cinema review: Cloverfield

I saw a fun movie last night, Cloverfield. It is rightly rated PG-13. The frights and carnage are a little tough at times. But it was like a great roller coaster ride. It was a 90 minute ride with a 15-20 minute climb to introduce the characters then it started to pick up speed then it plunged at 5g's and we were gripping our seats. It was also like a roller coaster ride because it is viewed through a character's personal video camera. I sat toward the back of the theater so that I wouldn't get seasick as some reviewers warned about. When you are in a panic because a giant monster is destroying your city you aren't very steady with your camera. The monster is similar to the insect in Men In Black, but 10 times bigger, and like the better fright movies, you mostly glimpse it. The best frights are unknown, where the audiences' imagination does most of the heavy lifting. One of my favorite monster movies is the first Alien because the viewer is as clueless as the characters and just as scared.

Some of the scenes are very poignant in light of recent recent disasters. As the monster destroys New York City great billows of smoke and dust rush down the avenues followed by sheets of paper drifting down just as in 9/11 footage. This was followed by looters in an electronics store as in New Orleans after Katrina hit. Hence, the unseen monster can represent man or nature in this movie. It is something new and unforeseen. We never find out if it is defeated either.

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