19 January 2008

Succinct Movie Reviews: Cloverfield, Plus a Special Bonus --- My Very Own Version of "Cloverfield"

Godzilla, from the tiny model's POV.

That's praise, not criticism, imagine redoing Godzilla, not from the omniscient narrator perspective more common, but instead from the 'bugs eye view' of the tiny little fake cars, tanks and people that the big rubber monster goes about crushing.

Do that, and you have Cloverfield. It's a visceral picture, moves quickly, and doesn't shy away from the thick and obvious 9/11 parallels. There's enough character development to care about these people, and somewhat buy their stupid choices, but mostly it's just a bunch of shakycam footage of things that go bump in the night.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks who will want to over analyze this picture as to its choice to destroy Manhattan, and its choice to make the existential threat dooming thousands if not millions of New Yorkers a fantastical monster and its spawn/minions rather than the real monsters that want to destroy places like Manhattan.

I'm sure there are plenty other people who will complain that the entire cast is made up of attractive young people, but they all played their (somewhat thin) roles credibly, so I have no problem that they happen to be easy on the eyes.

If you are susceptible to shakycam induced motion sickness then avoid this picture, or at least sit in the back of the theater, the less of your field of vision the screen occupies, the less intense the queasy factor will be.

That all brings me to a criticism of the criticism. A lot of the negative reviews mention the queasy factor, but anybody going into this picture knows it was shot handheld in its entirety, so don't send a reviewer who will get physically ill trying to watch this film, there's no way they can give this a fair appraisal.

Speaking of things that make you queasy, here's an excerpt from Manohla Dargis' review:

For a brief, hopeful moment, I thought the filmmakers might be making a point about how the contemporary compulsion to record the world has dulled us to actual lived experience, including the suffering of others — you know, something about the simulacrum syndrome in the post-Godzilla age at the intersection of the camera eye with the narcissistic “I.”

I'd rate that sentence (that's all one sentence?!?) a 1250 on the millidargis scale, but the overall review a mere 600 millidargis.

Waiting for YouTube to finish processing the "Cloverfield" video I made, I'll embed it below when it's available. It's Cloverfield in its entirety, and for the Cloverfied/Cloverfield connection, this Defamer post serves as good as any. Good thing JJ Abrams didn't used to have an office on Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way, I think if they called this picture "Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko", people would have been really confused (not that a biopic about the actual Thaddeus Kosciuszko would be such a bad idea).


Here's the video, by the way, how's the weather where you are at? Sunny and in the 60s here, suckers.

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