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Movie Madness: Cloverfield

So there we were, in the car, driving around looking for a Wal-Mart and trying to decide what to do with the afternoon, or rather with that part of the afternoon in which she wasn't sprawled naked on the bed while I did Very Evil ThingsTM to her. She had her Blackberry with her, and her Blackberry has access to the Intertubes, and we were driving by a theater, see, and...

Long story short (too late!), we decided to see Cloverfield.

Sweet Jesus, we decided to see Cloverfield.

Now, Cloverfield is a monster movie. Specifically, it's a monster movie filmed in first person, by a group of kids who were making a home movie of a party and got caught up in New York when monsters attacked. Think Godzilla meets Blair Witch and you've got the basic idea.

This movie should have been made of win and awesome. I mean, Godzilla meets Blair Witch. With giant monsters that knock over buildings. In New York. How do you fuck that up? Seriously, how do you fuck that up?

Somehow--don't ask me how--these people managed to take a giant monster smashing Manhattan, filmed from a first-person point of view, and make it boring. And slightly annoying. And for fuck's sake, just once I'd like to see a movie monster that isn't immune to bullets.

Okay, okay, huge monsters might be immune to small-arms fire, I get that. But immune to incendiary bombs dropped from a B2 bomber? C'mon. The movie Aliens showed that monsters can still be scary without being magically immune to bullets. Fer Chrissakes, people, if the only way your monster is scary is that it can take a barrage of hits from tanks and self-propelled howitzers without even blinking, your screenwriter is lazy.

But far be it from me to dwell on the negative! Since I like to keep things upbeat and optimistic, I present to you, in no particular order:

The Top 12 Things I Liked About the Movie Cloverfield

1. Despite the best efforts of the cameraman, nobody in the theater we were in actually vomited.

2. Some of the main characters die, but it's no big deal because by then you don't like them or care about them anyway.

3. The movie is only an hour and change long, so you don't leave the theater wishing you had two hours of your life back like you do at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean 2

4. Six words: Not filmed in Smell-O-Vision!

5. Only about 15% of the movie is occupied by shots of the ground.

6. This movie has at least 90% of your recommended daily allowance of self-absorbed, narcissistic, vaguely attractive (in that Apple commercial, non-threatening kind of way) Gen Yers. After leaving the theater, you won't need to log on to Facebook for a week!

7. Three more words: Not Maximum Overdrive.

8. William Shatner does not appear anywhere in this movie.

9. Things on fire. You can never truly be unhappy if you can watch things on fire.

10. The typeface used in the opening credits is readable and not displeasing to the eye.

11. You can get the entire movie from the trailer, and not have to see the hour of filler material they padded the film with to make it (nearly) feature length.

12. The dollar theater right down the street is still showing Beowulf, and man, after this dreck, Beowulf is high fucking art.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)

I'm really rather surprised -- and dissapointed -- that you didn't like it. I thought it was amazing.

Oh, well.
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, I thought it was amazing too, but I bet we have slightly different values of "amazing."

The thing is, once you get past the gimmick, it's really not all that special a movie. Other than the filming technique, it brings little to the table; it's a rehash of every monster movie since Godzilla. The characters aren't terribly interesting or likable, the monster itself is barely a presence...the only thing it's got going for it is the first-person perspective, and they mucked that up by going overboard with it.
(no subject) - dwer - Jan. 24th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 28th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Smart you. And I love that user icon!
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Man, Beowulf. That was the very opposite of disappointing. An over-the-top high adventure cartoon. Hells yeah. Now, with more naked Viking booty!
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was highly entertained. The character animation still isn't quite there yet (there's something a little creepy and artificial about the faces), but the movie is a good time.
(no subject) - minniethemoocha - Jan. 24th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 28th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
Ref your icon... have you been watching The Sarah Connor Chronicles? If so, what do you think of it?
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it yet! Truth be told, I don't even own a TV.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
someone else earlier said it was one of the best movies they'd ever seen. both of you are bright people, so i'm at a loss as to whether i should part with my dollars... i'll probably just put it halfway down on the list.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
I watched Maximum Overdrive this weekend. The fact that you list "Cloverfield is not Maximum Overdrive" as a thing you liked? Scary!
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
True story:

I saw Maximum Overdrive int he theaters, when it first came out, with a group of friends. We smuggled a fifth of Jack Daniels into the theater with us, and we ad a blast. At least for the first half of the movie.

I thought it was great. My friend Henry and I were laughing and having a great time..until suddenly, about midway through, the same horrifying realization dawned on both of us simultaneously. He looked at me and I looked at him and he said "This isn't supposed to be funny, is it?"

Starting form the scene with the ATM early on, I thought we'd been watching a parody of horror movies. When we both realized it wasn't intended as a parody, everything changed.
(no subject) - clonetwin - Jan. 24th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:26 am (UTC)
Well, I've heard it from the "love it" camp; and now I've heard it from the "hate it" camp. Knowing me, I'll probably fall somewhere in the middle.

But before I go see "Cloverfield," "AVPR" and "Sweeney Todd" must be viewed. They're simply more important.
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
God point on AVPR. I haven't seen that one yet, and I really want to. I think I should probably hustle before it's gone from the theaters.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
I think they could have done a lot better with the "candid filming" technique, but I really enjoyed the rest of the movie. I'm completely out of touch with pop culture, so apparently I wasn't infected with the "viral marketing" that preceded this movie's debut, but I definitely bought it anyway. When I left the theater, I was afraid of the Cloverfield monster, and I can't wait until the DVD comes out so I can watch the extras.

Also, did the parasites remind anyone else of Zorak from Space Ghost?
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the filming technique was totally over the top. It's almost like they were insulting the audience: "Swing the camera around more! We need to remind them that this is filmed with a hand-held camera! They've forgotten by now!"

The big camera swings work a lot better on a television than on a movie screen. And honestly, I can go jogging* with a camcorder and get less camera shake. Had they toned it down a bit, the movie would've been vastly improved.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Hiya Franklin. LJ movie reviews are quite useful. Although I've found that oftentimes I enjoy movies a respected acquaintance hates and vice-versa, given the rarity with which I've been watching movies, I'm completely willing to heed your cautionary warnings.

Then again, I would never have uttered the phrase

With giant monsters that knock over buildings. In New York. How do you fuck that up?
with a straight face, since that, to me, seems like the most obvious way to fuck up a movie :-)

Anyways, thanks for the summary. Hope things are going well.

Jan. 24th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
But...giant monsters! Knocking over buildings! In New York! What's not to love??
Jan. 23rd, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
I was looking forward to it when they started playing the initial teasers last year, but after seeing full length trailers and hearing reports that it's all pretty much hip cam work (my sister's girlfriend said, "The only parts I liked were when they dropped the fuckin camera"), I'm afraid to view it in the theater. Violent camera motion doesn't translate well to a big screen. Everything gets blurred out and people get sick. You'd think filmmakers would understand this by now.
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
You'd think, though I understand the producer of this particular movie is better known for doing TV shows. He doesn't really seem to have a grasp of what works well on the big screen, and that might be why.
(no subject) - creekracer - Jan. 25th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)

You mean, China-Mart. They're like a direct pipeline to China, dude.

Yeah, I know, not on topic but I haven't seen it yet. I'll go watch it and get back to you.

But in the meantime...AVOID WAL-MART!!!
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Generally I hate Wal-Mart (though what's not to like about China? Theyre financing the war in Iraq, after all!), but dayo needed some stuff we couldn't get elsewhere. That's the nice thing about Wal-Mart: inexpensive goods made by slave labor in distant parts of the world, delivered to a sprawling superstore staffed by people being paid below the poverty line, conveniently located near you!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 3rd, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Well, fancy meeting you here!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - tacit - Mar. 3rd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - tacit - Mar. 3rd, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 13th, 2015 05:48 am (UTC)
After the screening, I heard some fellow audience members complaining that they felt dizzy or had vertigo, but no one barfed, at least within my hearing.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )