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.
In 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:
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.