Monster Ark (2008)

Monster Ark is ridiculous, but not in a good way. It is shoddily made, terribly scripted, blindly dumb and tragically dull. Even for a straight-to-TV movie it lacks depth, intelligence and charm. It is watchable, but only just.

The mad premise is this: in Biblical times there were monsters aplenty, demons and creatures of darkness, it’s just they forgot to mention them in the Bible. When God did his flooding clean-up job, he entrusted Noah to make a second ark. A “Monster Ark”. On it, he placed the last evil demon, who would bring about the downfall of man if ever released. Well guess what? An American archaeologist has found the ark, and he’s opened it. Oops! What ensues is a race against time and budget, as the archaeologist and the U.S. army attempt to capture the beast before it destroys the Earth with its big claws and stupid face. It’s a nutty premise, but woefully constructed.

The film initially plays out like a dull archaeological version of CSI, as scientists bumble around in fake laboratories and read the story from some ancient scrolls in some idiotic, poorly made flashbacks. Luckily it contains accurate modern-day coordinates on it, despite it being a piece of Aramaic scripture. This kind of ludicrousness is common in Monster Ark, and embarrassingly dense.

Archaeologist Nicholas (Carnivale’s Tim DeKay, lowering himself tremendously) has discovered the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Getting his tetchy ex-wife to read the ancient Aramaic, they discover a whole lot of ancient info that rapes the Bible nearly as hard as Dan Brown does.

Upsettingly, the scroll points towards a place in Iraq, dubbed unceremoniously as “the most dangerous place in the world”. Luckily, a new army radar has picked up anomalous activity in that very area and intends to launch a mission there in search of weapons of mass destruction. So the archaeologists tag along with a tiny squad of soldiers as they investigate the area, only to discover the weapon of mass destruction isn’t one of Saddam’s elusive nuclear warheads, but an ancient demon hell-bent on killing Man, one person at a time.

Monster Ark combines the worst, fattest squad of U.S. army soldiers ever deployed, a bickering team of blithering archaeologists, a communication dead-zone, what looks like a quarry in Surrey pretending to be Iraq and a nasty brotherhood of useless Noah zealots. It basically becomes a vomiting cliché-ticking mixture of Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones, of which it shamelessly and liberally plagiarizes from. The film manages to insult anyone religious, the entire U.S. Army, all archaeologists, every pioneer of CGI and its audience’s intelligence.

Monster Ark treats its viewers like they’ve only got a quarter of a gnat’s brain rattling around in their skull – at one point an army Major tries to administer first aid with a handful of cotton wool… on a soldier who’s been half-clawed to death. It would be an amusing, get-drunk-and-laugh-at affair if it wasn’t so slow and dull. The demon attacks are repetitive and uninventive, and the ending is absurd and extremely trite.

Amanda Crew, as a student archaeologist, is one of the only actors to survive this relatively undamaged, actually acting where everyone else just chomps through the script like an angry giraffe eating some treacle. Renee O’Connor is especially embarrassing as Nicholas’s paranoid ex-wife, whose sudden religious fervour is simply annoying.

Monster Ark is stupid. It makes no sense – it is poorly produced and it lacks any tension, drama or charm. It is basically pointless. Watch it drunk or do yourself a favour and just don’t watch it. This is silly, brainless, filmic crud.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

6 Comments on “Monster Ark”

  1. rob says:

    Renee is a great actor unfortunately this a bad piece to show her talent off.Renee needs to get in better written material and then she will shine.

    • The Scullion says:

      I agree – as well as Renee, actors Tim DeKay and Amanda Crew also have to deal with some horrific plotting, characterisation and dialogue. They’ve all done better, and will do better – it’s just in this case, no one wins. Especially the audience.

  2. [...] movie is Monster Ark, written and directed by Declan O’Brien. Here is an excerpt from a review by Gorepress that both of us enthusiastically endorse: Monster Ark is ridiculous, but not in a good way. It is [...]

  3. grapefish says:

    Renee does have nice boobs, though.

  4. mike says:

    Green army vehicles in the desert? Russian BTR 60 WTF. This must have been filmed in Russia or some former Soviet dominated country. Real BAD film.

  5. Martin says:

    terrible plot, worse script, poorly researched, bad mashup of religion ad terrorism.
    overall, hilarious.

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