Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Godzilla Meets the Blair Witch

Today's decompression movie was "Cloverfield", an otherwise mediocre monster film distinguished by a relatively novel cinematic conceit. In the interest of fairness, I am going to consider the story and the cinematic conceit separately.

If this film had been made with conventional cinematic techniques, it would have been decent competition for such similar recent films as "The Mist" and "Alien vs Predator: Requiem". If anything, it was (or would have been) a slightly better story than either of those. Except...

Except for that cinematic conceit, which was the questionable illusion that the entire film was seen through the lens of a single camcorder. The idea is to give the film a sense of immediacy that traditional cinematography lacks. I am given to understand it works for some people; it fails for me on two counts. First, in spite of all of the deliberately bad camera work and random wasted shots, there were simply too many shots that I could not believe. When the creature is trying to eat you and your friends, you stop filming (at least if you have a prayer of surviving); when you are climbing across a sloping roof forty stories above the street, you stop filming. This sort of thing makes it REALLY difficult to suspend one's disbelief...

And then there was the motion sickness. I am told some theaters posted warnings; the one I attended didn't. I spent the entire movie alternating between breathing as deeply as possible and clenching my teeth; I was never even close to throwing up, but I was thoroughly miserable for most of the movie, and have still not really gotten back to normal three hours later.

I realize the freak show value of the single camcorder effect made the difference between the $40 million opening of "Cloverfield", and the $10 million that "Mist" and "AVP" made. The good news is, now that this thing has been made, the odds are no one will do it again anytime soon.

Uncle Hyena
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