Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Don't Care if They Get Eaten by a Monster, or, My Reaction to Cloverfield

(There will be no spoilers in this write-up)

My friend Miss M is flying in from NYC as I type this (good timing, since it's -3 degrees here right now... we're not leaving the condo 'til Tuesday), and I've still got a lot of straightening up to do around my messy place, so this will be short and to the point.

As always (for opening nights), I arrived 2 hours early for the 8:30 showing of Cloverfield last night. The line was absolutely HUGE--for the 7:30 show. I had to wait until that group went in before they set up the line for my showing. I realized that the 7:30 show was in the hugest theater they had in the building, but the show I had tickets for was going to be in the smaller, digital theater. However, by the time they let us in 40 minutes prior to its start time, there was a big line, and all shows had sold out for the night.

The most notable trailer (only because I had seen all the others) was for The Ruins. I read that book while in New Zealand in the winter of 2006 and it scared the crap out of me. I couldn't sleep the night I finished it, even though I was far, far away from any evil Mayan ruins. It was a best-seller, and I heard that Ben Stiller bought the movie rights immediately. I had no idea how they were going to make it into a movie, and if you've read the book, you might understand why. But, they did, and here is the trailer:

My husband said he thought the movie looked exactly how he'd pictured everything when he read it. I will not be seeing it, no need to get freaked out all over again...

As for Cloverfield... well, I hate to tell you this, and I hate that it's the case, but I didn't like it. I know exactly why I didn't like it, too. It's because I didn't give a damn about the characters. It is very hard to get riled up in a movie about some "monster" attacking NYC when the group of people the action revolves around is a bunch of blah, generic twenty-somethings. My second reason for not liking it, which I realized when I got home and was thinking things over, is that I can have sympathy for people/characters who try to do something brave or heroic. But I can NOT identify with people who do something in the name of bravery when it's actually very stupid. I'm not giving anything away by saying that, if there was an unknown thing, possibly an alien or a monster or a coordinated large-scale terrorist attack, wreaking havoc on my city, and the National Guard was brought in and I saw people being killed and everyone was running AWAY from this thing... I would not go toward it, probably no matter what. Perhaps I would've felt differently if the characters had been developed better, but they really jumped right into the action after very little set up, so I just never got connected to anyone in the story. That being said, here are the good things about the movie:

1) Because they jumped right into it, it was really short. Less than 1.5 hours!
2) I was glued to the screen the entire time... despite not caring about the main characters, there was almost non-stop action, and that part of it was riveting.
3) It makes you wonder what you would do in the same situation.
4) There were Lost references in it (once again, not ruining anything by saying that "the numbers" show up in a few spots)

My husband and I had a talk about what we would do, should a similar situation ever befall our dear city of Chicago. I cannot tell you what we agreed we'd do without giving something away in the movie, but if you've seen the movie (our "plan" will only make sense if you've seen the movie), email me through my profile page on this site and I will tell you. Luckily, even I, with my huge imagination, do not think anything like the events in Cloverfield will ever happen.

For what it's worth, my husband liked it. I think guys like "action" movies more than women do in general, anyway. But if you are on the fence about seeing it, the worst that can happen is that you waste 1.5 hours. It is by no means BAD, I just didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

Finally, the bouncy/shaky camera didn't bother me at all, but it was really bad at parts. There was actually a sign in the movie theater forewarning people about motion sickness. I get very bad motion sickness most of the time, and I was not affected at all (which did surprise me).

There you have it! If anyone else has seen it, leave me a comment with your thoughts...

- e


Anonymous said...

Unlike you e, I felt nauseated about 5 minutes into the movie! My husband eventually felt sick too, so we left about 20 minutes into the movie. Which is weird, because he never gets motion sickness and I only do on cruise ships when the seas are rough (I even love rollercoaters and spinning amusement park rides). I even kept trying to look away or close my eyes for a few seconds and still couldn't take it. I was sad because I had really looked forward to it and am curious to know how it ended :(

Unknown said...

Pretty harsh review. I thought it was great. It was a 911 movie with a monster in it. Most monster movies are too focused on the monster. Cloverfield focused on the human reaction to the giant monster. I realize you don't care about the characters but I thought JJ gave us enough back story so the viewer could relate to the characters. Most movies don't have in depth character development. Anyways 7 more days to the real deal starts...LOST.