Some Quick Thoughts on Cloverfield

February 5, 2008

I just saw Cloverfield.  I had been excited right from the teaser trailer, I think shown before transformers back in July.  I don’t want to talk to much about it except for a few quick thoughts.

I really like this trend towards realistic depiction.*  I first noted it on the big screen in Transformers (though I originally noticed it in Firefly).   As awful as some of the shakycam was in Cloverfield it puts you in the story in a way even 3D can’t.  As well the whole response of the people experiencing the events around Cloverfield makes it feel real.  The incredulity and sheer terror of the unknown helps the suspension of disbelief.  You empathize and quite literally feel what the characters on the screen are feeling.*

The other aspect, and possibly weakness, of Cloverfield was what it didn’t show you.  It isn’t until the final part of the movie that you get to see the monster up close.  By that point I was pretty much in shock so I didn’t really have a fear response.  The real question for me is: was it really necessary to fully reveal it?  Part of the terror of the movie (and the terror after the movie) was not knowing what this creature is.  You never find out what it is, but you do find out what it looks like and how it operates.  That alone reduces the lasting impact after the movie.

Anyway, those are just my two cents.

* If I had to coin a term I’d call it Video Realism, not sure if it exists and I’m too tired and lazy to google it right now.

*For the record, I haven’t seen the Blair Witch Project so I can’t comment to great depth about the originality of Cloverfield in this genre.

One comment

  1. My thoughts on seeing the movie poster in the window of the Capitol were “Wow; they would never have been caught dead making this movie in the first year after 9/11.”

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