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Monster Garage (2002) – DVD Review

Monster Garage (2002) DVD Cover art


Written by Hugh King, Tom McMahon, Jeff Conroy
Hosted by Jesse James


  • Contains four epiosodes of the series

Released by: Artisan.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Fans should consider it.

One of the biggest trends on TV right now is the “redo” show. Series like Trading Spaces, While You Were Out, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are a cut above standard reality TV, which are normally concerned with people sleeping around and stabbing each other in the back. Instead, some shows have people actually accomplishing things. Trouble is, most of these shows are skewed towards the feminine side of the audience. Where are the shows for manly men, oozing with testosterone and power tools?

The Discovery Channel supplied that neglected niche with Monster Garage, where gearheads take normal cars and remake then into bizarre creations. With guitar-heavy background music and MTV-style camera moves, we see Jesse James and a ever-changing band of mechanics, engineers, and craftspeople challenged to make a VW Beetle into a swamp boat, a SUV into a garbage truck, a limo into a fire truck and a normal car into a lawnmower. They have to keep the automobiles looking stock, can only spend $3000, and have seven days to complete the transformation. You can bet there’s going to be some sparks flying and it’s not going to be limited to the blowtorches.

While I was watching this show, I kept thinking, “Who thinks of turning a limo into a fire truck?” That’s not a normal thought process. But, of course, that’s what makes it fun. You get to see the group tear apart a car, place in equipment that was never to go in the car (a water pump, mower blades, an airboat propeller), then give it a flashy paint job. The show has found an eclectic and interesting bunch of men and women to produce these weird hybrids. But while the show makes a big deal of these participants being “outlaws,” most have their own businesses or work for major corporations. Since the producers only have an hour to show seven days of effort, you are guaranteed to see only the most interesting bits.

Still, while I was interested, I never really got into this show. Most of the other shows of this nature have a normal participant, meant to represent the audience, and through this normal person, get involved in the project. With the other shows, the project is something beneficial like redecorating a room. What’s the benefit of making a swamp boat out of a Beetle? You could also pick up cheap tips on how to reproduce expensive looking effects on Trading Spaces. I can’t see anything done on Monster Garage being reproduced for the real world. And since there are no special features on the DVD to increase the viewer’s interest, I can only recommend renting this for the serious gearheads in our audience–that’s their key demographic anyway. So the rest of us, just catch the show on cable.

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