Friday, May 16, 2008

Cloverfield and The Story of the Bad Husband


Let me tell you a little story about a Bad Husband.

You see, this man knew that his wife wanted to see Cloverfield almost more than she loved her dog. From the time she saw the teaser trailer before 'Transformers', through all the speculation that it would be another crappy Godzilla movie, until the movie posters started appearing, he knew she wanted to see it. He knew that she loved Lost and, therefore, J.J. Abrams, and he knew that most anything Abrams created, his wife would enjoy.

But this man, this Bad Husband, kept putting off taking his wife to see 'Cloverfield'. Oh, one night they had grand plans to see it, after a nice dinner at the Macaroni Grill (it was lovely), but the Bad Husband ate too much and didn't feel like sitting through a movie. So the Good Wife took her husband home under the premise they would see it soon.

Then, something terrible happened. 'Cloverfield' left theaters. And the Good Wife hadn't seen it yet.

So, the Bad Husband promised they would watch it together once it came out on DVD. And guess what? The Bad Husband, he kept his promise! And they watched it together, the weekend after it was released on DVD.

And... and... I'm glad I didn't pay $10 to see it.

Oh yeah, spoilers ahead.

Okay, my husband really isn't a Bad Husband, but I do like to joke him down about that. Also about the kitchen project that was started MLK, Jr. Weekend and supposed to be finished by the time I got home that Monday evening and still isn't done, but that's neither here nor there.

So, 'Cloverfield.' It had so much promise. And I really did enjoy most of it. It was slow to start, of course, and since I knew what was going to happen I kept hoping that shit would start blowing up, and soon. I mean I guess the back story of the romance between the guy leaving for Japan and his best girl friend/crush was supposed to make me care about whether or not they were crushed by Cthulhu, but I didn't really. I just wanted to see the Statue of Liberty's head roll down the street. And boy did it!

The special effects were neat, and the guy who was supposed to be filming with the handheld video camera was funny. (Incidentally, did anyone watch Carpoolers? I loved that guy as Marmaduke on that show. Sadly, it's been canceled. But don't worry, they're bringing back The Big Bang Theory. (Psst - that show sucks.)) Also, the girl who gets bitten by the small monster (were they babies? parasites?) and then blows up was Janis Ian in Mean Girls, one of my favorite movies.

So, the premise is it's this dude's going away party, and the city (New York, of course) is attacked by some unknown monster. The dude loves this girl, who is one of his best friends, but she gets mad and leaves the party before the attack starts. So once everyone starts losing their shit and running for their lives, the dude starts to worry about the girl and whether or not she's safe. He finally gets through to her on a cell phone, and it turns out she's in her apartment and she's fallen and she can't get up. So the dude turns against the tide of people losing their shit and running for their lives to go back for the girl. His friends decide to come with him, and much drama and terror ensues.

The parts between the dumb romance storyline were actually very tense. It kind of stressed me out watching it, but in a good way, like how little kids always love to be scared and chased. The cthulhu monster was weird and scary, but even scarier were the smaller Doberman-sized monsters that fell off the big monster. They just bite everything in their paths.

At one point the dude and his friends are walking the subway tunnels in an attempt to stay away from the carnage in the streets, and it turns out they're being stalked by some of the small monsters. They can only see them if they use the Night Vision feature on the video camera. Um, does my camera at home have that feature? Because I could think of a lot of cool Nancy Drew-type things to do with that. Anyway. That's when Janis Ian gets bitten. She gets sicker and sicker as they walk, and they finally find some military and medical people with a makeshift hospital, and the girl starts bleeding from her eyes and nose. The medical staff say, "We've got a bite!", rush her behind a back-lit curtain, and she explodes. At that point I was thinking, J.J. Abrams, you have successfully entertained me even if the rest of this movie sucks.

Anyway, the movie makes it clear that only one of the friends successfully escapes (and it's not the dude or his girl that he rescues). The other three are on a helicopter but the monster pulls it down out of the sky. Then the guy with the camera actually gets eaten by the big monster in a cool scene with him standing directly beneath it, pointing the camera up at it. It looks down at him and considers him for a few seconds before it chomps.

The dude and his girl get the camera after that and hide out under a bridge in Central Park and make their final testimonials to the camera. (As an aside, that camera had a great battery.) Air raid sirens are going off because the military is just going to destroy the whole island and, ostensibly, the monster too.

I guess we should have watched through the credits because according to Wikipedia there's some weird noise or voice at the very end that says "Help" or "It's still alive" or something. That's some straight-up 'Lost' crap right there.

I give Cloverfield 3/5 stars. I would watch it again but fast forward through the beginning.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Well now I don't have to see it! Thanks!!