looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Cloverfield (2008)

I feel stupid about this because I really wanted to see this film in the theater, with a bunch of people around me. I dragged L along with me. I thought it would be part of the fun to not know anything about the movie going in, but perhaps that was a mistake.

SPOILER

Is it fair to say that the film is "Blair Witch Project vs. Godzilla"? Yeah, it probably is. Except that it's an apt description of the movie I'd wished I'd seen, because it only really describes the first half of "Cloverfield".

Blair Witch succeeded (for those who enjoyed it) because we never really saw anything.

The producers of Cloverfield were not brave enough to maintain this throughout the film, and the second half of the movie is an unlikely sequence of Perils-of-Pauline near-miss encounters as we see more and more of the monster until nothing is a mystery anymore. (Any fan of Doctor Who knows that monsters are scariest when you see only  glimpses of them.)

Actually the only mystery remaining is how the handi-cam's battery powered the thing for 84 minutes.

And of those 84 minutes, the film actually seems 20 minutes too long.

"Cloverfield" succeeds when it is focused on telling a personal story of regular people on the periphery of an extraordinary event. It fails when - like a dinosaur trapped in a tar pit - it is unable to break free of traditional block-buster movie cliches.

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