Monday, January 21, 2008

Cloverfield, in brief and largely unspoilt

Yes, that's right: two posts in one day!

SPOILER-FREE

I liked Cloverfield a lot. Just saw it for the second time, and it held up well.

I thought the premise creative and fresh, and developed very nicely. It isn't a deep movie, I discern no message or subtext. It's just a straight-up whopping good monster movie, as from my childhood except with a unique approach and killer special effects.

Hang with it, it takes a little bit to set the stage, but that portion matters. Then, when it gets going, it goes.

Not too many laughs, quite a few legitimate gasps and yells and some honest tension.

I'd give it ~3.75 stars out of 5.

LIGHTLY SPOILT

When the movie ended, the lady behind us loudly said, "That was the worst movie I ever saw!" Several times. Whereupon I remarked, "Clearly she never saw The Hired Hand."

I'd like to respond to a few common complaints:

"The photography was terrible! I got so dizzy!" Um, yeah, hello, that's kind of the premise? Doofy guy pressed into filming a party, when all heck breaks loose? And so you're expecting him to, what — carefully frame each shot, and carry a tripod with him as he runs for his life? That would be a different movie.

To me, this complaint is on a level with faulting "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" because some of the characters looked cartoonish.

I wonder how many people who mouth this complaint are the same exact people who complain that Hollywood can never come up with anything new.

"They never explain what the thing was, or where it came from!" Uh, again, hello? The premise? Maybe you'd have liked it better if the guy holding the camera were Pat Robertson, so God could just whisper things into his ear just for him, then he could tell you? Or if he were a xenobiologist / marine biologist / astrophysicist / psychic? Or if they "just happened" to run into one as they ran through the streets, screaming? (But then the criticism would be that this was an unrealistic plot development.)

But then, that would be a different movie, wouldn't it?

Is it fair to criticize an apple because it doesn't taste much like a strawberry? I've never thought so.

"I think the 9-11 visual references were just in poor taste!" Oh, my. Now we're going have to go back over every movie and TV show since 1948 that makes any reference to Nazi's, "holocaust," racial purity, racial superiority, "Final Solution" — or anything that seems analogous or metaphorically referential — and censor them. Right?

5 comments:

P.D. Nelson said...

This is beginning to sound like the Blair Witch Project. Which I hated and thought was the most least scary movie I've ever seen.

You and Cent have convinced me maybe a DVD rental.

ChosenClay said...

Hey Dan,

Thanks again for inviting to watch the movie with you. I really enjoyed it, but did feel rather fatigued when I got home, I guess it was all that camera movement? Anyway, after a cat nap, "I'm feeling much better now":)

ThirstyDavid said...

Hey, I noticed that same thing! Some of the Roger Rabbit characters did look cartoonish.

kida said...

I thought it was just a lot of fun, and that's ok. Movies don't all have to be deep philosophical treatises. It's one of the more interesting movies I've seen in a long time.

Dave said...

I'm late to comment, but I just saw it this afternoon. Same take you had; it was just fun. But I will say though, I laughed at a lot of Hud's side comments. For some reason, they just struck me funny in context.