Well, I bought into the hype of Cloverfield and went to go see it. OK, maybe it was more of an excuse to take half a day off of work, but see it I did. I kind of knew what to expect and in that I wasn’t disappointed. What I didn’t realize is how tiresome that could be.
Rather than go into a coherent, well thought-out review, here is something specially tailored for short attention spans of the Information Age: a list of the good and the bad…
- The handy-cam effect added much to the realism of the events. It was really difficult to not think of 9/11 when seeing the destruction of New York City.
- The monster was genuinely scary because if that realism. You never really get a complete, clear picture of the monster besides a nice face shot near the end, and that made it less cheesy.
- Without giving anything away, the monster had an “additional feature” that was pretty cool.
- The human drama (and character motivation) was established relatively quickly before all hell broke loose.
- The same handy-cam effect that added to the realism got old after thirty minutes. Not only was it hard to tell what was going on most of the time, but I’m one of those guys who suffered from dizziness effects of Half Life and this movie had me feeling nauseous about midway thorough. I suspect this might not be the case on a smaller screen.
- Because of the first-person storytelling technique, the ending lacked closure. The story is not necessarily complete when the first-person point-of-view ends. It’s not difficult to realize what happened at the end, but questions (like the creature’s origin) remained unanswered. When the end credits started, there was this empty kind of feeling, like something was missing. (Several people in the sparsely-populated theater said it was a waste of money.)
- Some dialogue was a bit forced. Characters said things that were unnatural under the guise of “camera glitch” simply to convey some story element that was not otherwise apparent.
I can see how this idea (Monster Movie for the YouTube Generation) looks good on paper, but the implementation left something to be desired. I wouldn’t quite say it was mediocre, but I can’t quite call it good, either.
[See also: JP’s take]