Monsters: Gareth Edwards

I watched ‘Monsters‘ recently – a low budget sci-fi/road-movie/love story (usefully a 12 certificate). I’d read about its guerilla movie-making approach. Any trailer you see will translate as ‘just another derivative horror movie’, but it’s much more (or rather less) than that. The photography was excellent and the extra bits on the DVD are also really good. Although the genre doesn’t exactly fit the Cinématèque mould I found it was a good example of directorial vision and ‘on the hoof’ initiative: using what’s already out there to enrich your story. It’s Fiction entering the Real rather than the other way round, with added fantasy CGI elements for suggestions/sounds of alien activity/helicopters/tanks/bits of plane.

The idea of post production anything might be anathema in this context but what’s interesting is how Edwards sidled up to real people and situations in the name of artistic exploitation. There are only 2 actors and the rest are hastily recruited locals. It’s worth seeing just to watch a local cafe owner playing a hard-nosed ferry ticket-seller as if he’d spent years studying Harvey Keitel. Also a ‘chatting with the local mercenaries around the jungle campfire’ scene, which was in fact 2 separate real dialogues in 2 different countries cut to make it seem like they were all talking about elements in the film.

Original battered old signage with CGI text and imagery

The film crew drove around looking for locations to shoot bits of the movie – scenes were based on longhand in a filofax rather than any script. The Director wanted to create the impression of a wore-torn suburb of Mexico as a result of an alien strike and a US counter-strike. For example they found: a demolition squad and half a building / The Day of the Dead ceremony / 2 blokes and 2 boats / a load of original signage that could be CGI’d to read “Infected Zone” / playful local kids etc.

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This entry was posted in The Real in Fiction 2011-2012 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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