So today I was a bad boy. Everyone went to work/school...and I got bored and went to see CLOVERFIELD. I couldn't help myself. I really wanted to see it, and damn it--I wanted to see it ON 01-18-08. So, even though my family has tickets for an early morning show tomorrow, I went by myself and saw it around noon today.
I LOVE going to the movies in the afternoon during the week (no stupid teenagers). Ugh, when did I turn into such an old man??? Anyway, you're probably wondering how the movie was. It was great. Actually, it was more than great--it was fantastic. Like last year's GRINDHOUSE, CLOVERFIELD is truly an old-school movie experience that makes going to the movies relevant. Forget gimmicks like 3-D, all they need to do to save the movie industry is make GOOD MOVIES!!! It's easy. Make movies that are equal parts entertaining and innovative. But what about "the sure thing" that Hollywood is so obsessed about? Well it's true, there is nothing new under the sun...but instead of tired re-treads...why NOT liven things up by injecting something new into the movies?
CLOVERFIELD takes an old (and tired) genre flick--giant monster movies--and livens things up with a fresh approach. People will compare it needlessly to the BLAIR WITCH...but that's not fair. BLAIR WITCH, in the end, was a tease. CLOVERFIELD is a nice, polite young lady--that will tease you for a while...but she puts out. Oh boy, does she put out. I was worried that after sitting through an hour and half of jumpy, YOUTUBE footage of a crumbling NYC...I'd leave without seeing my monster in all it's bloody/disgusting glory. Well, they didn't let me down. The last twenty minutes of CLOVERFIELD is nothing but wall-to-wall money shots of the monster. Yes, you will witness many "near" encounters...many "oh, look a tail" or "wow! look at that foot!" but at the end of the day--the smoke clears and you see this thing it all it's glory. The monsters (there are 2 creatures in this feature) are all well done (and unique looking--enough). The effects for everything else are good too, which was surprising since the budget was so small (only $30, tiny by Hollywood standards). They put every penny on the screen.
The human element, the element that usually falters in these types of films--well it's there too. I'm not saying I felt like they were real people, or that they're characters are so well drawn that when one of them dies I feels like a death in my family...but the human characters in CLOVERFIELD are better than usual. The little side-love story is a bit melodramatic, but then again...isn't a giant monster stomping through town?
My biggest concern was the "shaky" camera. During my showing, three (two were older) people got up and left pretty early on. I think that's this films biggest weakness. I'm used to playing video games/watching crappy YOUTUBE videos...so I wasn't really bothered. I will say this though: sit as far from the screen as you can. Though footage is jarring, it's all part of the ride. You get sucked into the action far more than if the camera was static and neatly framed.
Possible spolier: the monster is the ugliest mutha-fucker I've seen in a monster movie since the Aliens from Aliens. Even though I've seen it (many times) I still have trouble describing it. It's a horrible, gruesome mishmash of animal parts. And even though it's not as cuddly as King Kong--you can tell that it's as scared as it is angry. It's very angry.
Anyway, I drew this (very lame) sketch in PAINT (in case you are interested). The face is wrong, it looks more like a bull-dog (with big puffy frog pouches on the side of it's head):
Overall: CLOVERFIELD is a fun, scary ride that must be seen on the big screen (I don't think it'll play as well at home).