Saturday, 19 July 2008

Cloverfield

SPOILERS FOR CLOVERFIELD, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

That means stop reading and go somewhere else if you haven't seen it yet. Go on. Press a nice link on the right and read some interesting blogs about things you've already seen.

Right. Still here? So you are the smug lot that can get to cinemas the week a film comes out. You then watch with a self-satisfied grin while the rest of us flit past blogs with spoiler alerts and sit on the sofa, remote at the ready to avoid the trailers designed by morons who don't get that some of us DON'T get to see it until DVD release so DON'T want to know what happens yet.

OK rant over. After seeing a bit more than we wanted in the trailer we dived out and got the DVD to watch before the experience was ruined. Glad we did. We really wanted to see this in the cinema but sprog minders are a bit thin on the ground round here so we've had to learn patience.

We turned off all the lights, pulled the curtains, stocked up on munchies, bribed the gerbils with a skipload of toilet rolls to not spin or rattle anything and settled down. Didn't leave the sofa until it was finished. Didn't want to.

What I loved about the film was that it ignored the big picture. It didn't answer questions like what is the monster, why is it there, what are the authorities doing about it, are there others attacking elsewhere, do the humans win. It just ignored them and concentrated on the people trapped in the middle of it. At ground zero. You knew what they knew.

Personally this is the part of a story that interests me. In "The Day After Tomorrow", for example, the big spectacles of New York flooding then freezing were very impressive but weren't something that gets me back for a repeat view. I wanted to know about the boy's school they kept referencing. How would a bunch of kids cope. What happened to the party that left the library before they died in the storm. Did they realise? Did they doubt? Were they all happy about going or did the group rip itself apart first. I didn't give a stuff about the problems the government had in negotiating refugee access to South America.

I think the Godzilla remake had a similar problem for me. It was about the people in the centre of the decision making. Not about the people in the centre of the consequences. You had the scientists and the army up front. The ordinary people were just a body count passing the camera.

So back to Cloverfield. I wouldn't say it was perfect but it kept me on the edge of my seat and there were lots of moments where I curled into a ball. And those creepy, spidery, bitey bug things.... I spent ages waiting for them to turn up. It'll be now. No. OK they'll be now. No. They'll be.... Aaaaagh.

I loved all the Godzilla references (the original one) and I'm sure there was a bit of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms there too.

I also felt the characters were established well enough that their repeated rejection of escape was believable. Each had their own reasons for staying and I bought into them. They stayed because they couldn't leave, not because they didn't want to.

Right post over. If you haven't seen the film and read this anyway then you are very silly. Go see it.

4 comments:

Robin Kelly said...

I had to remind myself what Cloverfield was - I saw it such a long time ago ;-)

I agree. They had a hard job to do in getting us to believe not only that someone could film what was going on but that they would deliberately go towards the danger and I was convinced.

Jennica makes some crucial thoughts on Cloverfield's characterisation here.

Elinor said...

I really liked it too though (and this may be my age talking) I did get a bit a bit confused as to who was who amongst all the good-looking people with scary white teeth. I must watch it again.

Rach said...

Robin. The sign of smug city folk. I can comfort myself that I didn't have to wend my way home through highrise and underground tunnels after the film, braving bitey spidery things. Unless you count braving the Sheep Ticks on the moor. And thanks for the link to Jennica.

Elinor. I thought all US teeth glowed in the dark? There did seem a shortage of people above size 0 running around. I tried to tell them apart by the shoes but I can't tell a Doc Martin from a Jimmy Shoe (do you spell it that way?) so not a good technique.

Elinor said...

LOL! It's Choo. x