By the far the coolest trailer of last year was this mysterious untitled pic from JJ Abrams. Party - Explosion - Head of the Statue of Liberty comes crashing down. Well the movie that goes with that trailer is out and the movie is called "Cloverfield." Cloverfield as it turns out, is the rather harmless-sounding government code-name for the big nasty which makes life so difficult for our party-going New Yorkers. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but Monster! Run!
Most of the time, the monster wrecks a city, you get the monster view. Or the above the monster view. People run and scream and die like ants. Well this movie is from those ant's perspective and it sucks to be those people. Hand-held cameras bring the action home.
The days of picture perfect special effects is over. The real trick now is dirty, out of focus, out of frame, and seamless blended into the real world.
A movie like this is about balance. You want people who are compelling enough to be involved in their plight, but not too sympathetic that the inevitable deaths bring you down. This is a popcorn movie, after all. I just want to have some fun during the long weekend. Our central characters are unknown, good-looking, and good enough actors that they keep our sympathies. They maintain balance by committing acts of head-banging stupidity. I'm guessing the filmmakers were going for "heroic" but instead they landed on "too dumb to live"
In the end I pronounce this film to be "good" but I now pronounce the era of the hand held camera over. My inner ear can't take much more. I want my Steadicam.