Friday, January 18, 2008

Report Card: Cloverfield


Giant, Rampaging Sea-Monster: 1

Annoyingly Self-Absorbed New York City Hipsters: 0

Line of Dialogue that Pretty Much Sums Up the Movie:

"You? You're a douchebag, Rob."

Words of Wisdom that, had Someone Said It, Could've Saved the Lives of Five of the Six Main Characters and Ended the Movie in About 20 Minutes:

"Dude, there's plenty of pussy in Japan."


kelley said...

hmmm... ok, so I divine that rob apparently ain't the coldest beer in the fridge... but otherwise, how was it?

VOTAR said...

I was underwhelmed. And I really really really wanted to fall in love with this movie. It's ballsy, it's efficient (the plot arc is utterly straight-forward, and deliberately lacking of any kind of explanation), and overall, it's an extraordinary artistic attempt.

It just doesn't deliver what J.J Abrams promised it would. As the folklore goes, he struck on the idea of a re-tooling of the giant monster movie genre while visiting a toy store in Japan and seeing how Godzilla has become an inseparable part of their pop culture spanning over 50 years. He has stated that he decided that America needs something like this.

What he gave us instead is "Felicity and oh by the way there's a monster chewing on some buildings."

A monster that is on screen for MAYBE about 5 of the 84 total minutes of the movie, cumulatively.

A monster that looks like Doctor Zoidberg from Futurama, with its elbows broken.

It has all the right elements of a really great thrill ride at Universal Studios. As a movie, it's fun to watch, but hardly a redefinition of the genre.

Anonymous said...

agredd with votars


Chez said...

Overall I liked it. Didn't love it -- but liked it quite a bit, mostly because what was good about it was excellent. It's incredibly intense -- sometimes painfully so, given that I covered 9/11 in New York. The set pieces are fantastic, particularly the subway tunnel sequence which, although swiped directly from The Descent packed one hell of a scare.

I'm not willing to write a full post about this because it's the kind of thing I'd hate myself for later, but I did sort of find an allegorical value in the plot: An overwhelming disaster in New York, you get a desperate, terrified call from the towers (The Time-Warner Center in Columbus Circle, where "Beth" lives, is considered by many to be the new twin towers), and you have the opportunity to do something that no average person could do when it really happened -- save the one you love.

Unfortunately, yeah, I wasn't real big on any of the characters. The NY hipster joke was barely a joke. I wanted to smack the crap out of every one of these kids. The only likable one -- the only guy with a lick of common sense -- gets killed off first and after that it's all downhill.

Still, once again, the action sequences are so fucking impressive and effective that they're impossible to argue with.

Tune in next week when we'll be reviewing Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Until then, the balcony is closed.

M. said...

I'm going to have to debate you on the line that summed up that movie. (Or lines, I guess.)

"What is that?"
"I don't know. Something terrible."
"What are those things?"
"Something else. Also terrible."

schwa242 said...

Now that was a goddamn monster movie.

My wife and I unfortunately came up with a fun plan way too late to implement, about seeing a sneak preview, and the monster turning out to be a giant robot built by terrorists to ruin the American way of life. Why else would it decapitate the Statue of Liberty?

As for the 9/11 comparisons, I thought that as well, and that Abrams was attempting to make a movie that was similar to how Godzilla was a cultural reaction to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Paul said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was the first movie in who knows how long that had me at the edge of my seat at times and one where you weren't sure who, if anyone, would make it out.

I would say based on the buildup the movie generated over 6 months it was nearly impossible for it not to be a letdown of sorts. How can one really "reinvent" a monster destroys a major city movie? I liked the fact we never really saw alot of the monster, it helped in the buildup. And I truly enjoyed Votar's Zoidberg comment (which I had read prior to seeing the film).

I had a couple questions cncerning explanations, but based on the way the film was presented I would gander this is more X-Files than anything...people in this universe would not know what really happened. My biggest question is why the crap did the helicopter pilot stay so close to the action instead of just flying away. In this instance they followed horror movie logic (see scary thing and avoid logical exit by running toward the danger).

I agree with Chez about the characters but I would say ask yourself this question. The world is coming to an end in the form of a walking all you can eat seafood buffet, who would you think would record it? The douchebag has to be the one to document it because deep down he is thinking how he is going to show it to his buddies and make money off it. The deep character, the one you would truly care about, is too worried about how to get himself and his loved ones out of Dodge that he (or she) doesn't gives two shits. That is the person you want to follow out of the burning building my friend.

F. Pants McFadden said...

This movie sucked some giant dog balls.

The thing is, you can't reinvent the "monster destroys city" story, and you certainly can't do it with nausea-inducing camera work. I was so sick the whole time.