then threatens him.  The Monster Truck drives around the young man in a circle protecting him from the henchman, and then crashes through a van.
  • In one scene the head of a creature breaks through a concrete wall, opens its mouth to reveal a mouth full of sharp teeth and roars at a number of guards who shoot the creature with dozens of tranquilising darts causing it to fall unconscious.  

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The monsters may be scary for this age group. Creech has a dinosaur-like body with no tail, eight squid-like tentacles, and a turtle-like head with large eyes. When swimming underwater it takes on a luminescent appearance and makes whale-like sounds. It also growls, roars and laughs. For most of the time Creech has a friendly, non-threatening appearance. However, if threatened, the creature acts in a fierce manner, opening its mouth wide to reveal large sharp teeth, and using its tentacles to pick up and throw large objects such as cars.
  • Young children may be particularly scared of the monsters when the characters in the film appear terrified. For example, while working at a junk yard at night, Tripp hears strange growling noises. He goes to investigate and sees large squid-like tentacles wrapped around a pile of oil drums, which then explode up into the air as if thrown. Scared witless, Tripp runs into the workshop closing the workshop’s steel doors behind him and then crawls into a pit pulling close the pit’s metal doors on top of him. We see the creature’s large tentacles squeezing through gaps in the workshop doors and then through gaps in the pit doors. Later in the film a young woman screams in terror when she first sees Creech in the truck. The creature also screams.
  • There are a number of perilous chases involving Monster Trucks and other vehicles with people and vehicles jumping flames, climbing tall buildings and falling over cliffs.
  • A man vomits on the windscreen of a truck

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Younger children in this age group may also find the monsters scary but may also be disturbed by how they are treated. Two monsters are trapped and imprisoned in containers and look sick and starved.
  • In one scene we see a man crying in relation to his estranged father
  • After a collision, the Monster Truck with Tripp unconscious inside sinks to the bottom of the lake.  The creature detaches itself from the truck and uses its tentacles to rescue Tripp, takes him to dry land and uses one of its tentacles to resuscitate him.  Tripp coughs up some water and starts to breathe. 

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may be scared by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Brand named cars/pickups: Dodge, Mercedes.
  • Computers: Dell

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

  • A man gives a woman a quick kiss on the lips when saying goodbye.
  • A young woman wears a low-cut top and short skirt.  
  • An overweight teenage boy bends over, exposing part of his buttocks.  

Use of substances

Drnking of spirits by one man

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “loser”; “junkyard dog”; “took a dump”; “damn”; “God”

 

In a nutshell

Monster Trucks is an action, adventure targeted at young adolescents and fans of monster trucks. The story of the developing relationship between a young man and a fantastic creature is likely to entertain its target audience with both tense and silly moments throughout. It is not recommended for children under eight because of scary and violent scenes and parental guidance is recommended for the 8 to 12 year old age group.

 Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include friendship and trust.

Parents may also wish to discuss:

  • environmental awareness and protection, and how greed can override these
  • the way that he film depicted property destruction without any real injuries and what the real consequences would have been.

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