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Sci-Fi Movie Titles: [ # -- E ]

From "12 Monkeys" to "Explorers"...

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Old Apr 6, 2008, 07:01 PM   #1
floyd
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Cloverfield Review

I watched Cloverfield today for the first time and I haven't written a true to form review in a while, so I thought this would be a good opportunity since I have time and an amazing copy of it.

NOTE: I'm not going to take the time to carefully separate spoilers, so unless you don't care about having any elements ruined (there aren't any big surprises in this movie anyway) I'd skip this.

The movie starts off really making an effort to sell the characters. I give the film credit for making an honest attempt to build believable people, but they failed on so many levels. I know the phrase is over used, but they were just cut-outs. The crux of the storyline is the main protagonist is a man about to move to Japan for a promotion to vice president of his company and everything starts off at his going away party. You see the entire film through frantic hand-held shaking reminiscent of the Bourne Ultimatum--without the benefit of careful editing with multiple angles to offset motion sickness, which even somewhat affects the character development. Imagine meeting a group of uninteresting people at a party in a New York apartment where, you guessed it, the place is as big as a barn and decorated by what can ONLY be a Hollywood set designer, and everyone was dressed by costume people with a keen eye on clothes that say, "these characters are totally hip." I can say I wouldn't want to meet these people even if Stanley Kubrick had been holding the camera, let alone if it were in person.

I lost patience with the cast almost immediately and crossed my legs in anticipation of the monster to come. I'm not suggesting that I would have WANTED the first part of the film, which was SUPPOSED to be like an actual home movie of a party, to be more like the Blair Witch Project, but it seems like an obvious question to ask: how much easier would it have been to make the character development phase of the movie A MILLION times more believable? Probably several million dollars easier, to venture a guess. I was excited to see the people, whom if they'd been real I'd hate for being so fake, get crushed, burned alive, eaten, or even at one point explode like a water balloon filled with Hawaiian Punch.

The real story didn't have anything to do with the distractingly contrived love story that felt painfully forced, but the dialog I started with myself once the action started. When the building starts to shake and we get revealed small clues as to what's happening I wished I'd known less about what was going to happen than I did at the outset. I asked myself questions like, where would I go, what would I do, what value would I put on the life of a girl I had a crush on, etc. This clashed, at times, with the huge burst of giddy excitement I got when each person died.

Rarely do I hate the characters in a movie so much that I'm relieved when all the main characters were finally crushed by rubble and incinerated.


The effects are beautiful to watch, when you can see them and they're in focus. A team of fifty people must have been employed to skillfully craft a monster that the whole movie is ABOUT, and in one unforgettably irritating scene the team of retards at the helm of the camera and the story finally retrieve the CERTAINLY mortally wounded damsel-in-distress and are carrying her across the precipice from her destroyed apartment building the camera shifts for, I counted it, FIVE SECONDS to see the monster clearly in its entirety for the first (and one of the only) time/s, from that stunning moment back to the FEET of the person running in front of the m oro n holding the camera. I am pleased to report the character was eaten about 20 minutes later.

The bottom line is, it was an entertaining movie and I recommend it. But I still hated it and I will never watch it again unless I fast forward through the parts with the B-movie actors PAINFULLY trying to imitate the Jeff Goldblum style of "I'm making this up off the top of my head" school of acting. This turd with the multi-million dollar effects as it's heart and soul is literally destroyed by it's entire premise. It would have been more heart-racing if they're made the movie as a pretend documentary about what happened and had fake talking heads.
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 06:53 PM   #2
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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Re: Cloverfield Review

When this movie came out, I had been told that it had made some audience members puke. Naturally, I just had to see this movie. However, subsequent reports confirmed the fact that the vomiting had less to do with the film's content then with the fast camera cuts.

Oh well
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 05:06 PM   #3
Ivan
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Re: Cloverfield Review

The shaky camera was bad. I think they overused it .
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Old Apr 9, 2008, 05:26 PM   #4
Wachesaw
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Re: Cloverfield Review

I think this movie could have been saved if they had filmed it in a conventional way. More birds-eye view of the monster, and maybe a more thorough look at, for example, the military HQ.
Maybe there could have been more characters, with whom the audience could easily identify. For example a US Army General, forced to make a difficult decision, and for depth there could be a hinted-at backstory that involves a child of his that once died. There should be scientists too, that do research and stuff, and learn about where the creature came from, and then explain that.
They try different ways of killing the creature. For example, they get a nuke and try to get the creature to eat the nuke. They get a black guy to sacrifice himself, to sit on the nuke and lure the creature to eat him and the nuke. But unfortunately, the plan doesn't work.
But then this kid, who's twelve and delivers the paper, AND HAS A BASEBALL CAP ON BACKWARDS, is the only one to come up with a working idea of how to kill the creature. The plan is this: he bikes his way into the warzone, carrying the nuke, and then throws it into the creature's mouth in the same way he delivers the paper!!!! And the plan works, damn it! The creature explodes from within, and the kid rides his bike on the shockwave (while something by, say, smash mouth or whatever plays) all the way back to queens. Then he's celebrated as a hero.
The story skips ahead to a newscast three months later, when the US Government has declared War on The Ocean. Zoom out, to see that the newscast is shown on a TV in a pizza shop, where the Kid is on a date with his new girlfriend. They hold hands.
Fade out to end credits.
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Old Apr 10, 2008, 12:56 AM   #5
floyd
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Re: Cloverfield Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wachesaw
They get a black guy to sacrifice himself, to sit on the nuke and lure the creature to eat him and the nuke. But unfortunately, the plan doesn't work.
But then this kid, who's twelve and delivers the paper, AND HAS A BASEBALL CAP ON BACKWARDS, is the only one to come up with a working idea of how to kill the creature. The plan is this: he bikes his way into the warzone, carrying the nuke, and then throws it into the creature's mouth in the same way he delivers the paper!!!!.

I nominate that as the funniest quote I've ever read on sciflicks
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