I was listening to a podcast recently where they were talking about Cloverfield and, in general at least, they all liked it. I don’t get it. I think Cloverfield sucks.
So, like a lot of other posts I’ve done, I want to go into why I really hate this thing and why it’s just not a good film.
I’m just going to give you my reasons why I think this is a horrible movie. So, in no particular order:
- Found footage films suck. I can’t think of a single found footage movie that I have enjoyed, ever. I think Blair Witch is garbage and the Paranormal Activity films are awful. The biggest problem with found footage movies is they are completely unconvincing. Nobody actually carrying a camera would act the way that they do in these movies. And I know it’s a movie, but the whole premise of found footage is that it’s actually happened. That’s the reason these movies exist in the first place. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mobile camera, like in Cloverfield, or a generally stationary camera, like in parts of Paranormal Activity, people just don’t act that way. It’s convenient that all of the story just so happens to be caught on film. It’s convenient that everything important to the story just so happens to occur in the room with the camera. As soon as you realize that, the whole genre becomes stupid.
- The characters are awful. Now this is a problem that I have in general with horror movies, but kaiju films are every bit as bad at it. The characters are uniformly horrible human beings and because of it, I don’t give a damn if they live or die. You never get emotionally attached to the characters, therefore you are never invested in their survival. They were two-dimensional and shallow. That’s really why they throw in these stupid, unconvincing relationships because they’re hoping the audience will sympathize. They had no motivations beyond survival and often not even that because…
- The characters aren’t just awful, they’re stupid. They act like idiots and put themselves into danger and the audience is supposed to want them to survive. I don’t. I want them to suffer the consequences of their idiotic decisions. I would love to see a movie where they don’t decide to go skinnydipping in the middle of a natural disaster or don’t go running into the burning building for no good reason, but that’s just not how the genre works.
- The monster design is terrible. Is it unique? Sure. Is it at all realistic? Absolutely not. And because of that, you simply cannot suspend your disbelieve when the stupid monster looks so laughable, at least what little you get to see of it. The whole “you got bit” crap is moronic too.
- The story focuses on the wrong thing. The majority of the movie focuses on the awful characters and not on the monster. In fact, you never really get a good look at the monster, you never find out anything about the monster, you just watch these stupid characters run around, doing stupid things and I have no interest in that.
- J.J. Abrams is terrible at telling stories. He wants to leave things vague, but you really can’t do that with a giant monster movie. Where did Cloverfield come from? Nobody knows. How does he work? Nobody knows. Nobody actually knows anything. I don’t want to have to fill in all of the details, the whole point of seeing a movie is to be entertained. If I have to entertain myself, why should I pay you? It’s one thing not to explain everything, it’s another not to explain anything.
- The indestructible camera. This deserves special mention. It never gets put down. It never breaks. It never runs out of batteries. If you’re running for your life, you are not going to be filming everything around you. It’s just stupid. But this is a problem with all found footage movies. It takes you right out of the movie every time.
I really find it hard to believe that so many people actually like this piece of crap. This is not a quality movie. It does not have good acting. It does not have a worthwhile story. It’s just stupid people doing stupid things while lugging around a stupid, unbreakable camera, running from a silly looking monster on shaky cam. If that’s your thing, I kind of pity you.