Quick Hit: A nice film with witty dialogue, an interesting story, and enough moments to make you jump.
Cloverfield, Cloverfield. Indeed, J.J. Abrams in general. Let’s just let me come out and say it: for the most part, I’m a big fan of Bad Robot productions. I loved Lost (We gotta go back Kate!), and several other TV shows and movies (Revolution, Super 8) had enough good moments to make them enjoyable. Anyways, on to Cloverfield.
I liked Cloverfield quite a bit. It’s my kind of movie. I think this is an example of a found footage film that did things right in what is now a bit of an overused genre. The teasing of the monster(s) throughout the film keeps you interested enough that you don’t get bored. I really liked the monster design for Clover. So much so that after the film, I googled it. It turns out that a lot of the original designs for the monster didn’t make it into the film, but the raw elements did. The idea was to make a creature that was immature, scared, and out of its element (much like an elephant going on a rampage through a modern Indian city).
The witty dialogue in the film was pretty good too. Writer Drew Goddard captures some great awkwardness in the first scenes, and T.J. Miller (Hud) does the lines justice with just enough heart to make you love and not hate him. I consistently noted how much I loved the minor interactions between characters, in scenes that weren’t really important to the film. I think this, coupled with the found footage technique, really made you feel a part of this film.
There were some minor things that didn’t really sit well with me. I think anybody that was old enough to remember 9/11 has a hard time when you see buildings crashing down in New York. I also think that when people are running out of the smoke and rubble covered in dust, you can’t help but drudge up those painful memories. Though it is a filmmaking technique that will be revisited over (War of the Worlds) and over (Star Trek Into Darkness) and over (Man of Steel), it is really hard on the viewer. Can Hollywood please think of something besides emotionally wrecking the audience?
Another thing that I didn’t like was the lack of overall depth of the characters. We find out very little about the people in the film. We have little background, little motivation, etc. I know I may be asking a lot from a film that tops out at barely 90 minutes, but I like my characters to be able to stand on their own a bit more.
If you want more information on this movie, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"