Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cloverfield: Conflict and Then Some

We went to see Cloverfield today, a Godzilla film for modern America which ensures that one will have a series of small heart attacks throughout the tension-packed movie. The premise is that a group of attractive young people have gathered to wish one of their own farewell: he is traveling to Japan the next day as the Vice President of something, although he looks like he's only recently graduated from college. In any case, the young hero is conflicted because he is newly in love, and he is leaving the girl behind and they are both pretending, poorly, not to care.

Then, suddenly, there is ominous booming and scary explosioning and the Statue of Liberty's head comes flying right into the street, and it is clear that the conflict will no longer be about love (although it sort of is, and it's about friendship, as well).

I have given away nothing that the trailers didn't, and I'll say nothing more except to mention that I eventually looked for consolation by holding the hand of my nine-year-old, who wasn't as scared as I was, and who patted my hand compassionately while his eyes devoured the screen, filled with the shaky visuals of a hand-held camera.

It was a bit disturbing that some of the images in the film were reminiscent of 9-11, which I have to assume was intentional, since the movie was set in Manhattan. Perhaps it is meant to be an homage of sorts. Perhaps the giant monster is a metaphor. In any case, it's a tense and interesting film, sure to promote discussion afterward.

Go see it! But bring someone along in case hand-squeezing becomes a necessity.

(Visual courtesy of

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