Wednesday, January 30, 2008



A few brief thoughts on Cloverfield.

I've said before, on the pages of this blog, that I LOVES me some disaster movies. A sloppy, messy kind of love that generally leaves everybody involved and witness to it a little embarassed and angry that as a race, this is only as far as we've come.

Generally speaking, if you put in the trailer advertising your movie a shot of a major landmark being destroyed and another shot of a mass of people running from the carnage? I'm there, dude. The movie doesn't even have to be about the disaster. You could insert three seconds worth of footage of a satellite destroying the Space Needle, and you'd have me sitting front row center of Sleepless in Seattle.

So, when the trailer for Cloverfield came on before Transformers last summer, you can guess just how much I was drooling when the head of the Statue of Liberty came rolling down the street.

Well, I've had opportunity to see the flick, and I've got a thought or twelve. I warn you that spoilers may follow, for the seven of you still reading my little blahg:

1.) I like the movie. Muchly. Mostly because it's the disaster movie I've been waiting for all my life. It's the one where all the important characters die. I think the only thing that could have topped it would be to finish the flick with a shot of the Cloverfield Monster punching its way to the center of the planet, and having the Earth explode as a result. I have no real defense as to enjoying the fact that everybody dies...a mere explanation that some days, I fall into that George Carlin line of thinking, where humanity's on a boat ride down the spiral of a flushing toilet. As luck would have it, today was one of those days. So, no Hollywood "the good guys make it" ending. I heart that.

2.) The whole device of Hud carrying a camera around for the whole thing would have gotten tiresome in a hurry, were I traipsing through Manhattan while Gamorra tears my city apart. I think the second we holed up on the Subway platform, just after I'd had to tell my Mom that my brother had died? I'd have made Hud eat the camera.

3.) Other than that, I didn't mind the whole Guy with the Camera device. It worked for me.

4.) I didn't have any motion sickness problems, except for the point where Hud does get his. The remains of his corpse and the camera fall to the earth, and the camera searches for something to auto-focus upon. That bothered my brain. Had to shut my eyes. Other than that, I had no motion-sickness or anything....

5.) Her name is Lizzy Caplan, she plays Marlena, and Dang. She's purty. Had to go to IMDB to figure out where I'd seen here...and I realized that it was Tru Calling (my thing for Eliza Dushku made me watch that one). She was also in Mean Girls...and I must have seen her in Freaks and Geeks, though it's been three or four years since I've watched that show. I don't remember her. There's a point, though, just after she's been bitten by one of the dog-sized shrimp/spiders, that she smiles at the camera after Hud's made a joke. She's got the best smile to come down the pike in a while. I can't think of one better....

6.) I don't know NYC geography. So I don't have much of an issue with traveling from one end of Manhattan to the other--that's close enough to kosher for me that I didn't give it a thought. My issue is with our band of heroes having to walk up 59 flights of steps to get to the roof of Beth's building, and then down (one would assume) something close to 20 (and possibly more) flights to get to the 39th floor that her apartment's on...then, they get her, and have to go up 20 flights, and down 59 again? So, up and down 79 flights of steps, grand total? Possible, I guess. But I think that my heart, filled with southern-fried goodness as it is, would explode on the down trip.

7.) We hit both a building collapsing like 9/11 and a bridge collapsing like last summer's Minneapolis tragedy. Any other particular disasters from the past few years get a mimic job?

8.) Maybe there's a post to this, maybe not. I'm not really dancing on the graves of any of the characters. I just get tired of Hollywood movies where some average joe rises up above it all in the name of love. Yeah, it's a great thing, but love won't save you from carpet bombings or a 30-story tall monster.

That said, the romantic in me did dig the whole "I love you" at the end. I think back to those two tragedies listed above, and think about how many of those people died without getting to say that to that one person who they most cared about. Maybe a little Hollywood. But I was glad that it was there. As an aside: of all things tragic for 9/11, the one thing that still tears me up to this day, is hearing a recording of somebody who called a loved one to tell them goodbye, and that they loved them.....

9.) Okay, so Rob goes into the electronic store to get a new phone battery, right? Two things bothered me here. One: The battery came pre-charged? I've always had to charge them. Is this something you New Yorkers have been holding out on us? And two: How the heck did he get it out of that plastic packaging that quickly? Did adrenaline allow him to break through? For me, nothing short of a lightsaber will let me into that packing quickly....

10.) I think of this as the T-Rex question. Remember in Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex gets eyeball to eyeball with the kids in the Jeep? Or when it roars? At what point do you go gaga and ruin a piece of laundry? Same thing applies for Cloverfield, with an added twist. At what point do you cut and run? Me? I'm probably hiding under a desk from the minute debris starts raining down on the rooftop. And if I was brave enough to wander out onto the street to see the Statue of Liberty's head come flying at me, I'm not standing around long enough to take pictures. My ass is the cloud of dust on the horizon heading for the Brooklyn Bridge...

11.) I know there's a couple New York area natives who pop in, from time to time. I wonder about their thoughts. What would they think, looking across the river from Jersey, to see a monster tear-assing through Manhattan? What thoughts from Sheepshead Bay?

12.) There will be debate as to whether it's actually a disaster movie. To me? Giant monster emerging from the sea, dropping people-exploding shrimp/spiders, tearing your city apart? Disaster.

13.) This one might be my favorite, then. Granted, this is my kneejerk reaction. Sometimes, my opinions change over time. But in the short term, me likey.


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