I’ve seen 3 monster movies in the last week. In case you were wondering, that certainly is above average. It’s actually quite surprising that I was able to see that many in the theater in a week; maybe they’re making a comeback. In any case, in order of quality they were:
Cloverfield: great. I feel that pretty much all criticisms against this movie are unfounded. That’s not to say that it’s a superb bit of film that will change your life, but it knows what it’s doing and does it well. Criticism 1: the camera shakes. Deal with it. Your eyes shake all day long also and your brain compensates. Just crank that up and you hardly notice after a few minutes. Criticism 2: nothing is explained. I repeat, deal with it. If you can watch pretentious art-house films you should be able to handle not completely understanding a movie. Criticism 3: the characters are interchangeable and poorly fleshed out. Guess what? The characters are real people. Lots of characters in film are caricatures. In reality you’ve got a bunch of friends that are sometimes a bit dull and they tend to act in a similarly. Criticism 4: it’s too short. I disagree. If it were longer it would get redundant and diluted. Cloverfield is a great monster movie. It’s a fun experimental movie. In exchange for a slight suspension of disbelief you get a great ride.
Beowulf: good. This movie wasn’t nearly as good, but had some very interesting elements going for it. Obviously it looked great. It didn’t look like real life. It looked like watching an awesome video game for 2 hours. For me that’s entertaining. It actually had some pretty interesting thematic elements. Part of this is due to the original story, part to Neil Gaiman’s script. And perhaps most importantly it had Angelina Jolie naked. Sure it was a CG Jolie, but they obviously put more money into her model than anyone elses. And I’m not complaining.
AVPR: mediocre. In case you missed it, Alien Versus Predator: Requiem came out on Christmas. Perfect holiday fun. Like Beowulf, it was worth a dollar to see it. I’ve seen every Alien movie and every Predator movie, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to stop now. They’re removed the skilled directors (James Cameron, Ridley Scott, David Fincher), taken out the big name actors (Arnold, Glover, Sigourney) and replaced them both with tons aliens attacking each other. It was much better than AVP, but still not good. They did manage to surprise me as to who gets killed off and who doesn’t, which is a bit of an accomplishment for a monster movie. It was worth my dollar, but I’ll never see it again. I flipped for watching this or Atonement this afternoon, and heads won.