Monday, January 21, 2008

Cloverfield – A Retrospective

Be ye warned… there be spoilers ahead.

I just got back from a matinee showing of “Cloverfield”. JJ Abrams and company have put together a hip little survival horror film with this one. The film, as has been described previous on this little ole blog, is “Godzilla” meets “The Blair Witch Project” and – yup, that’s about right. The story never attempts to explain just what the monster is or where it came from and that’s a good thing since the story unfolds through the lens of a digital handheld camera as seen by an impromptu group of documentary filmmakers. The premise is that this camcorder was found after the event in a place that used to be called Central Park, NY and is now designated by the United States Government as section Cloverfield.

The monster is what it is (whatever that is) – the friends must accept that and try to survive. The monster could be an allegory for almost anything big and bad – terrorist attacks, natural disasters, big monsters that usually attack Tokyo, whatever. I’d like to think that it’s some sort of H.P. Lovecraft-ian version of Cthulhu. From what I understand the head of the Statue of Liberty that bounces off a skyscraper and comes to a scraping stop in the street is homage to the poster from “Escape from New York”. This makes my geek heart smile. The cast of (currently) “unknown” actors is imperative to having the plot as realistic as possible. You couldn’t have pulled it off with a cast of established personalities. As with “The Blair Witch Project”, to suspend belief in what’s happening within the film the actors had to be “real”. It’s a great cast and they really pull it off.

It is a good time at the movies and at the end of the day isn’t that what you went there for in the beginning? There’s some really cool stuff that should be witnessed on the big screen BUT be forewarned the jerkiness of the camera, the movement and at times the angles of the shots will begin to turn your stomach. Grab your Dramamine and wash it down with whatever you can smuggle in from Wawa (since a small soda is currently $4.50 at the theater). It will make you woozy. I know that I was. I’m sure that I missed some things but it couldn’t be avoided.

I am truly looking forward to the next JJ Abrams produced picture – Star Trek 11. Abrams co-created “Alias”, “Lost” and is rumored to be bringing Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series to life on either the big screen or HBO.

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