But if I've retained any Japanese readers to-day; Ohayo gozaimasu! Dozo yoroshiku. Benkyo!
Eto . . . I saw Cloverfield last night. Which I pretty much liked. I think most of the problems I had with it were my own fault. The handheld camera thing doesn't really do much for me--the conceit that it's somehow more realistic than traditional filmmaking doesn't hold water with me, as I can see a million and one ways in which what I'm seeing is artificial anyway. And there's something else about faux home movies that I've generally found to be true that I first saw Roger Ebert point out in his review for Reality Bites;
The friends are about as inane and boring as most people are while goofing off in front of a camera, but what's remarkable is how badly the footage is shot. The camera operator has no notion of how to frame a shot, how to hold the camera steady, or how to choose subject matter. The result looks like something that might have been obtained by the Monkeycam on the Letterman program.
Also, I'm finding that, with even insurance commercials now featuring ultra-realistic shock accidents, and video game trailers showing gritty street fight footage with aliens, I'm getting kind of numbed to that shock-effect. More effective in Cloverfield, I found, were all the quiet moments where the characters were waiting for what was going to happen next. The Statue of Liberty's head landing in the street didn't get me--it was everyone getting used to the idea of it sitting there. The cameraman zooms in for a moment on her eye, which struck me as kind of an interesting moment.
I felt like a lot of time was spent trying to prove to the audience that a giant, rampaging monster could be effective on a visceral level. I was already on that page, but I liked things like quick shots of hastily abandoned restaurant tables covered in dust.
The saddest part of the movie for me, though, was thinking, "All these people are going to die without ever finding out what it's like to have a personality." Marlena seemed to have something more to her, but for the most part, everyone felt rigorously empty, especially the other two girls. Something's wrong when, during a monster attack, all I can think about is how long Lily can keep those pumps on. I kept thinking of Ghostbusters, and how much it helped that movie that the heroes had personalities. When three of Cloverfields protagonists were trudging up a building's stairwell, I kept wanting one of them to say, "Tell me when we get there. I'm gonna throw up."
But I don't know. Maybe it was intentional.
I don't really mind reveals of the monster. I wish it had been given a stranger, more interesting design. But they must have done something right, because I found myself wanting to see Evangelion unit 01 fighting it.