Story

The main character of Monster Trucks is Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school student fed up with his small-town life. Tripp spends his spare time daydreaming about driving his engineless broken-down Dodge pick-up truck and escaping his home town. Tripp’s home town depends completely on an environmentally destructive oil mining company called Terravex, run by a ruthless oil executive named Reece Tenneson (Rob Lowe).

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

Tripp is working at his after-school job in a junk yard when he discovers the monster sucking the dregs from old oil drums. At first Tripp is terrified, but he soon realises that the monster is intelligent and has emotions. When it crawls up inside the engine bay of Tripp’s truck, it turns the truck into a monster truck that can climb walls, drive over rooftops and jump across buildings. Tripp and the monster, whom Tripp names Creech, become best friends.

Meanwhile 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.

Tripp and Creech must race against time to avoid Burke’s clutches, rescue the two other monsters and get all three monsters back to their subterranean home.

Themes

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

Violence

Monster Trucks has action violence including occasional use of guns against young people, threats of physical violence and intimidation, and some destruction of property. No deaths or blood and gore are shown. Here are some examples:

  • As the result of Terravex’s actions, an oil pipeline ruptures, spewing water high into the air and sending several large 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 pick-up truck deliberately drives the truck over the top of a long line of new cars at a caryard, crushing the cars beneath its wheels. We see their windshields explode out. The monster truck then rams through a food truck. Red liquid sprays out of the food truck and covers a nearby man, who looks like he’s covered in blood.
  • A muscular henchman with a threatening demeanour holds a Taser and pushes a young man violently. Then he threatens the young man. The monster truck drives around the young man, protecting him from the henchman, and then crashes through a van.
  • A monster pushes its head through a concrete wall, opens its mouth to reveal a mouth full of sharp teeth and roars at some guards. They shoot the creature with dozens of tranquilising darts, which cause it to fall unconscious.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Monster Trucks has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The monsters might scare children in 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, Creech looks luminescent and makes whale-like sounds. Creech also growls, roars and laughs. For most of the time Creech has a friendly, non-threatening appearance. But if threatened, Creech behaves fiercely, opening its mouth wide to reveal large sharp teeth. It also uses its tentacles to pick up and throw large objects like cars.
  • Young children might be particularly scared of the monsters when the characters in the movie are scared. 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 into the air. Terrified, Tripp runs into the workshop. He closes the workshop’s steel doors behind him and then crawls into a pit, pulling the pit’s metal doors on top of himself. The creature’s large tentacles squeeze through gaps in the workshop doors and then through gaps in the pit doors. Later in the movie a young woman screams in terror when she first sees Creech in the truck. The creature also screams.
  • There are several perilous chases involving monster trucks and other vehicles. People and vehicles jump flames, climb tall buildings and fall over cliffs.
  • A man vomits on the windscreen of a truck.

From 5-8
Monster Trucks has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Younger children in this age group might find the monsters scary but might also be disturbed by how the monsters are treated. Two monsters are trapped and imprisoned in containers and look sick and starved.
  • A man cries about his relationship with his estranged father.

After a collision, the monster truck sinks to the bottom of the lake. Tripp is unconscious inside. Creech detaches itself from the truck and uses its tentacles to rescue Tripp. It takes Tripp to dry land and uses one of its tentacles to resuscitate him. Tripp coughs up some water and starts to breathe. 

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Monster Trucks shows some characters drinking spirits.

Nudity and sexual activity

Monster Trucks has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • 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.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Monster Trucks:

  • Dodge and Mercedes cars
  • Dell computers.

Coarse language

Monster Trucks has some coarse language and name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Monster Trucks is a comedy action adventure aimed at young teenagers 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.

We don’t recommend this movie for children under 8 years because of its scary and violent scenes. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-12 years.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship and trust.

You could also talk about the following issues with your children:

  • environmental awareness and protection, and how greed can override these
  • property destruction – the movie shows property being destroyed without people really being injured. What would be the consequences of this kind of violence in real life?