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Thoughts on "Cloverfield" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, January 28, 2008

Worth A Matinee or Full-Price Ticket: Matinee. This is a short, secrecy-shrouded, shaky-camera monster movie. That's it.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. I don't feel the need to ever watch "Cloverfield" again.


1) Anybody with a predisposition towards motion sickness should NOT see "Cloverfield." The film is shot from the viewpoint of a character in the film, which means that there is lots of shaking, sprinting and whirling throughout much of the running time. Two people in the audience left about 30 minutes into the film - I was not one of them as it didn't bother me from a sickness perspective.

2) That being said, the film only works if you believe that someone would continue to film himself and his friends as a giant monster is obliterating New York City. This is a difficult concept for me to swallow, however, we do live in the age of YouTube and the general recording of virtually everything, so it's somewhat possible (I suppose).

3) There are no "name" actors in the film, which benefits the story. The plot concerns a group of friends at a going-away celebration who must cope with a horrendous party interruption in the form of a seldom-seen, but terrifically brutal monster that suddenly descends on the city. The party itself serves only to introduce the main characters, and luckily the film doesn't linger for too long as the monster shows up just when things are turning melodramatic.



4) The film's money-shot is right after the party turns to chaos. Everyone is out in the street when buildings start shaking, and then the head from the Statue of Liberty comes crashing down. It's a fairly nifty trick.


5) The best part about the ending (and ignoring some hackneyed logic that brought the characters to the conclusion) is that it doesn't tie things up in a neat, little bow. It's grim, yet realistic and I give the filmmaker's kudos for keeping things dark.

All in all, "Cloverfield" suceeds in being a different take on the monster-movie genre. Whether you enjoy that new take, however, depends on your opinion of the first-person narrative strategy, and I mainly wish that the characters presented would have give me more reason to root for them.

-BDS

12 comments

  1. Heff Says:
  2. Interesting. I must admit, the commercials have me curious. The point of view filming probably would have irritated me, although not enough to get up and leave. I'll wait (as I usually do) for the movie to appear on dish.

     
  3. They did a great job with the commericals/previews, and peaking interest. I don't think it quite lives up to the hype, but all in all, it was a solid effort (and you can wait for dish).

     
  4. Miss Ash Says:
  5. I've heard people talking about this movie and "is it a monster" as well as something about the Statue of Liberty....I haven't even seen a bloody commercial for it (and I watch enough tv haha). I won't bother seeing it.

     
  6. Gypsy Says:
  7. I haven't even heard a whisper about this movie but it doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Will you be covering the SAG awards this week? I was surprised to see them go ahead. Is the writer's strike over now? See I've come to rely on you for all my Hollywood gossip :)

     
  8. Miss Ash - You can wait until DVD if at all. I'm not a huge monster-movie fan, but this was solid if unspectacular (not exactly a huge recommendation I know).

    Gypsy - I read about the SAG winners, and was glad to hear 'No Country for Old Men' did well. The strike is still going, however, they gave that awards show a free pass, so there is still hope for the Oscars. Hope that helps a little as my knowledge is a bit scattered. Ha.

     
  9. This may be the next movie I go see. I finally got around to seeing There Will Be Blood yesterday. You were right. Lewis was fantastic.

     
  10. Linda Says:
  11. Yeah, the video shot in the midst of disaster is a stretch, but I loved the perspective. I felt the ending coming, liked the way they did it. Cool film I'd like to see again.

     
  12. Native Minnow - There's not a lot out right now, so "Cloverfield" is likely your best best. Glad you liked 'Blood' as Lewis really held that film together for me. He was excellent.

    Linda - Yeah, I thought the perspective was really the big thing the film had going for it. That being said, it really stretched my limits with the helicopter at the end (not wanting to ruin it for others, but . . . ). Oh well, it was an enjoyable enough ride for me since I don't really get motion-sickness. Ha.

     
  13. The Troll Says:
  14. Or you could join the Boycott Hollywood movement and not waste portions of your life viewing, thinking about, and writing about meaningless drivel.

     
  15. Grace Says:
  16. From the way you're describing it, it kind of makes me think of the Blair Witch Project.

    I think I might actually go see this one.

     
  17. Troll - I'll simply participate with a critical eye because when movies are good, they can be powerful. That being said, if I have to choose between a great book or a great movie, it will likely be the novel if my ratio of literature to DVDs is any indication. But there's room for both for me.

    Grace - Good observation. Strangely enough, I've never seen the Blair Witch Project, however, my brother also compared the two. The main difference is that Cloverfield had a higher budget.

     
  18. Valyna Says:
  19. It's funny, with this movie people either love it or hate it and both sides are pretty balanced. I did get a chance to see it a couple weeks ago and I absolutely LOVED it. I'm a huge horror movie buff and have seen so many monster movies in my day - but this was one of my favorites. There isn't much out there that scares me on the big screen these days, but this one really bothered me and I was tense through the whole thing. I usually only have that kind of reaction to movies about clowns, puppets or creepy little kids. =/ I also didn't have a problem with the motion either, but I can see where people would have issues with that.

     

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