‘A Monster Calls’ Trailer: Liam Neeson Is a Big Friendly Giant Tree Monster
We’re getting two fantasy films about little kids and their giant friendly monster pals this year: Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, starring Mark Rylance as the titular giant, and Juan Antonio Bayona’s A Monster Calls, starring Liam Neeson as the eponymous monster (who is also a very old tree). A new trailer has arrived for the latter, promising a beautiful, melancholy adventure that could very well give Spielberg’s film a run for its money — and that’s no easy feat.
Neeson voices the monster of the film’s title, and while “monster” implies something scary and dangerous, this ancient tree creature seems pretty okay — though his voice is quite foreboding. Newcomer Lewis MacDougall plays Conor, a 12-year-old boy struggling to cope with bullying at school and his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness at home. That’s when Neeson’s character enters the picture to help Conor deal with his feelings.
Comparisons are inevitable with both The BFG and A Monster Calls hitting theaters this year, but Spielberg’s film seems to embrace the whimsical just a bit more than Bayona’s, which appears to have a moodier edge to it evocative of Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language fantasy films. Here’s the official synopsis for Bayona’s movie:
A visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Impossible”), based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel. 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) attempts to deal with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith. Also featuring Liam Neeson who will star in performance-capture and voiceover as the nocturnally visiting monster of the title, and Sigourney Weaver as the maternal grandmother.
A Monster Calls hits theaters on October 14.