Monday, January 28, 2008

Second Thoughts On Cloverfield

Alright. Alright! My original review of Cloverfield was a tad nasty, if you can even call it a review. The post was fun as hell to write, but it wasn't... right. I saw the movie again yesterday with my son and while I can't give it a glowing review for it is flawed in several areas, I can certainly give it props because it would be wrong for us as film lovers not to pause and take note of the milestones set by this movie.

First, there's the amateur camera as narration device. Of course it's been done before in The Blair Witch Project and more recently with Redacted and the as of yet unreleased Diary Of The Dead, but what Cloverfield has done is meshed the unbelievable with the believable. In a time when childhood monsters aren't real or scary, Cloverfield has made them real and scary again and reinvented the over-sized monster genre in the process.

Second, it has managed to make a ripple smack dab in the middle of general suck-time for movies. People getting excited about a movie in the middle of January? Completely unheard of until now.

And just because I live in a world that makes absolutely no sense, I'm going to add something right here and right now. There's talk of a sequel to Cloverfield. That maybe the second one follows another guy with another camera and documents his story. And so let me go completely off the deep end and say that I love the idea. That's right, I love it. It's never been done before and there's no better movie to do it for. Maybe this second one goes a little deeper and this other guy with the camera finds out a little bit more about where this monster came from. Or that maybe the military is involved. Lots of possibilities and honestly I can't wait.

So while I can't praise Cloverfield for being a great movie, I can take notice of it doing some interesting things in the process. Thank God for second thoughts. Can't wait for my third thoughts on the subject.


Burbanked said...

WOW. I am shocked and pleased as punch at this. Hilariously, the more I think about Cloverfield, the more it kind of falls apart in my mind, and a second theatrical viewing is likely not going to happen.

How'd your son like the movie? I find that watching a terrible movie with my boys sometimes has the effect of helping me appreciate it on a purely superficial and childlike level, i.e. Fantastic Four.

To me Cloverfield was just pure fun, silly and dopey but how-can-you-not-smile fun. I read where someone compared it to a big, dumb but lovable dog and I can definitely identify with that assessment.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PIPER said...


Don't get me wrong, this is not praise for this movie, but I felt dismissing it outright would be wrong.

And yes, watching this with my son allowed me to see it with different eyes and as a result I found myself enjoying it a bit more.

I like the big lovable dumb dog analogy.

Fletch said...

Yeah, hopefully the sequel will hash out like the rumors have been saying. It's quite intriguing and is much more desirable than what the standard sequel might have been (bigger monster! more destruction!).

Sheamus the... said... opinions and thoughts change as time passes with most movies. I loved Cloverfield but I am afriad to see again...dont want to lose the love.

Anonymous said...

cloverfield was original to say the least, left some questions unanswered however

PIPER said...

What's with all these Pat's and Patricks? That's my name and it's really creeping me out to see these posts.

Patrick. First, nice name. Second, of course it left a lot of unanswered questions, it's J.J. Abrams. Some might call that bad storytelling, and others think that's cool. It just makes me kinda pissed.

Nayana Anthony said...

I love the idea of a sequel told from another point of view. But that's not really a sequel, is it? Because it happens at the same time as the original. So what's the word for that?

Anyway, I think the idea has potential. And if it's well done, there could be more and more versions, each giving us a bit more of the story.

Anonymous said...

If they do a sequel to this film, I want the new film crew to run across our "heroes" from the first film, just so I can see exactly how Hud managed to get those great shots while running for his life.

Bob Turnbull said...

> But that's not really a sequel, is it? Because it happens at the same time as the original. So what's the word for that?

An eequel? A parallequel? a mid-equel?

They could do four of them, then put them all together in four separate quadrants of one screen and run them at the same time (ala "Timecode"). Sound mix it right to focus attention when clues or information is being provided. And I like Ray's thought of having the camera people come in contact with each other (as unlikely as that would be in reality).

OK, I wouldn't go see that either...

Since it is Abrams and there's talk of another film, is it possible he left some other clues in Cloverfield? I haven't seen it yet, but I'm starting to want to...

Damian Arlyn said...

I must say, Piper, that I am pleased to see your willingness to re-think your initial reaction to the movie. Personally speaking, I found Cloverfield to be quite good and more or less agreed with these two "takes" on the film by Cinebeats and David Bordwell.

I considered responsing to your first piece about the film--which, while I agree was a bit unnecessarily harsh, I wasn't all that surprised by since I knew there wasn't any love lost between you and that film based on your criticisms of the publicity (sentiments which, again, I didn't personally share)--but I was afraid my own passionate affection for it might cause me to express my own opinion too harshly and, once again, I'm tending to err more on the side of caution lately.

PIPER said...


I have read the two posts you shared and thank you for sharing them.

When I initially saw this movie, it was with a group of adults and there was not one who said they liked it. And I wrote the initial post as a goof because honestly at that time I didn't feel the movie was worth any kind of serious criticism.

But then I saw it again with my son and I thought, hey wait! this deserves some praise for what it has accomplished and that's why I published my second thoughts. Plus, the idea of another P.O.V. coming out of this movie was very intriguing to me and I wanted to write about that.

Overall, my criticism is this. Hud sucks. You can't try to make a movie seem real and then put a cartoon character as the main narrator. And I couldn't forgive that and what's further, I shouldn't have to.

I feel that we are forgiving too many things these days. Looking the other way in order to allow shortcoming. It's possible to see a fun movie that doesn't expect me to forgive major flaws. And I'm not wrong to want more out of this movie. To expect it to be more than a big, dumb, fun movie. Despite all my criticism of it early on, I wanted it to be more.

But the truth is that it reinvented the big monster movie. And that's a lot and it deserved praise for doing that. And it made us scared of silly and outrageous things that we didn't think could make us scared because the real world is scary enough. So kudos to it for that, but I still can't get over the Hud character and to me that's a major miss. And because of that, the movie is largely flawed.

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