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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I'm not a bitch" says me; buddy backs me up — Cloverfield review

Cloverfield — 2.5 Stars

This was a hard film for me to review. It stuck with me long after I walked out of that theater. And it wasn't just because it literally almost caused me to go home and puke.

Since the very beginning, I always wondered "Why are they releasing this movie in January?" I mean, January is reserved for Oscar contenders opening wide and horrible films that studios wish to go away quietly. Which kinda kept me wondering what the strategy was behind releasing this movie at this time. Fast forward to a couple of hours after the movie was over and my stomach was back under control and I've had time to contemplate the film. Shaky cam. I hate shaky cam. This is the reason that Michael Bay pisses my off so much. I love seeing shit blow up and he blows shit up REAL good. But it doesn't matter how badass and action sequence is when you can't see a damn thing! Cloverfield offers almost the reverse experience of a Bay film. Everything else is shaky cam and the action scenes are some of the more focused ones. Still shaky but nonetheless better. The phrase "Blair Witch" will be brought back into our vernacular when people talk about this movie due to the excessive camera movement. Now, watching that movie was not a problem for me. At all. I knew people that worked in the theater while it was playing there years back and I've heard the stories of having to clean up vomit from people that simply couldn't take all the camera movement. I can only imagine the sea of puke that this flick will summon.

It was about 15 mins. or so into the film that I felt it. That but of queasiness that preludes a vomit fest. I began to wonder if it was something that I had eaten before coming to the movie because....I mean, I'm not a bitch! I know it's not because of all this camera movement. I know some people that can't handle First Person video games or films like "Blair Witch" and I always made fun of them for it so this can't be the reason for me feeling this way. I took breaks from the film and simply stared at the floor in front of the screen to try to regain my stomach. Didn't work. Closed my eyes. Nope. Dammit. Am I the only one? I tried to look around to see if anyone else was feeling this and although I saw people leaving and returning all the time, it wasn't anything abnormal. When the film was over I leaned over and asked my buddy BigRobStank (be sure to read his review by clicking here) to see if he was feeling weird. And he confirmed that I wasn't the only one. Vindicated, I felt that this shouldn't be happening. I mean, for a film to physically get you sick like this....I'm not sure if that's good. But afterwards, I began to look past this little slight hiccup and absorb what I had just seen.

Now, back to our originally scheduled program. The film was good. The concept is definitely an experiment and this is why it was released at this time of the year. Release now: it's an experimental film. During the summer: people will be pissed cause they were expecting a Hollywood blockbuster. And people were pissed at the end of this. The thing is that this film is actually both. Except that the eye candy is kept to a minimum and the story triumphs everything else. Remember that scene in the movie "Signs" where the alien walks by the camera at the birthday party? There are a bunch of moments like that in this film. Is the story amazing? Not really, but it's good enough. Would a story involving children or a family be more interesting than a bunch of yuppies or would that be cliché and too "War Of The Worlds"? Whatever, it works. There is a monster in this film but it takes back seat to the human characters in the film. Is that good or bad? Guess that'll all depend on if your able to stomach the kinetic lens your stuck with and how much of that human emotion makes it past that very lens and to the audience. Indeed, it was a distraction. Too much, in my case. I love the concept but it's initial intake was simply overwhelming. But I really do want to watch the film again. Just not in the theater. I'll be waiting for it on DVD and make sure the sound is cranked up (the sound is AWESOME). Just beware: If you do go to the theater to watch this movie. The camera is moving through 97% of the film. If you come prepared: pack the Dramamine and maybe you can enjoy the film more than I did my first go around. I'm sure the second will be a better experience for me. Although judging from the audience reaction when the film ended, I'm sure most won't give this film a second spin.

If you want to get some back story on the world of "Colverfield," here are some of the viral web sites associated with the film. I have yet to go through and explore but if your thinking about watching this film, have fun exploring!

Jamie & Teddy (password:jllovesth)



T.I.D.O Wave

Here is an article about a possible manga associated with the film. Very interesting... Thanks to Candyland for the link!

Also be sure to visit my vomit comrade Rob's blog, One Picture's Worth, for his review of the film.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

yeah this movie actually interests me, even though I'm not into the end of world movies that have been coming out lately.........

This movie is by the same people that created the ABC show Lost, which also has a lot of viral marketing attached to it, so I should have guessed there were a bunch of other sites out there creating a world around this film..

It also makes sense that there is a lot of experiment involved in this film because Lost has a lot of experimental concepts in it. I'm not sure if you're into that show but it is pretty awesome and you can really get sucked into it. My g/f watched the first episode and was unable to stop watching the show until she finished the whole season. Then she turned to me and said, "thank you for introducing me to this show." I was like damn! That's tight. We went to a video rental place to rent season 2 and the lady at the counter said, oh yeah, Lost, it's the show you have to keep watching. So the dudes over at "Bad Robot" really have something figured out.

I also want to make a little social comment about Cloverfield... it seems movies are starting to show the impact of Sept. 11. There I said it! From the home footage (hence, shaky cam) shots and the smoky new york skyline... All things that we witnessed in the wake of that event. They are purposefully tapping into our traumatized subconscious of that experience.

Oh yeah, and yeah you're kind of a bitch for feeling woozy. Don't get in any fast cars homeboy!