February 2, 2008

Cloverfield

A clever experiment well executed,
Cloverfield = Blair Witch Project x Godzilla / September 11th.

In the opening 10 minutes, we meet a circle of twenty-something friends at a party in New York City. At first, I found these characters dumb, shallow, and boring, and as the minutes ticked away, I was itching for the movie to proceed to the promised monstrous destruction. I underestimated the influence these characters' stories would have on the plot. Once the monster arrives in Manhattan and everything goes to s***, five of the young beautiful people try to escape the city, but Rob's would-be girlfriend Beth is trapped, like Dana Barrett, in a penthouse high above Columbus Circle.

cloverfieldIn a pre-9/11 world, the would-be heroics of these kids might seem totally foolish and implausible. Only Rob cares enough to risk his life to save Beth, but in 2008, it only seems a bit implausible and slightly foolish for them all to join him.

Somehow, writer Drew Goddard (Lost, Alias, Buffy) director Matt Reeves (Felicity) and producer/mastermind J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) made me root for these kids to survive until the end of the movie. I certainly recommend this novel film experiment, but I might not go see it again.

THEATER NOTES: Under certain circumstances, the Entertainment Cinemas Fresh Pond is not a horrible place to see a movie. I was seated in Theater 10, which is a strangely shaped theater with a decent-sized screen:

SCREEN
SSSSSSASSSSSS
SSSSSSISSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSLSSSSSS
SSSSSSESSS
SSSSSme SSS
SSSSSSSSS
←Entrance SSS

However, when the trailers started, the framing was completely off, so the top half of the image was projected on the bottom half of the screen. The "projectionist" spent a second tweaking the framing, but didn't get it fixed completely. There was still at least two feet of the frame missing off the bottom of the screen. I decided not to wait for the movie to start. I popped out into the lobby for help. Thankfully, a concessionaire had befriended me at the candy counter, so I buttonholed her and passed along my news. By the time I returned to my seat, the projectionist stopped the projector and fixed the framing. All was not perfect, however- the projector's image was slightly blocked by the bottom of the booth window, so there was a ragged edge along the bottom of the image. I think the image was also 1 or 2 degrees crooked. I cannot swear to this: it may be a optical illusion caused by the ragged framing, but I think it was a little crooked. The good news is, none of this had any effect on a movie which is completely hand-held, and almost completely shot at night.