Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cloverfield: A Titan Review (Very Very Slight Spoilers)

To ring in the first "big" movie of the year, I though I would do a hardly famous Titan review of Cloverfield.

Take this as a good sign or a bad sign, but Cloverfield is exactly the movie I thought it would be but not what I would hope it would be. It is a kind of Blair Witch and Godzilla mash-up. Rather than focus the story on scientists and the military trying to stop the monster destroying Manhattan, the movie tells the story of those caught underfoot of the monster. Its a smart idea, and is technically pulled off quite well. A group pretty young urban professionals gather to send off their friend, Rob, who is moving to Japan to be vice president of something. After establishing who's who through normal party talk and relationship banter, all hell breaks loose as the monster attacks. The small group of friends led by Rob try to get out of Manhattan alive. There are some nice set pieces from getting caught in a fire fight between the military and the monster to walking through a subway tunnel to a quick stop at a military post. The hand held camera on the whole works well by putting the viewer in the dust and screams filling Manhattan. There are still cliche's like the night vision scene that you know would happen, and was ten times scarier in The Descent. There are no answers given to where the monster came from ala Tremors. It's just people trying to survive. My problem is I didn't care. The characters come across like they are from some teen TV drama. They are young, pretty, whiny, and disposable. We don't care that Rob wants to go back and save the girl who he never told he loved. Shouldn't they have characters we can maybe identify with? Though who else would film themselves trying to escape a monster destroying Manhattan? Maybe that is the point in this You Tube inspired movie. But you have to care if they die don't you? Cloverfield is a solid popcorn monster movie that is cleverly done and tightly paced. I just wish I cared.

1 comment:

bobby said...

"Flashbacks" were a nice touch. Hard to poke small holes in a story about *a giant monster attacking NYC*, but hard to believe the camera holder was able to do all that running-climbing-escaping with one hand always occupied. If you can overlook the glibly (perhaps criminally) co-opted 9/11 imagery, pretty entertaining.