Friday, October 28, 2011

Move Over Godzilla...

Day 15 - My Favorite Monster Movie

Godzilla (aka, "Godzira")
Move over Godzilla... there's a new monster on our planet. And though he only has one movie to his name (he doesn't have a name, actually) it doesn't make him any less ferocious or scary.

In 2008, My (then) husband decided to attend a superbowl party. I'm not foolish, I know what happens at a superbowl party - heavy drinking, cussing... My five year old, Aidan, was not going with him. But to make things fair, we split the boys up. Ethan was only 2 1/2, and would basically be unaware of the goings on.
Having Aidan with me that night should have put a chink in my original plans to go to the movies, but I thought, "Hey, it's only PG-13... and basically like Godzilla... right?" In my defense, he handled Transformers beautifully.

I'm a bad mom. (Mother of the year!!!)

Aidan and I loved this movie and it's a shame that I hear a lot of bad reviews about it. I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Just the right soft mix of sci-fi and horror. Add in a dash of that filming craze that makes things appear as though it's really happening - reality TV - and you've got yourself a hit.

Cloverfield. I like it because of the simple facts that it picks up quickly, even with a short back story in the beginning, stays at a pretty consistent pace, you feel as lost in the chaos as the characters do, and the monster is clearly not some dude in a cheap costume. (I imagine Godzilla movies were shot just the way we see it in Pee Wee's Big Adventure at the end when he rides his bike through a similar set.)

In my opinion, it was even better than the American take on Godzilla in 1998 with Matthew Broderick. ("Heeere, lee-zard, lee-zard, lee-zard...")

We see our beloved New York destroyed by something otherworldly. I admit that I was apprehensive seeing this, knowing it occurred in New York. Only being a bit over 6 years since 9-11 at that time, I felt that it may be too much too soon for me to handle. I was fine. For approximately 85 minutes, I forgot all about our real life horrors and was consumed instead with a strange looking monster.

"Gollum" - LOTR trilogy
I can't even begin to describe was it looked like. You never get a clear shot of it, but at different times I have described it as looking like (take note of my scientific genius in naming animals - Adam had nothing on me!): A naked man, the Sin Monster from Final Fantasy X, the Scorpion King, Rancor (for all of you Star Wars buffs out there), a Mizard (part man, part lizard), a Mider (part man, part spider), and Gollum (with a tail).
  Oh it gets better... This thing? It has lice or some sort of parasite living on it by the hundreds. If they attack you, you are infected (apparently) and you will explode. Like I said, in the chaos of the movie, you are just as lost as the characters, so nothing is ever really explained or fully understood. You just know we are up the creek and need to get the heck out of NYC. These parasites resemble a cross between a spider and crabs, much like the "bugs" in Starship Troopers - just a smaller version. So in my wicked, creative intelligence, we will call them Spidercrabs.
"The only good bug is a dead bug!" - Starship Troopers

Basic gist of the story, boy loves girl and girl loves boy. Boy and girl have one incredible day together (on Coney Island!!!) only to drift apart because boy is getting a promotion and moving to Japan. They record that day together on video to remember by. Months later, boy is leaving for Japan the next day and friends throw a surprise going away party for him. Bossy girlfriend orders boy's brother to record "goodbyes" from everyone at the party to remember by, accidentally taping over Coney Island Day. Girl shows up with date & makes boy jealous. They exchange hurtful words and she leaves.

Cloverfield (2008)
Then Gollum and his Spidercrabs wreak havoc on the Statue of Liberty's face. This particular scene/idea was inspired by the movie poster of John Carpenter's Escape From New York, starring Kurt Russell.
Escape from New York (1981)

From this moment on, boy realizes that he truly loves girl and must save her from the city. Hooray for adventures during a tumultuous time in a gigantic city. In this journey, boy and his friends face death (so his group of friends actually dwindle down to friend), a confused and defeated military, riots, broken bridges, more spidercrabs and occasionally, Gollum shows up. And through it all we view it through the camcorder that was used during Coney Island Day and boy's farewell party. (Appropriately coined by Roger Ebert as "La Shakily Queasy-Cam"

The acting is not bad at all in this. In fact, I'd dare to say it's better than most other movies. But what I enjoyed the most was that unlike other "reality" movies, this one never drops the illusion that it's really happening. It's all so fast and frenzied that there's never any time or any way to gather information on what is happening, aside from where is Gollum and how do we get to girl.

Additional fun things happen in this movie. At the end of the credits you hear a voice say in static, "It's still alive." Plus, before the credit roll (because the assumption before then is that this is found footage), the tape returns to happy Coney Island Day and for a quick obscure moment (if you are looking for it), you can see something dropping from the sky and landing far out in the Atlantic Ocean with a big splash. It's bee assumed that this is the monster's drop on Earth.

It's the small things in life, isn't it?

Cloverfield is a great movie. All you haters, go watch "Godzira".

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