Posted on 1/29/08 06:12 AM
Michael-Stahl David, T.J. Miller, Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Lucas
Just like everyone else who were unfortunate enough to watch Transformers when I saw this trailer I didn't know what the hell was going on. That's just part of their genius marketing strategy much like they are doing with The Dark Knight. I didn't really fall for the hype though. Everyone goes gah-gah over everything J.J. Abrams will do. I never watched a single second of Alias and I don't even care to get started on Lost. Maybe I am losing out on something special by not watching any of these shows but maybe not because I always thought Heroes was an awful, horrible show and people seem to love that. The marketing worked on me though and I felt that I had to see this opening weekend before I heard everyone talking about it.
There's a going to way party with a bunch of young, attractive and rich boys and girls for a guy who is leaving for Japan (JAPAN?! I wonder why... oh, I know... don't I feel special for "getting it.") Stuff starts to 'splode everywhere and a monster, who apparently strongly dislikes people, starts terrorizing Manhattan. The main yuppie who was leaving for Japan decides to brave it through the carnage to save the girl he is oh-so in love with.
The movie starts out with a lot of developing the people involved in the main storyline. We get to know them for a little while and you will either like it or get annoyed with it. Me, I didn't mind as long as the acting was decent but after about fifteen minutes my attention started to drift until "BAM!" something happens and people start threatening to shit their pants.
"This film is a rollercoaster ride." That may sound very familiar and maybe a little cliche but nothing rings closer to the truth than this film. This is probably one of the most tense theater experiences I've ever had. This film plays like a demented 75-minute ride at Universal Studios. If you don't have a huge television or state-of-the-art surround sound... go out to the theater and watch this movie now. You're experience can not be duplicated on your rinky-dink TV and two speaker mono sound.
There are several memorable scenes through this movie which some of them you've seen during television or theater ads. The one that stick out in my mind is the subway chase sequence but if I go into too much detail it would spoil it. I was worried about not connecting with any of these character as they seem like the young, attractive and rich kids that American audiences love so much but it hits you once you see them get knocked off out of nowhere. There was a nice balance to them and their relationships that evolves through their ordeal.
On the otherhand, this movie may not be for everyone. There are some people who are so used to steadicam shots that anything else will frustrate them or even make them nauseous. Not everything is wrapped in a nice, neat little package, some aspects of the monster and the fate of some characters are not revealed and that may also frustrate viewers but it's a film that will challenge you and I love it. I'm not a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project but this is proof you can still make an excellent film using the guerilla method. The movie is roughly 73 minutes long excluding credits. That may sound like a disappointing length for a feature film but it never felt rushed and actually seemed a little longer than that. In 2007 after many over-bloated craptastic summer cinema it's refreshing seeing a shorter length film that doesn't suffer at all from the run time.
I'm not sure if the film would be as good the second time around. Sure, I'll probably buy it but after seeing it once already I'm not sure if it'll hold up. The unpredictability is one of the many great aspects of this movie and that will obviously be lost on a second viewing.
Also, I'm a little irritated with comments I've read spouting such things as J.J. Abrams is a genius. This guy is probably talented as hell but from what I've read he pretty much came up with this concept. Basically the scene in which the head of the Statue of Liberty is rolling down a street (an idea derived from the Escape from New York poster,) a Godzilla-type monster for Americans and being shot on a camcorder. It seems like the guy with the cool name seems to be getting much more credit than the no-name writer and director losers. That loser director directed Felicity episodes... what does he know?! He doesn't have initials for a first-fucking-name! In defense of Abrams I saw him on Dinner for Five on IFC a couple of years ago and seems to be a very modest person and even saying himself that people give him far too much credit for Alias and Lost.
Great way to start 2008! Just when I felt like giving up on the "theater experience" this comes along and slaps me across the face with it's awesome-ness. In case people are wondering: yes, you see the monster... I'm not just talking about a glimpse but full-on, in-your-face monster. It's exciting, scary, sad, tense, mysterious and so action packed that it would give Michael Bay an aneurysm so severe he would bleed out of his eyes and die on the spot. Go see it before it's theater run is over... go, NOW!