Thursday, June 12, 2008

It’s Cloverfield, Not Dangerfield

Show the movie Cloverfield some respect, will ya?

I liked it. I’m not saying it’s the greatest movie ever made. It’s not. But it is a very fresh take on a stale genre. It’s original and takes chances. You can’t say that about too many films these days.

Cloverfield is a movie about a giant monster that attacks New York. However, this movie is filmed from the point of view of a handheld video camera by a regular guy attending a party when the action begins. It’s been described as The Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla, and that’s pretty darn accurate. Just throw in a touch of 9/11 video styling for added realism like you’ve never seen before in a movie like this.

“Something you’ve never seen before” is probably the reason to give this movie some respect. You’ve seen plenty of giant monsters, but you’ve never seen one like this. You’ve never seen people reacting like they really would if a giant thing started tearing the city apart. They’d be panicked and totally clueless as to what was happening. Falling buildings, shrapnel and other people would pose just as much a threat as the creature.

Sure, the movie is flawed. There is a lot of talking in the first act, to establish the characters and set up the rest of the movie. There is shaky camera work. There are scenes where you know the camera man would never have kept filming in real life, but we wouldn’t have a movie if he did that. This is reel life. And yes, you don’t get a good look at the monster until the end. That’s part of the fun. It is not a traditional movie.

Watch it to see someone’s take on what a giant monster attack from the perspective of a scared civilian. Admire the balls it took to try something like this. Watch the DVD extras and look at how amazing the special effects really were. You will be amazed at what they pulled off for a movie shot from a handheld camera.

So lighten up and enjoy it for what it is. Love it or hate it, Cloverfield at least deserves a little respect.

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