Thursday, January 31, 2008

NOT GREAT, BUT PRETTY GOOD

Mrs. Snave and I went and watched "Cloverfield" this afternoon. Overall, it isn't necessarily a movie I would go to the theater to see, but since I did, I decided it just wouldn't be a good one to watch on a TV screen. So if you're curious, by all means go check it out.

When I heard this was an all hand-held camera thing, I thought "Well, it's been long enough since "Blair Witch Project" that something like this should seem novel once again." However, whereas the "Blair Witch" film had a lot of shaky up-and-down camera shots, "Cloverfield"'s camera doesn't jiggle nearly as much when the camera guy is running, which is a relief. The motion consisted more of fast sweeps and jarring shots, like when the camera was dropped. It wasn't nearly as nausea-inducing for me as "Blair Witch", so if you haven't gone to see "Cloverfield" because you tend to succumb to motion sickness, just take some Dramamine or something similar first and you will probably be o.k.

The story is very basic. The special effects are good. It is a fairly fast, noisy film. I would give it three out of four stars except that I didn't like the ending, so I'll go with a two and three-quarters out of four.

4 Comments:

Blogger Distributorcap said...

call me old
i thought the "blair witch project" was probably the worst movie i have ever seen - the camera shake, the bad story, not scary --- just awful......

so i guess i would hate this

7:18 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Two and three quarter stars? Thank you Ed McMahon. We'll be back to Star Search after these messages. ;-)

I'm surprised that this has garnered as many okay-to-good reviews as it has, yours included, given how crappy most horror flicks are these days, so I might check it out. Of course, the fanboy in me is waiting for the new Indy flick!

5:10 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Good to see it doesn't have a lot of shaky shots. That is one of the reason I hated Blair Witch.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Mercurie, lots of swooping quick-turns yes, but not much in the way of "jiggly" and "jittery"!

Randal, I'm sure with you on that re. Indy!!! I can hardly wait. The first and third movies in that series are a couple of my favorite movies of all time. Our local theater had a poster up for the new one, and my heart rate increased when I saw that "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" will be in theaters May 22!!!

Distributorcap, you might well end up hating "Cloverfield". I agree with you about "Blair Witch" being not particularly good. At the time I saw it I didn't think it was that bad, but with the passing of time I tend to think it was... well... like a group of students finding a way to get their rather bad film project into hundreds of theaters nationwide. Hopefully they saved their profits and took early retirement from filmmaking.

"Cloverfield" doesn't have as many things left for to you wonder about as "Blair Witch" did. There is more of a definite plot. It's very direct, very linear, and has very little meandering. The brief "flashback" bursts are rather silly, but actually aren't all too bad.

The "Cloverfield" special effects have less to do with blood than they do with the destruction of NYC. It is almost like someone saw the pictures of "9-11" that were taken at street level, what with the rolling clouds and people running and all, and thought "what if this was being caused by some indestructible creature instead of by humans, at night instead of during the daytime". It worked about 80% of the time for me. The shots of the destruction of the streets were well done, and the collapsing of the Brooklyn Bridge was pretty terrifying. Because of the hand-held video thing, the shots of panicking crowds were also effective for me, as I felt like I was there too, trying to escape the horrors.

"Blair Witch" seemed to be about some bad actors wandering around out in the woods and gradually getting more and more pissed at each other while some undetermined evil thing was influencing their minds. Heh. At least with "Cloverfield" we know what is causing all the trouble. We don't know where it came from or why it came, we don't know who has recovered the lost video tape of the events and is watching the tape, but we at least get to see the creature, which I think is sufficiently frightening.

If you can make it through the first 15-20 minutes of "Cloverfield" (with all the party shots of people who are in their late 20s or early 30s saying a lot of words like "dude" and "bro"), the rest of the movie is pretty much like a one-hour roller coaster ride. No deeper meanings here, just action and surprisingly well-acted characters.

I do have to think that if some major disaster like this was happening, people would kick into "survival mode" and not be trying to keep a detailed film record of it all. In that sense, it didn't seem like this idea was true to human nature.

8:25 AM  

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