Went to see Cloverfield last night. Really liked it, mostly. I mean, you have to know where I'm coming from: You had me at giant monster eating people in New York City.
But Spoilage ahead: so I'll see if this works, but I'm going to make the words below this white, so highlight to see the rest:
The basic plot: Several friends are having a going away party, when something comes a whoomping through NYC. It's big, it's bad, and it's really pissed. Said friends then try and escape. One of the friends was charged with going around the party and videotaping everyone's going away wishes. He's the one who captures the whole movie. But, what he does is tape over the main character's tape of the final day with the girl he loves, so in between crying and wailing and gnashing of giant monster teeth, there are these bits of the love interests stuck in between.
First, the handheld camera work: Oh lord. I actually got dizzy. It made watching the movie physically painful. I have a cell phone that makes movies and they don't jitter like this thing. Sweet Jesus! No one could hold a camera and make it that shaky, unless it was on purpose.
They ALMOST did a brilliant job at character development. It was all there, but they didn't go far enough, and the movie isn't long, but I swear the party in the beginning was wearing loooooong. I mean, we got it, going away party. It's time for the monster to crash the party baby!!! The interstitial frames of video, the ones "flashing back" to earlier that day should have been our clues to the relationship, why main guy wanted more, why she wanted less, etc.
And okay, let me get this straight: the monster is impervious to . . . tank rounds? Concrete isn't impervious to tank rounds. The monster is stronger/denser than concrete? Now, I could see the monster being say, faster than the tanks in a climb all over everything way, but impervious? Hmm. no. Rule one of monster movies: Don't let a guy who loves monsters start asking questions . . .
Monster babies: YES!! Brilliant. They were brutal and the scariest part. And that's something this movie did well, married the better elements of a haunted house/creepy bug movie with the giant monster aspects. Usually, a monster movie, say, Godzilla is all about the daytime and seeing the monster and destruction. Those types of movies need a lot of space to work in. there's almost always some scene about the president, some cabinet meetings, blah blah blah. That was totally dispensed with this time around. The folks on the ground knew nothing other than a monster was eating folks up. This movie was all about "get away from it". However, once you moved to interior scenes, having the "little monster babies" chase about was very nicely done.
I give it a solid B. It gets props for good ideas, well executed in non-stereotypical fashion. It loses points for not setting and keeping the emotional involvement, the dizzy camerawork, and some unbelieveable bits (yeah yeah I know it's about a giant monster . . . . )