Saturday, January 26, 2008
I saw Cloverfield last weekend but I didn’t have time to do a review so here’s a quickie.
When I was a kid I remember watching quite a few Godzilla movies and wondering what it would be like for the folks at street level if a giant monster was really smashing through a city. Well, with Cloverfield that’s what you get along with the added bonus of home movie camera work, which means jump cuts and garden hosing. It was better than I thought it was going to be and the film is a nice parody of Echo Boomer values and current anxieties. It’s quite scary at times but also very energetic with direct visual references to 9-11, and the Iraq War. Cloverfield is the rebirth of the 1950’s giant monster movie reinterpreted for the modern age.
Here is what I liked in no particular order (spoilers):
The homage to the Escape From New York poster.
The timing was excellent. “Accidentally” stumbling upon moments that advanced the plot often felt very natural despite the absurdity of the subject matter.
The monster is not always shown on screen
When we do see the monster it looks like a cross between a kaiju and a Lovecraftian horror.
Generally being surprised several times during the film.
I’m glad they didn’t make it (or most of them didn’t make it) but that could change with a sequel I suppose.
Special effects were well done and deliberate rather than being used to fill up the screen with nonsense (i.e. Star War prequels)
The way the film went from night to day was subtle but effective.
The origin of the Monster is unknown unless your paying attention at the end.
The baby monsters are scary and fun especially in the subways.
The infected chick’s death was classic movie horror.
I liked the whole leaning tower section.
Nods to Aliens, and 28 Days later to name just a few horror films referenced.
Here is what I disliked in no particular order (spoilers):
Is everybody in New York a twenty something?
OK we could still use a few more moments of stillness to keep out eyes from popping out of our heads
The pretty people with their pretty problems section went on just a little too long.
A little too focused on one demographic? Maybe not but… there were other movies before 1990 out there.
New York again?
Most of the characters were not interesting people at all. (But that’s the point right)
I sure hope we don’t get a whole slew of movies shot with shaky camera movements now.
Missed Opportunities (spoilers):
Umm None I can think of… ...maybe a joke at the expense of the American Godzilla?
My SO got sick during the movie and had to close her eyes halfway through. If its easy for you to get motion sickness or you’ve gotten ill in a movie before, skip Cloverfield on the big screen.
Veterans of Combat might have a problem with some of the actions scenes.