A Ku Indeed!

Cloverfield — A Bit Shaky

Posted in Life, Miscellaneous by Chris on January 28, 2008

Christie and I went to see Cloverfield last night. Not surprisingly, we differed in our take on it. She loved the first half, and then seemed to quickly get bored (“no story” she said). I said that she mistook “the story” as being about a bunch of people when it was really about the big 500 ft. thing rampaging through New York. She said that she basically didn’t get the genre in that case. All in all, she gave it 3 stars (out of 5). I’d give it 4 out of 5, as a monster movie. I’m an old monster movie buff, and I appreciated the originality (I realize that Blair Witch is the first to do the “held camera” style, but I think they do a better job of it here).

(Spoilers below, don’t open if you don’t want to read)

Christie complained about no resolution. “What is Cloverfield? Where did it come from? Is it dead? Why is it that bombs don’t kill it? What are those nasty things that fall off it? Why did that girl blow up after getting bit?” Lots of questions, no answers. You’d think that for someone who is a Lost junkie, she’d appreciate that. Especially when the was produced by J. J Abrams, who produces Lost! Cloverfield really is, in many ways, Blair Witch meets Godzilla meets Lost.

I thought it was inventive, and aside from some slow parts (basically all that going to get Beth stuff was a real yawner for me — let’s just get back to the story, I say), it did a great job of giving you the “first-person” point of view on a monster movie that the old movies (even the remake of Godzilla, which was awful) never gave you. The shakiness of the camera didn’t bother me, though I was admittedly a bit dizzy when I stood up.

The CGI on Cloverfield itself was not overused, thankfully. You don’t always see the monster, which is good, and when you do it’s usually in bits and pieces (arm here, leg there, head). In fact, I thought that they could have even showed the monster less. I think when you’re stingy on showing the audience the actual threat, and you do it the right way, it works. I think of the original Alien in this regard, which did an amazing job of not showing you — ever — the whole creature until the last 2 minutes of the movie. They certainly weren’t that restrained, but still they were well restrained enough with the graphics to make it effective. Today it seems directors can’t put enough CGI in a film, and in my opinion it can quickly get to be too much.

It was fun tracing the steps of the people you follow along, given the fact that being from New York, I obviously know the city very well. It was all pretty accurately done — except for one scene. When they enter the Lexington 6 line at Spring Street, it takes them what appears to be about 15 minutes to walk to the 59th street station. Yeah. I don’t think so. The 59th street station is about 70 blocks and a 3 hour walk north. But what are you going to do? The movie’s only an hour and 28 minutes long. So you have to take a few liberties, like shortening Manhattan island by quite a bit.

I’ll say one thing: I’ve never seen a more stunned audience in a movie theater. They couldn’t believe it just “ended.” It was also amusing listening to some say “man, that was grim. They all died!” I thought, “um…you know they’ll all be dead in the beginning — the screen says that the camera tape is recovered from “what was known as Central Park.” Since they are heading there, it’s probably a good bet that they are all dead.” It amazes me how many people who go to see these types of movies (a) need total resolution of everything at the end (like my wife) or (b) need a happy ending (dead Cloverfield, live lead characters). C’mon. Talk about “formula.”

Will there be a sequel? Obviously. Will I go? Sure. Will my wife? Her reply: “sure, I’ll see it, on cable.” When we left the theater, my wife bemoaned the fact that we didn’t go see Atonement or Juno.

Atonement or Juno? Whew! That was a close one.

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4 Responses

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  1. […] Chris wrote an interesting post today on Cloverfield â A Bit ShakyHere’s a quick excerptChristie and I went to see Cloverfield last night. Not surprisingly, we differed in our take on it. She loved the first half, and then seemed to quickly get bored (”no story” she said). I said that she mistook “the story” as being about … […]

  2. film dude said, on January 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    i appreciate the film’s originality, left some questions unanswered though

  3. Andy said, on February 1, 2008 at 7:00 am

    One character does make it out — Lily alone in the first helicopter.

  4. Chris said, on February 1, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Andy,

    That’s true. Or at least we think so. The second one doesn’t do too well, so it could always be that her helicopter is sitting somewhere in the middle of Central Park too.


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