January 21 2008

Cloverfield Review

SPOILER HEAVY – Do not read if you do not wish to be spoiled. It is not a normal review in that it expects you to have seen the movie.

I gave in and saw Cloverfield.

I appreciate the artistic choices they made: The interspersed shots of the ideal day with Beth… the choice to go with the handicam throughout, though done before, fit the piece… the choice of no musical score was absolutely the correct one.

And that’s about it for the positives.

As I have said many times, I can forgive a movie for being “wacky” so long as it obeys the rules it sets for self. Depart as much as you want from reality, I don’t care, but if you set a rule, follow it.

That being said, Rob spends a good chunk of the movie yelling at Hud about the camera, telling him to turn it off and so on. So, can someone tell me why at the end, with his best friend laying dead in front of him, a monster presumably well within his field of vision, he decides to pick up the camera when he and Beth run for the bridge? Now he cares about it?

The movie is another fine example of a good idea that just goes too far, namely the spider/parasite things. They were a throw away deus ex machina that was just so outlandishly random as to be annoying. Not only do they add a flavor of a zombie movie, and serve to kill off Marlena, we’re to believe in the subway tunnel fight that only she got bit when we saw one clearly jump on every other character, as well as another one pin Hud to the ground?

Let’s not even discuss the completely random one in the building next to Beth’s building.

And, was it just me or was the whole mention of “Hammerdown Protocol” only missing a neon light pointing to it saying “COOL CATCH PHRASE THAT PEOPLE WILL SAY ENDLESSLY FOR A YEAR GOES HERE!”

Then comes the viral aspect which I have followed endlessly since the trailer. Now do people get why I don’t watch LOST? No mention of Slusho outside of it being on Jason’s shirt, Jamie of the Jamie & Teddy videos is seen for about two seconds passed out on a couch, unless you know exactly where to look, you never even see the Tagruato Corp logo.

And then… then there is the date. WHY DOES ALL THE VIRAL MARKETING SAY 1-18-08 WHEN IT HAPPENS IN MAY?!? All the photos are time stamped 1-18-(20)08, did someone not show the marketing department the script? Would it have killed them to have set the movie in January?

(and yes, the end of the movie has more viral marketing in the form of a backmasked message saying “It’s still alive…”)

I could go on endlessly about the poor choices in this film, they could have maintained their original vision and done about 20 little things differently to make it that much better, but, alas, what’s done is done. Hopefully the rumors of a sequel will never come to be, but with an opening weekend gross of $41 million, it probably will happen.

If the movie taught us anything, no matter how big of a catastrophe is happening in New York City, you will ALWAYS get through on a cell phone… you know… just like what happened on 9/11.

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