Posts Tagged ‘Cloverfield’

Reviewers Destroy the Fun of Cloverfield, a Critical Response

January 19, 2008

Cloverfield

There’s always a lot of talk over at Jim Emmerson’s: Scanners about the critic’s place in the world today. Do they have any power over the audiences of today or are they out of touch with the general movie going public? After having been proven wrong so many times I guess they decided to get their revenge. And in doing so ruined many of the surprises in one of the best advertised films in a long time.

If you haven’t seen the previews for Cloverfield then you’ve missed out on something incredible. Hand held home cameras and an attack on the Statue of Liberty that had everyone drooling during the trailer before Transformers this last summer. Now there has been a good 5 or 6 months of speculation as to what the heck took off Liberty’s head! No more can there be speculation thanks to our reviewers.

First there was Roger Ebert giving away the attacker of the film in his blurb above his review of Cloverfield, not even in the body of the review. (I vent at my other write up Roger Ebert Undermines Cloverfield’s Campaign.) He responded to an email of mine suggesting that he thought it was common knowledge now, pointing me to the IMDB tagline which refers to the attacker as a “monster”, but what kind of monster it doesn’t say. Even beyond that he goes to great lengths to describe images in the film that are much better experienced for the first time in the movie theatre. But it’s unfair to reprimand Ebert alone.

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Review of “Cloverfield”: It’s Not Donkey Kong Destroying the City

January 19, 2008

Cloverfield

In a movie like Cloverfield it doesn’t matter what’s attacking the city, though it certainly helps if its larger than life and terrifying. In the end it could be anything. What matters is whether or not you give a damn about the characters. On Christmas Day Aliens vs. Predator opened and I didn’t give a stitch about a single person in that film. It ruins the magic, destroys the imagination if we’re not dealing with believable characters. One never feels afraid.

Cloverfield spends some time smartly developing the characters up front and this time is wisely spent because we feel the ripples throughout the rest of the film allowing each situation they find themselves in to be much more involving. They aren’t the usual B-Grade characters you find in movies like this. They’re grounded in a reality most people can relate to.

These young adults are generally smart, have a sense of humor and are affected by decisions they have made or will make. Sex actually has real emotional consequences between two of the characters. And the actors are affable, lending each character a likability that helps later on when the tension is rising.

Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David, who gives a particularly good performance) is leaving for Japan for a new job and his brother’s girlfriend Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) has gathered a large group of people together to send him on his way: Rob’s brother Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) and Rob’s best friend Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) who ends up carrying the camera most of the film giving it the cinema verite look that drew people to the awful Blair Witch Project. Thankfully Cloverfield is more than just a gimmick.

Also along for the ride is Marlena Diamond (Lizzy Caplan also giving a performance that sticks long after the movie is over) who doesn’t look like she even wants to be at the party and probably ends up wishing she hadn’t, since she along with several of the other characters go on a mission to save Beth McIntyre (Odette Yustman) a girl who has made Rob’s life very complicated in recent weeks and will continue to make it even more so. But the mission is noble and you want them to succeed.

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Roger Ebert Undermines Cloverfield’s Campaign

January 18, 2008

After months of witnessing one of the best ad campaigns for a movie since The Blair Witch Project I’ve just had the surprise of Cloverfield given away in the blurb at the top of Roger Ebert’s review in his weekly email update that innocently appeared in my inbox.

After months of speculating and not knowing, the fun of the event surrounding Abram’s new film has been crushed.

I would say this is breaking movie etiquette just as much as talking on your cell phone during a movie would be.

Here are some other spoiler blurbs for movies that have come and gone that Ebert could have ruined, but was smart enough not to.

“Man escapes deserted island to find that things can change.” — Cast Away

“He can’t see the ghosts, because he’s one himself.” — The Sixth Sense

“Have you ever tried beating up yourself? Ed Norton and Brad Pitt are the same person!” — Fight Club

“Oh, my goodness, he’s been on Earth the whole time!” — Planet of the Apes

“I guess all it takes is your wife’s head in a box to push you over the edge.” — Seven

Thank you Roger Ebert for not making those mistakes. If there was only a way to reverse time and stop you from ruining the surprise of Cloverfield for half of America…in a blurb.