Monday, January 21, 2008

Innovative Popcorn

Making a low budget Blockbuster almost sounds like an Oxy Moron. But when Cloverfield was teased to audiences many months ago, no one knew what was to come. A beheaded Lady Liberty was all we got to see and that was enough to feed the bloggers for some time. Now that it's out there for audiences to eat up, the film is destined to disappoint many people, but on the contrary, Cloverfield is quite the movie going experience. Compared to most blockbusters of it's kind, a paltry $30 million budget is a kick to the shins of films like last summers Transformers or Live Free or Die Hard. It's this that shows what ingenuity and great film making can do.

The Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla is what you get witg Cloverfield. From the point of view of some posh rich kid New Yorkers, we see a city in peril. After a long build of the characters interacting and partying, we abruptly (and the best abrupt launch into action ever) get thrown into the pits of death, destruction and mystery along with the characters on the screen. Lady Liberty's head makes an appearance at the front step of the apartment building, we get a glimpse of what wrathchild is pouncing the city streets of Manhattan. We see all too realistic landmarks topple and dramatic street wars engulf one of America's finest towns.
Although I don't give a whole lot away, it's best to stop reading and go see the movie to read the rest of this post.

Once the action begins, the impressive nature of the hand held direction really takes effect. We get unrelenting up close emotions from our characters that are sometimes hard to watch as their friends get killed, their loved ones get lost and everything falls apart. It's in this that we get some engaging acting from a laundry list of nobody's.

The film is put together quite interestingly. How do you get any back story to the characters without distracting from the kick ass action? Easy. Make the camera holding the infamous tape of footage dubbed over old footage of the main couple's relationship. It's great way to give us literal flashbacks. When they stop the tape to rewind and see what the monster looks like, we flash back to a few weeks earlier and get the back story we need to make the human characters more interesting.

The monster itself is an interesting enigma still even after seeing the film. What most people will be annoyed is with the no resolution ending. We have no idea what happens and if the monster is ever finished off or gets away. We don't even know what really happens to our documentors. They aren't heroes, just unaware documentary filmmakers of a disaster. This leads to even more speculation. There could be endless amounts of "sequels" from different points of view. Could be from the reporters, the military or from people not in NYC watching the footage on television. This anti-resolution is a very bold move especially since this is a big blockbuster. This is going to piss of much of the general public. Knowing that, the film is a thrill ride. A roller coaster of thrills and intense edge-of-your-seat action that is surprising from such a low budget affair.


Domenic Edward said...

Mmmmm... Also a good backstory part was when he was casually recording on the balcony and they're like, "She's amazing, and let's face it, you're kind of a douche." Yeah, the kind that climbs crooked buildings to save people by movie's end, sure! In my opinion, he was set up as a pretty hardcore hero despite the poshy background and home video setup of the movie in general.

Best blockbuster since uhhhhhhhh jeez man I have little idea. Not even comparable to the newest Die Hard.

jmcleoson said...

Still haven't seen, but I noticed in more recent previews that you could actually see shots of the monster... and when I paused it, I could see it for real and it looked kinda lame. Which makes sense, given the budget, but it's like the Jaws rule that so many movies break today (i.e. Signs at the end, The Descent, the ending of IT): if you don't have a really wild looking monster, don't show it all. Hide it. Just show a limb or a flash. That causes more suspense anyway.

I expected JJ to dictate this rule to his people, since he knows better, but ever I saw that trailer, I'm a little skeptical. But I don't know - maybe that was the only shot of the movie where you can really see it. If so, then perhaps it was just a really bad advertising idea.

Well, I pushed it aside to see all the award race films, but you have convinced me to look at it later.