Following the free-shooting style of the phenomenal success of Blair Witch Project which costs a paltry US$22,000 to make, the US$30 millions production, Cloverfield, seeks to capitalize and repeat the success of Blair Witch Project with more dazzling special effects. In other words, what the precursor does for urban legend, Cloverfield does for freaking Godzilla-like monster running amok, only this time with unfortunate catastrophic result . The result does not refer to record-breaking millions that it has earned so far but the long term impression of such style of filming.
Just like what happens to the statue in the movie, I feel like losing my ‘head’ and almost suffer a migraine after watching the movie halfway because I am somehow allergic to motion sickness .
To summarize the movie, just imagine watching the event of a gigantic Godzilla-like monster and its baby rampaging on the streets of cosmopolitan Manhattan at night captured using a video camcorder by some gung-ho daring group of people, and you roughly get the idea of what Cloverfield is all about.
Prior to movie screening, the producers had done extremely well in piquing the interest of viewers by keeping the identity of the monsters in suspense and leveraging web video services like Youtube as a viral marketing media. Judging by the search result on Cloverfield using Google, the producers definitely have a lot to be commended. Unfortunately that is not enough to make the film successful or any watch-able. As much as the web can help to promote the movie efficiently and effectively, it can also help to destroy it as quickly too. There are simply too many reviews in the web speaking ill of the movie . Unfortunately, mine is just one of them .
I feel that the movie that is about a disaster caused by some monsters terrorising a city, is itself a disaster (if not, at least not far from it). A successful movie is one that leaves one talking and thinking about it after watching the movie. Cloverfield fits the bill perfectly but negatively. Far too many people that watch the movie tell of how bad the filming is (It is not surprising though because it is done by some amateur videotaping on the move). That is the major problem and is the ONLY problem I detest. The special effects are awesome and stunning but the bad filming creating all motion sickness side-effect simply kills the movie. Period.
The producers have to understand that there are still majority of audiences who are adverse to such ‘motion sickness’ effect. What the producers should have done is at least find someone with a more steady hand to shoot the film. Better still, creatively thinking of some story line that involves a geek that happen to experiment with a bio-mechanical device as headgear that automatically stabilize the video so as to excuse for steady video.
That reminds me of our home-grown Kevin Lim who by practice have more steady hand/head capturing video on the move, and is definitely passionate to try on any new gadget anytime, anywhere. By the way, he is wearing a camera, not a flower on the side of his head.
What has Blair Witch Project done right that made it successful ? I suspect that it has a lot to do with the environment that less complex and far lesser characters involved. Moreover, most of the scene occurs in board daylight which might make the ‘moving’ video seems less erratic. With naked eyes, one tends to see clearer in morning light than at night using superficial light. In addition, there is a lot of macro-viewing (closeup) which lesser the drowsiness effect. And most importantly, whoever holding the camcorder is definitely more steady than the one in Cloverfield.
Just watch a segment of Blair Witch Project,
and contrast it with Cloverfield’s trailer (couldn’t find segment of the movie)
The movie is a waste and disappointment as the concept of third-eye view through a camcorder is a plausible concept since the Blair Witch Project in 1999. The only caveat is that this has been realistically overdone. The audiences are unlikely to mind some steady filming in tradeoff of realism as long as they are engrossed in the movie (That’s the point for all movies, isn’t it ?). However, in this case, those profusely unsteady movement break audience’s concentration so much that it creates only confusion and frustration. It is tiresome of the eyes and brain to decipher the monsters when the camera is moving all the time especially on a movie that lasts more than an hour ! The filming just doesn’t do the whole movie justice. So let see if the film will be re-edited for watch-ability. I wonder if the producers and actors themselves actually get to finish watching the film themselves and still able to maintain composure and sanity .
In the end, I said no thank to the movie because like many, I didn’t finished watching it as I just dozed off 45 minutes later after experiencing severe drowsiness. Others simply walked out cursing and swearing, feeling frustrated and irritated. On the other hand, thank to it too because I had a wonderful good sleep that night due to the adverse sickening effect.
On the whole, I really can’t recommend the movie generally (My opinion) as it is a challenge to keep the mundane audiences ‘awake’. However, there are three specific audiences that might find the film useful. Yes, for those who want to watch a movie that test their utmost patience, this is it. Another is for insomnia who want to have a very good night sleep without resorting to expensive sleeping pills. For those who insusceptible to ‘motion sickness’ through playing 3D games like CounterStike, Doom, they will likely to enjoy the movie. Nevertheless, it is best to avoid watching it immediately after lunch or dinner.
Still, I will like the movie to be successful but I seriously don’t want its success to spawn a new genre of movie that works likewise. Just imagine zombies movie using such style, and one will puke not because of the gore but because of the side-effect due to sporadic video movement.
So if next time (If ever there is a next time) if you get to watch such a movie again, remember to bring along a pillow , a ear-plug and vomiting bag . Better still, ask for money-back guarantee if any.
Someone obviously has a knack for drawing heinous monster. Just look at the following illustrations that purport to be the appearance of the monsters. Oh boy, it is really ugly but then it is the practice of Hollywood movie to portray hero with handsome and pretty face, and villain as ugly and deformed. Both images taken from http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/cloverfield-update-fans-draw-the-cloverfield-monster.php.
I have to admit that they have uncanny resemblance to those in the movie. Anyway, I doubt anyone want to reconfirm the monster’s look by watching the ‘sickening’ movie again.
and not forgetting the little irritating pests luring in the dark tunnel.
The following miniature monster reminds me of the Predator though.