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Sunday, January 20, 2008

CLOVERFIELD by Matt Reeves


Here we go, the first potential Hollywood blockbuster hit of 2008.

Cloverfield, thanks to viral marketing, and also having its intriguing trailer placed before last year's Transformers in US theaters, had swiftly became a much-anticipated film for many (myself included).

Of course, few days after it started screening (the film premieres at both Msia and US at the same time), reviews and word-of-mouth had been decidedly mixed. It's getting generally positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes (78% now), Chewxy loved the crap out of it, sis and dad were disappointed ("this is only 10% as good as THE HOST", my sister declared after watching the film last night with dad).

The latter two were unprepared with what the film was really like, and I guess most complaints came from those who weren't aware that the film's really told solely from the point of view of a digital camera wielded (mostly) by this guy called Hud. The film is Hud's recordings of a gigantic monster's 7-hour attack on New York City that interrupted their blissful farewell party to his best friend.

So the film is unique in a sense that it sucks audiences right into the action, giving you the 'you are there' feeling that you generally get from Youtube or Facebook home videos or videoblogs. And it also helps that this film features a cast of unknown.

It's like Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla, or Youtube meets Godzilla, or whatever.

As for myself, after watching the film this morning, I was definitely entertained, although it is fairly predictable. This is an uncompromising film which CAN be disorienting to people not used to its 'in-your-face' style filmmaking, but seriously, I appreciate the fact that this film is trying something different. I mean, if you're seriously expecting this to be a nice, properly edited conventional monster film, you'll be disappointed, but you can get tons of these elsewhere.

THE HOST this ain't (and I recommend THE HOST to anyone, monster fan or no), but one thing that bothers me about the praises heaped upon this film is that J. J. Abrams may have gotten far too much credit for this film. Yes, one has appreciate the creator of LOST and ALIAS for lending his starpower and famous name to back the project, but... er, why isn't DIRECTOR MATT REEVES getting any love? Even if J. J. Abrams had as much involvement in the creative process as Judd Apatow does with his produced works, I still find it saddening that Abrams is the one who gets the 'genius' tag by fans of this film, and not Matt Reeves.

Kinda reminds me of the time when lots of people were giving credit to Tarantino for Sin City and not Robert Rodriguez... when all Tarantino did was direct one scene. WTF?

As for Cloverfield, it's an interesting experience, but not a film I'll watch twice, seriously. Just watch it without letting the hype get to you.

What do you guys think of the film?

(This is random, but after watching this, I seriously want to watch DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTEFLY, anyone who knows anything about this film will know what I'm talking about.)

Read an interview with director Matt Reeves on io9, my new favourite blog. (io9 also said that Cloverfield is really all about 9/11)