Brandi and I went to see Cloverfield last night. I enjoyed everything about it – except for the idiots in the theater.
Why do people pay to see a movie if all they're going to do is play with their cellphones and talk to each other? Every time I get excited about seeing a movie in the theater, it seems like these same damned teenage assholes show up and just cheat me out of my enjoyment. It's bad enough that they talk loudly, but those friggin' cellphone screens are so bright, it distracts me and pulls me out of the movie.
It's about as inherently goofy as any other giant monster movie and doesn't hold up to a lot of heavy critical analysis, but you know what? It's a GIANT MONSTER MOVIE. It doesn't need to. All it needs to do is be fun, and I thought it was definitely that.
Awesome giant monster? Check. Massive and spectacular scenes of destruction? Check. Surprises? Check. Scary scenes? Oh yeah. Moderately interesting characters? Close enough.
And, for what it's worth, I really enjoyed seeing a giant monster movie from the perspective of the civilians on the ground, rather than from the POV of yelling generals, brilliant scientists and heroic soldiers. The creature design by the Tippett studio was really cool, too.
SPOILER: Some folks are going to be frustrated by the lack of an explanation for the creature's existence and/or its motivations, but I thought leaving it unexplained was a great touch... although if you watch carefully, there's a hint to the beastie's origin near the end.
As a warm-up for Cloverfield, I rented the direct-to-DVD knock-off, Monster over the weekend. It was made by a low budget studio called The Asylum, which specializes in fast, dirt-cheap imitations of big studio blockbusters. Among their other titles are I Am Omega, AVH: Alien Vs Hunter, and Transmorphers. (!)
Working from the same basic premise of a giant monster attack on a city being recorded on home video by civilians in the middle of things, Monster was mildly entertaining, with a couple of good moments scattered amidst a lot of really boring crap. Still, it could have been worse. At least Monster was set in Tokyo, traditional stomping grounds of gargantuan critters. The cover art is particularly amusing as it not only riffs on Cloverfield, but the Korean monster film from last year, The Host. Those Asylum guys are sneaky.
Anyway, I recommend Cloverfield. It's may not be the greatest monster movie ever made, but it's damned good, and a heck of a thrill ride.