Saturday, January 26, 2008
I'll be there for you...will you be there for me too?
So Cloverfield does the plot of The Host (people retreating from a monster attack are forced to return thanks to a distressed phone call from a loved one, while the government tries to kill the beast and quarantine those who got infected by it) like it's The Blair Witch Project (entirely shot from a character's POV), and I don't prefer it to either of its antecedents. In BWP you had no idea what was lurking beyond the camera's scope, in Cloverfield you know its a monster movie. The Host had more engaging performers, arguably an even more exciting monster, and themes that went far beyond "we don't appreciate life until Godzilla takes it away." The action in The Host may have been less IN-YO-FACE, but it also never felt like mere noise.
Critics seem to be harping on the unlikability of the characters, but during the opening sequence I found them no more annoying than the cast of a halfway decent CW pilot. I was almost disappointed that this modest comedy of manners was so rudely interrupted by the beastie, as I knew nothing novel would come from the actors after (other than the implication that nothing matters more to people today than self-documentation). I'm grateful that the 9/11-xploitation of the ad campaign was barely present, and as far as high-concept B-movies go, this is easily one of the most realized.
If they really wanted to capitalize on an "unlikeable" cast, they might have thought about this one:
Rob - David Schwimmer
Beth - Jennifer Aniston
Jason - Matthew Perry
Lily - Courtney Cox
Hud - Matt LeBlanc
Marlena - Lisa Kudrow
Think about it, won't you? Thank you.