Disclaimer: I watched the movie on Netflix which only has the Chinese language version with English subtitles. That means that this review will not be of the English Dub.
Directed by Dreamworks animator Raman Hui, Monster Hunt is a live action Chinese major motion picture with the monsters in the movie being CGI (Computer-Generated-Image), and is the second highest grossing Chinese film of all time (the film that currently took the spot of the highest grossing Chinese film of all time is Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid).
The plot of Monster Hunt is about a world in which Humans and Monsters co-existed together until the humans decided to get rid of the Monsters, and banish them into a land separate from the Human land. In the Monster Land, a civil war breaks out because the current king of the Monsters was killed and overthrown. The monster queen of the previous king flees the monster land while being pregnant along with her bodyguards because the new king believes that the child will overthrow him, and unite the humans and monsters again. The queen and her bodyguards escape to the human land, but two humans named Song Tianyin, and Hua Xiaolan end up getting involved in the situation, and now must protect the new future king of the monster race.
The best way that I can describe Monster Hunt is that it’s one of the cutest and weirdest movies I’ve ever seen that is no way horrible, but average at best.
Since this film is notable for its CGI monsters, I want to talk about the designs of the monsters and the quality of the CGI they have. The effects used to make the monsters come to life in this movie are done well as the quality of the CGI makes them look like they exist in the real world thanks to the texturing on them being solid, and the movement animation on them is also great with them running very fast, climbing, jumping, and some of them even doing martial arts techniques. The designs of the monsters however, is a mixed bag to me. To elaborate what I mean by saying that, is that while the designs aren’t horrible (in fact, some of them are very creative) some of the monster’s appearances do look like they were copied and pasted from other monster designs in the film (meaning that some monsters look too similar to others with only a few differences). In general, the special effects in Monster Hunt are decent enough to belong in a theatrically released film.
The directing and writing in Monster Hunt does have its moments of good storytelling, character development, and mixing humor into some serious moments well, but in my opinion, I found the story about the monsters to be superior to that of the humans because while I didn’t hate that the movie focused on the humans, I still preferred if the film was more about the monsters as their storyline was superior in my opinion.
There are three songs in the movie (two play during the film, while one plays at the credits), and I’ll say that I did enjoy listening to them as they are sung very well. While one of them is a random musical number, it’s still entertaining no less.
I mentioned earlier that this movie is weird. I want to clarify that by saying that there only some weird moments in the film that exist for comedy, but for what they are, they do not contradict that film’s overall tone. I also found that for a family film, some of the weird humor is a little bit adult, but not offensive.
The physical acting and voice acting is really good as all the actors give solid performances to their characters, and you can tell that they are having fun with their roles. The English subtitles that are provided by Netflix (which is where I saw the film), are worked into the movie very well, and don’t look cheap and/or rushed.
Since this is a martial arts film, I obviously have to talk about the martial arts in it. The martial arts scenes in Monster Hunt are very creative, and pulled-off well thanks to how the movie’s directed. If you are a fan of martial arts cinema, then you will like this movie as it has a lot of fun martial arts moments in it.
After all that I have said, Monster Hunt is a decent enough Chinese martial arts flick that I can recommend watching out of curiosity as it does have it’s good moments, and was clearly made with love and passion with good special effects and a solid story, but is in my honest opinion, an average movie.
I give Monster Hunt 3/5 Stars.