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Posted on 1/20/08 10:41 AM
After months of hype, speculation and anticipation I finally saw what beheads Lady Liberty and chucks its head at our heroes. Does it live up to the hype? Is it a great monster movie? Is it even a great roller-coaster movie? Does it pump my nads?
I know that from day one that heard of the first little tid-bit of info of JJ?s secret project, I wanted to see it. The guy had me going with Alias ? until he had Sydney about to drop her litter, drop kick a man tied to a metal chair out of a window. But then I have to consider Lost, which has done no wrong yet (with the exception of the small and forgettable Nikki/Paolo story arc fiasco)
So what?s up with Cloverfield? Well all I could think of was fast-food ads and then the reality of fast-food. Stay with me here. You?ll see where I?m getting at I?m sure, it?s not very complicated.
You see and McDonald?s ad for a nice beefy juicy Big Mac, how I love my Big Macs. When I worked at McDonald?s as a kid, I could make them like in the ads where they look like this:
But when you go to McDonald?s this is what you really get.
Sure it?s still good, still eatable, but it?s just not delivering the goodness like the ad promises right? Not only is the Big Mac cheapened, the whole Big Maccy goodness experience is cheapened and you the customer are cheapened by being treated as lesser than deserving of the Big Mac seen in the ad. The whole process is cheapened.
Such is Cloverfield. The massive internet viral campaign that consumed geekdom for months and left us with dreams of the greatest nerdgasm since we saw those At-Ats stalking Hoth?s horizon was just a hamburger ad that gave us a lumpy burger.
What we got was Godzilla hold the cheese shot by the kids from The Blair Witch Project and nothing more. Ok the people look a lot better than in The Blair Witch Project, but at least Blair Witch had a punch at the end.
First the characters. There?s no development of them whatsoever. In a movie that?s shorter than 90 minutes and you got New-York city to destroy, there?s no time to develop characters, other than they are all hot and pretty and seem to be wealthy and trendy. Except for the guy holding the camera, but since he?s behind it we rarely see him.
The Story. Monster attacks city, humans do a lot of running, army does a lot of shooting. No really that?s it. Nothing else. Oh and they put in a little love story to justify the stupid humans sticking around when a huge monster is laying waste to Manhattan.
The Execution. All shot with ONE handheld cam. Because you see, we are looking at the output of a monitor of someone from 2032 studying the tape found in the Cloverfield site (aka Central Park). And when you have a low budget, what a great way to hide shoddy special effects than with shaky and grainy images? But the whole shaky camera gets annoying after a while. And did I mention the movie is only 84 minutes long? Despite that there were actually long moments in there, sad to say. Godzilla was bad, Godzilla shot Gonzo-style, well no, just doesn?t work for me.
Then there?s the monster itself. Its origin is completely unexplained and it just appears, wreaks bloody havoc and makes a mess of NY. And predictably we only really get to see the monster, I mean really see the monster, in the final moments of the movie and by then it?s kind of a disappointment. You know you?re expecting this:
And you get THIS instead
I would have expected a hint of explanation of what the monster is or was by looking at it, finally, but no it?s so inexplicably alien that it?s boring and even in full unblurred view, it?s so dark and undefined that the monster is pedestrian and just not sexy.
As a monster movie fan, I have to love the monster and I have to fear it. When I see the monster, I want to scream in delight. I want to see it smash shit up and enjoy it. It?s the whole point of a giant monster destroying a city and then I have to hate it enough to want to see it die. Well I just wanted Cloverfield to end instead.
But that?s not all. Abrams always Jumps the Shark in his television series, as mentioned above. And he did here also. The whole climbing to the top of the slanted building bit was completely inane. No one in the characters current condition could have accomplished this, not with a 50 story tall monster running around. I know one must suspend disbelief, especially in a giant monster movie, but it was so absurd, it completely turned my off to the movie.
I wanted to love it so bad, I wanted it to blow me away, to rock my world. After the movie was over, I still wanted to love it so I was confused and dejected. I wasn?t sure how to react. I wanted the beefy goodness of an Arby?s Beef ?n Cheddar
And all I got was this lump
A 2 outta 5.
PS. JJ Star Trek is coming... I'm watching you...