Jenn and I saw Cloverfield last night. Rating, 4 stars (out of five).
Firstly the things that bugged me: Buildings don’t lean against other buildings at the angles and heights that were shown in the movie. Also, if you’ve ever played the computer game “Half Life”, you’ll get some serious flashbacks while watching the film. Lastly, the hand-cam aspect of the film is a bit much at times for the eyeballs.
Now, the things that were great! Back on the hand-cam filming: Despite the motion-sickness inducing jerkiness, the style of filming was perfect for what the filmakers were trying to accomplish. Our (the audience’s) point of view is from this one camera which is not omniscient; it isn’t in every place at the right time. We only get peeks of the monster as it rampages through Manhattan. If something is happening away from the viewpoint of the camera, we only hear noises and screams. This was well done, I think.
More spoilery things beneath the cut
The underlying love stories lend well to the action-y aspects of the movie—after all, without the love conflict, there’d be no action. They would have all evacuated the city immediately.
Really spoilery things follow. You are warned…
I felt that having all the main characters die was perfect. No other ending would have satisfied me, except, possibly, a final shot from the camera being left under the bridge in Central Park as the last two characters run for their lives. That would have left us wondering if they made it, while still explaining why the camera was found in the park. I agree with Wil Wheaton that the final closeup on the monster by Hud, before he was chewed up and spit out (with some lovely images of the inside of the monster’s mouth) was a bit silly. The great thing about the movie was that we never really saw the beast. That scene would have been better if the camera had turned, there was a quick flash of monster, then Hud was eaten. Fini. Personal opinion.
It wasn’t ’til after I saw the movie that someone told me that in the final camera shot from Coney Island, a splash could be seen in the background. The internet is abuzz with speculation about what it is. The speculation is silly, imho, because it’s some kind of evidence of the monster, or the monster’s rising. Arguing about whether it’s a falling satellite, or the monster itself is dumb.
Overall, as I mentioned, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It was well paced and interesting. It had plenty of eyecandy for both sexes. It had plenty of action for the action movie geeks. It had a love story for people who need that. It was mysterious for all you J.J. Abrams fans out there. It was just plain good.