So, I watched Cloverfield this weekend (yeah, I know I’m several years behind the movie-watching curve, shut up. Real life (read: TV) got in the way) and I only sorta liked it.
In case you haven’t seen it (and are even further behind than I am in sci-fi movie watching), consider this your warning that slight spoilers follow.
The movie as a whole reminded me of The War of the Worlds (the H.G. Wells book, not the Tom Cruise movie.) I’d read it over the summer because I’m trying to better educate myself about the (sci-fi) classics, and found it disappointing. While I understand its importance as a foundational work of the genre and that it was the first time that a lot of those ideas had been expressed, it felt like just an outsider point of view/narration of events without anything other than its novelty to draw the reader in. I didn’t care about the characters, and there wasn’t a plot arc with a proper climax and resolution that evoked the satisfied feeling that those things normally do. It was just someone telling you what he saw, but not telling it particularly engagingly.
(Impressive Collection of The War of the World book covers, most of which are deceptively action-y and exciting.)
Cloverfield seemed like The War of the Worlds all over again. It wasn’t scary enough (and this come from me, Empress of Wimps: I get scared just watching trailers for horror movies) to be exciting, and it wasn’t dramatic enough to be watched just for the characters. The movie never really made you care about the characters: I didn’t really care if they made it across the city to save the girl he loved, wasn’t all that thrilled when they did, and, although I felt a twinge of sadness when they all died, it wasn’t nearly the emotional reaction the movie was hoping for, I’m sure.
The novelty of the idea of a handheld camera documentation of a random monster attack on NYC was clever and interesting. The execution of the camerawork, the special effects, the authenticity of the setting etc, were well done. The acting wasn’t bad, but wasn’t particularly great either; they seemed believable as real people who were caught on film, which I guess should be counted as a success because they played their characters well.
But, overall, it’s not a movie I’d watch again, or even have as a part of my movie library. It was a well executed and clever idea; not a waste of my 2 hours, but not the first sci-fi movie I’d tell someone to watch.