Monday, April 28, 2008


I am battling another flea infestation, and it isn't even summer. (Doncha love that warm southern weather?) And then we watched CLOVERFIELD, featuring a giant monster who commandeers a platoon of tiny recon baby monsters that look like--yes! Giant fleas! OMG! Extremely creepy, particularly under the circumstances.

The movie drones along for awhile with young New York professional types at a going-away party. Lots of interpersonal stuff, somebody slept with somebody else, blah blah, and just as it starts to get boring (it was produced by JJ Abrams, the Hollywood guru behind LOST)--then booooooooo-yahhhhhh here comes the monster. It roars just like Godzilla, which of course is how you know it's a monster. As these clueless, well-dressed party-goers go on about oh-wow!-was-that-an-earthquake?--one wonders if they are too culturally unaware to recognize the Godzilla-noise when they hear it. DIDN'T YOU HEAR THAT? History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men!

Spoilers ahead.

Filmed with a hand-held camera, the movie brazenly channels THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, as survivors sprint madly through the streets of New York, never losing focus. Although it IS realistic that someone would feel the need to record such an event ("This is gonna be important!"), I found authentic suspension of disbelief pretty difficult in the face of multiple monster attacks. (By contrast, BLAIR WITCH was a mystery of sorts, with no full-frontal violence depicted.) However, I must say, when the monster finally comes down on the guy holding the camera, I like the scared-desperate noises he makes, as well as the way the camera sweeps up--HE CAN'T HELP BUT JUST STAND THERE AND GAPE AT IT (and you would too, if Godzilla was right in front of you!)--and of course, as we know, monsters wait for no man. The hand-held camera is a real winner in this scene, but I hated to see TJ Miller go, probably the most likable actor in the movie (also doing double-duty as unofficial narrator). The camera is then (unbelievably) picked up by someone else, and on with the show.

I dunno about you, but if I am under attack by a Godzillian creature with junior flea-monsters at his disposal, the last thing I would be thinking about is picking up some dead guy's camera.

The whole perils-of-Pauline subplot is damned annoying, and reminiscent of all the save-the-girls plots on LOST, which rapidly become tiring. Handsome hero-boy must go save the pretty girl in midtown!!! Otherwise, he'd be evacuated with everyone else and there wouldn't be a movie. One evacuation scene on the Brooklyn Bridge is quite something, as is the scene where the Statue of Liberty's head goes crashing down into Manhattan. This Godzilla does not like the Statue of Liberty, clearly. (Is this supposed to be some kind of quasi-political commentary?) In between, lots of BLAIR-WITCH-style arguing about which way to go, what-is-that-thing?, they gotta go save BETH and so forth. Much angst, hysterical cell-phone calls, lots of panicked scurrying every which-way, etc.

Consensus at my domicile: more monsters, less discussion.

One scene in a tunnel, under attack by the junior crab-flea monsters, is utterly terrifying. The ending, flashing back to the happy couple at Coney Island, is utterly predictable.

And Odette Yustman is lovely, but really needs to try eating a whole meal. I'm sure it's been years.




thene said...

Yusman was emaciated. Not my kind of lovely, but ymmv.

I think I mostly share your opinion of Cloverfield, especially about which bits were boring - I loved the moment where everyone was taking cameraphone pictures. It was a pretty smart look at the way people relate to images here in the 21st century, which isn't something I've seen in a film before.

Also lovely: that they totally bucked the usual film trend and made the WOC be the only character who survived.

Zoooma said...

The part where they took cameraphone pictures is a sad commentary on the state of 21st Century America. How ridiculous that looked.

Vanessa said...

I saw this in the theatre and found it surprisingly entertaining. I agree with you on which parts were boring/stupid.

Also, my father, who is from New York, kept saying "oh, that's like the *longest* way to get to that part of the city!" and "Why are they going *that* way! They should take the bridge!" and similar stuff.

And the use of 9/11 esque imagery combined with all the people using's strange how much the use of tiny portable cameras has spread so quickly.

CrackerLilo said...

They looked like bedbugs to me, which was creepy for real considering that we had just fought them off.

L'Ailee and I like movies so much better in a theater, and I can't imagine watching that one at home, sorry.

karloff said...

Opopanax introduced me to blue oyster cult's godzilla when we first met, survival tools indeed.:)

I still haven't seen cloverfield but, but the more I hear the more I want to.

Kim said...

"And Odette Yustman is lovely, but really needs to try eating a whole meal. I'm sure it's been years."

Daisy, I love you more than Taco Bell, but ah, well -- see today's post (written BEFORE I came here, it is NOT a response to you, but the timing IS odd):

My sympathies to you and your flea problem. I suffer with you -- plus, ticks!

ArrogantWorm said...

I hate fleas, absolutely ~loath~, best of luck getting rid of the smarmy little buggers.