Movie Review: "Cloverfield"
I succumbed to the hype and went to see "Cloverfield" today. All in all, I'd say it's the 2nd best movie I've seen so far this month -- "Juno" was quite a bit better, and "Atonement" was infinitely worse. I didn't feel like I wasted my money or time seeing this one.
Basically, it's a combination of "Godzilla" and "Blair Witch Project" set in post-9/11 NYC. I didn't really like "Blair Witch" and I viscerally hated "Godzilla". Both films were similar in that I really didn't care if the main characters lived or not (for "Godzilla", I was actively rooting for the lizard to eat the annoying stars). It was kind of the same here -- the "heroes" were vacuous 20-somethings whom I would mock and belittle were I to interact with them in the real world, and as they made dumber and dumber decisions (all for a noble cause, though) I found myself caring less and less if they lived (although the beginning of the film gave a pretty good indication of their fate).
Even with the character likeability issue, I thought the film still worked. Monster(s) straight out of "Starship Troopers" were CGI marvels, and the jerky camera-work (intentional) made you use your imagination to fill in the blanks. The military came off as pretty competent -- sure, some of them yelled at the main characters, but it was understood that they deserved to be berated.
The movie ended fairly abruptly, although it was fairly clear to me why that had to be. A lot of people waited around until the credits were done, but all they apparently got was a garbled voice -- the mystery of which may be explained here. If you want any more spoilers, you can go to the Wiki. (If you go to the see it without reading spoilers first, just remember to pay close attention to the sky during the scene at the end where they're on the ferris wheel.)
My wife and teenage son didn't like the movie as much as I did. My wife gave it a "1" (though not "the finger" -- she said it had enough positive elements to avoid that stigma); my son gave it a "2" (all ratings out of "5") and had this to say via IM from our family room while I was typing this (capitalization and punctuation inserted by parent):
"I liked their monster concept, but the first-person complete rip-off of Blair Witch Project got boring.Not very good news for the movie's execs, seeing as how my son is smack in the middle of their target demographic. For me, I give it 3 Uncomfortably Vivid 9/11 Reminders out of five.
I felt like I'd seen the concept executed well once but didn't need to see it again."
Update 0524 23 Jan 2008: ninme really liked the movie.