Monster Hunt (2015)

Monster Hunt, a 2015 Chinese live-action/CGI historical-fantasy, was mostly cute but also more than a little disturbing in places.

Amazon reviews indicate that the English-dubbed version is missing some content and is thus less disturbing but also less coherent than the original.

Wikipedia says both versions played in US theaters, but it doesn’t surprise me to learn that neither did very well. The movie was reportedly a big hit in China, though how big a hit is a matter of some debate.

The premise of the movie is that, in a world where humans hate, hunt, fear, and enslave monsters, the strong monsters-in-exile turn against the weak and the beleaguered pregnant monster queen implants her unborn son in a rather domesticated young man whose father left him in charge of an isolated village. The pregnant young man then teams up with a relatively unproven female monster hunter who plans to sell the baby monster prince to a dealer in the city, where, it turns out, monsters are killed in a special kitchen and eaten in a special restaurant.

I don’t know which is more disturbing: the sequence in which two monsters disguised as human children plead with the head chef to be killed quickly, or the sequence in which the head chef prepares the cute little innocent monster prince to be eaten alive.

I think the point is that both humans and monsters are sentient beings, and shouldn’t hurt one another. Live and let live. It’s a nice theme.

There are lots of fight scenes that involve flying-through-the-air style martial arts moves. Oh, and there are songs.

The CGI is good. The movie’s take on gender roles is interesting. The fantasy action adventure story is fine. Bits of it are funny. I just think the villains could have been threatening in a less nightmarish way. Not a movie I’m likely to watch again.