Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cloverfield

So yeah I bought into the hype machine and saw Cloverfield. It's really not that bad, I mean it's nothing spectacular in the realm of monster movies but it holds up pretty well considering the entire film is from a single point of view.

But you know, really could have used more monster. Lots of glimpses and destruction and stuff blowing up. But even the "good look" at the beast wasn't that good of a look. And after all the hoopla of what it would look like (honestly I can't believe I didn't see it beforehand, and I sure looked for it!), It was just okay. Storywise its very straightforward, by the numbers. Hits all the action movie beats, no switcheroos, no fake-outs, and that was a bit of a letdown considering all of the secrecy involved. The folks I saw it with were generally entertained but we surprisingly came up with the same idea for a way cooler ending. And -no- science whatsoever. No explanation of what, how, why, nothing. Me, I really like the sci in my sci-fi. Can't I get a little sumptin' sumptin'?

I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I felt the movie had a heavy overtone of dread. Not even sure why, maybe because the deaths are both on the mass scale and the up-close and personal. Outside of the plot of random and wanton destruction, I don't know if there was a metaphor involved or if there was I'm not thinking enough to make the connection. The handheld camera viewpoint leads to some intense scenes where the military lets go full bore, as a viewer this is impressive and even jarring. It's so close up and loud, one can only wonder what actual modern warzone life is like, no doubt terrifying outside of the realms of fiction. Coupled with the no-win scenario omnipresent through the course of the film and held to the very end, it's definitely not the feel-good film of the new year. I know that's a strange thing to say about a monster movie, but Cloverfield is not an average movie in many ways. Does that make it better? Not sure... even with the hook of the single camera and personal POV, there are definitely some areas of story that could have been stronger to make a crazy-awesome monster flic instead of just an eyebrow raiser.

In the end I wish the monster really did look like this.

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