Starring: Mr. Grumpy Pants and his band of biting buggers
Genre: Action, Horror
If you like it, STUMBLE IT.
Okay, I know most of you want to get to the cloverfield review right away, so I’ll do that first. However, the experience of the early screening, and talking with the fans, theater folks, and Paramount reps was cool, so I’ll hit that after the Cloverfield movie review.
NOTE: HERE THERE BE CLOVERFIELD SPOILERS
The Cloverfield Monster
Of course, most ‘pre-fans’ won’t give a w00t! about character performances, it’s the action and monster they want to see, and they get plenty of looks before it’s all over. The monster was def awesome. I think it will surprise many who were trying to guess its nature. It was big, maybe several blocks long when looking down from head to tale. It could rise up skyscraper high when it wanted, crawl around on weird arthropod legs, and even pull itself along like a slug with elbows. I’m glad producer JJ Abrams and/or director Matt Reeves chose this to be the ‘American Monster’.
It wasn’t Voltron, it wasn’t a whale, it wasn’t Cthulu, but it was one big ugly mess! It was as if they took parts of sea animals, threw in some extra arms and legs, and put them in a blender 400 hundred feet tall. I saw some definite similarities between the four creatures featured on the hack of the Tagruato site. (Tanner Crab, Irukandji Jellyfish, Dumbo Octopus, and Ogre fish) I’d be comfortable if they suggested it was a mutation involving all those deep sea creatures. Because there are no photos of the monster yet, below is my second attempt to draw the monster from memory.
This image just posted in at NYmag.com:
MGP seemed to have the teeth of the ogre fish (known as a fangtooth), definitely something around the ears akin to the Dumbo Octopus, as they swelled, ala the ear of Grendel in the recent Beowulf. It also had grey skin along the head which was similar in texture to an octopus, as opposed to scales, fins or ridges. The ‘arms’ are much like a crab or spider. It also might have had some long tentacles it could whip out and smack things, and I think that was the part it may have gotten from the jellyfish. That could have been the tail I saw, perhaps similar to a giant squid’s tentacle, but I can’t be sure on one viewing. As a refresher, below are the four deep sea creatures cut from the Tagruato hack page: (and for those unfamiliar with the rather involved story leading up to the movie, go to CloverfieldClues and start reading from the beginning of that excellent resource.)
There are smaller creatures, lots of them, and they fall off of Mr. Grumpy Pants (MGP). I think MGP can actually choose to shake them loose when he wants to really cause problems for those pesky military assaults. The critters are crablike, (remind me of Zergs from the Starcraft video game, or the bugs in Starship Troopers). They are fast, like to spring at you, and leave a nasty bite. I think most of the pre-fans know what happens to someone when they get bitten. I won’t tell you what happens when Marlene grows 40 pant sizes in two seconds, but there will be blood.
First Person View
Watching the story through the first-person view was very realistic, and helped create a sense of panic and fear. There were also several ‘gotcha’ moments, which brought a reaction from the audience. BE WARNED, the camera is very shaky and downright dizzying at times. There were maybe half a dozen times when the characters were in a pinch, and had to take off running. HUD would forget looking through the lens and just book it with the camera running. It was the realistic thing to do, but jarring and spinning views of feet on passing pavement, blurred buildings, and taking corners, can make you dizzy. Three ladies I interviewed afterwards said they felt queasy, and I was told there was another woman in the restroom that was really nauseous/sick. Another blogger mentioned this in his
Cloverfield Sick review. If you get motion sick easy, you might want to take some meds before going. I didn’t feel anything, but do admit the camera was all over the place at times. There was no other view during the film. It started with the tape rolling, and ended that way. However, they used a really brilliant idea to show some back-story, without interferring with the hand-held camera idea. Also, as predicted, there were a few situations where the camera looked at a tv screen, to show a wider view of what was going on in the city.
Marketing vs Movie
Just wanted to add that I didn’t see any part of the viral marketing back-story with a significant role in the movie. Yes, there’s a tanker burning that looks like it’s from Tagruato, but the company, the Chuai station, Slusho!, Myspace pages, jamielovesteddy.com, nor seabed nectar is not important in the movie. For that reason, I think the marketing campaign gives the ‘pre-fans’ a much more entertaining experience than those who haven’t checked out the history or participated in the fun. I hold out hope for a dessert on this 7 course meal: I’m hoping that after the movie has launched for a few weeks, that the producers may continue some of the story elements to wrap up loose ends with Tagruato/Chaui, so we can extend our fun. BTW, there’s no cause given for the monster’s appearance in the city, and he seems to have no purpose other than to walk around tearing stuff up and killing folks.
The Ending — well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. I do plan to see the movie again, probably several times. Cloverfield is the type of movie where I’ll probably notice quite a number of things the more I see it, especially with my heart a little calmer, and my eyes knowing just where to look next.
Recommend for: 12 years and above.
The Jan. 10 Screening and Interviews
I have plenty to say on this account. It was a super evening, but I’m waaaaay too tired tonight. I’ll add this part of the report after school. Quick shout out to interviewees Luciano, Maurine, Ryan, Logan, and Paramount reps Zach and Justin.