Three proffesional game programmers are brought into a rundown computer laboratory to try to pick up the pieces of a new game "Evilution", spruce it up and have it ready to scare kids the world over in four weeks. Their names are appropriately Bug, Hardcore, and Sol, contract aside, their aim is to outcompete each other for the scariest monster. Sol manages to whirl up an AI chip, adding it to the harddrive. Result, monster comes alive and begins to disobey his programmers. But dont worry, small, blond, meek, and female, intern Laura comes to save the day.
Directed by: George Huang
. Starring: Steven Culp
, Clea DuVall
, Tyler Mane
, Jason Marsden
, Karim Prince
, Julie Strain
, James Sullivan
, Te'ron A. O'Neal
, Aaron Fors
, Brittney Lee Harvey
, Eric Michael Zee
, Hillary Tuck
, Scott Wordham
. Music by: David Reynolds
because it becomes obvious in a big hurry that they have never used a computer in their life. The cast assembled to play the programmers is funny enough, but what really gets this viewer laughing is how much arguing goes on about various aspects of the game they are programming. Or the deadline set by the money men. A team of three programmers will not be able to code a complete game, especially not one with all the advanced routines talked about, in a mere four weeks. If you have any doubts about this, check out the list of people responsible for putting together Doom, at the time of release considered the most advanced video game ever made. It took a lot longer than four weeks for that dozen-plus crew.
By far the most amusing part of the film is the scene with Julie Strain in a so-called motion capture suit. Anyone who has seen the spandex monstrosity that Andy Serkis wore during photography for The Two Towers will recognise this scene as utterly ridiculous. That Strain (the one depicted in the film) would not see this for the idiotic hustle that it is defies credibility. I find it difficult to believe that the other actors didn't read this script and absolutely balk at it.
There is also a reason that most films do not depict things involving a computer without fictionalising it. If one watches what the user does for any length of time, it becomes boring in a big hurry. The problem here is that none of the sequences filmed in order to compensate for this have been thought through. When Clea DuVall is sitting before a computer with VR goggles, trying to fight the game's monster, the number of times she takes them off and puts them back on again is ridiculous. Given that there is no connection between any of the computers and the ridiculous flesh-machine construct, exactly how this solution is meant to work defies belief. You can claim infra-red wireless networking until you are blue in the face. It wasn't in common usage even in 2001, and as anyone who has tried to use it can tell you, calling Wi-Fi networking unreliable is like calling Ed Wood slightly incompetent.
Given that the cast includes such B-level stars as Clea Duvall and Tyler Mane, I think the fault for the stupidity of this piece lies entirely with the screenwriters. The cardinal sin anyone can commit when writing a story that involves computers as a central basis for the plot is to overestimate the capabilities of the modern CPU. Giving the computer the ability to learn tactical points would require more storage space, and processing power, than even the most modern supercomputers are able to muster. Every single observation from experience would have to be stored as a programming note, and most home CPUs would turn into a steaming pool of goo trying to look them up.
Not to mention that it seems a modern malady that programmers mistake "more enjoyable" for meaning "more difficult". There gets to be a point where you can only do the same thing in a game so many times over before you want to rip the disc out and hit it with a hammer. The modern law, as I put it to game programmers, is that if you have a choice between making a shorter game or making one that feels impossible to win, make the shorter game. The scenes at the beginning with the children telling us how much this game sucks could really apply to any video game made in the past ten years, with few spectacular exceptions (Resident Evil comes to mind).
I gave How To Make A Monster a one out of ten. The reasons for this are numerous. It is poorly-researched, poorly-written, and poorly made. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 would have a field day with this turkey. When the highlight of a film is Julie Strain jumping up and down, well, I don't think I need to say more.
Review by mentalcritic from the Internet Movie Database.