Then we went to see Cloverfield. More on that in a moment.
After the movie we went to Friendly's (as mom had a gift card for there burning a hole in her pocket).
First let me preface this review with my expectations. I had high expectations ever since seeing the first trailer prior to the Transformers movie. I feared I would be disappointed because I had such anticipation for this movie. In my opinion; it did NOT disappoint.
The first 15-20 minutes of the movie were kind of slow, but it sets up the characters and their relationship with each other. The main characters are Rob (who is leaving for Japan for a new job), Jason (Rob's brother), Lilly ( Jason's girlfriend), Hud, (Rob's best friend and the appointed camera operator), Marlena (the object of Hud's affections, though she could care less) and Beth (the object of Rob's affections).
Anyway, while Rob, Jason and Hud are out on a balcony discussing Rob's woman troubles there is a short vicious tremor that brings them back inside. This starts off the action. The party goers proceed to the roof in hopes of glimpsing an overturned oil tanker near the Statue of Liberty that they heard about on the news. Quickly things go from slow to whoa! when a building suddenly explodes and fireballs begin to rain down on the city. They run downstairs and into the street. There the now infamous scene with Statue of Liberty's head takes place. They hear loud rumbling again and Hud catches a brief glimpse at the monster (but you're not really sure what you just saw) just as it knocks down another building. Complete with the dust cloud ala` 9/11. But despite the brief recollections of 9/11; it quickly fades thanks to continuous action. They take cover in a little bodega and wait for the creature to pass. It is loud and it is large. This much can be told but the sound of the passing footfalls and the way things shake.
Most of Rob's party has booked it out of sight, leaving only the characters (less Beth- more on her in a moment) that I mentioned earlier. The group proceeds to the Brooklyn bridge in an attempt to escape the island. Now I've been to New York. But to me it just seemed that despite the fact they are walking everywhere, they get to their destinations with minimal effert or exertion (except for Hud who does complain about not being able to keep up) While on the bridge, Jason gets separated from the group as the rest of them hung back with Rob while he fields a call from a terrified Beth. Beth says she is needs help because she can't move. Here you see the first definitive look at a part of the monster. You see its tail come sliding across the screen. There is a loud roar and the bridge starts to shake. Suddenly the bridge starts to crumble. Taking Jason with it. First casualty.
The other four manage to escape from the bridge. After looting a new battery from an electronics store he plays a voice mail Beth left, pretty much the same thing Rob told us before about her not being able to move. Rob sets a seemingly impossible goal of reaching Beth in midtown. Lilly, after expressing her grief for her boyfriend Jason for a few moments, wants to go with Rob. Hud is pretty much following the leader and Marlena (who has only met these people 3 times while drunk before this night) doesn't understand herself why she's following. While walking they are suddenly in the middle of a violent military offensive and the monster. It was so loud. Rocket launchers and automatic rifle fire, tanks rolling by. Here you get another glimpse of the monster. More description later.
The four decide to take cover in a nearby subway platform. In the background you can hear more missiles and roaring and footfalls. The lights flicker. This becomes the first moment of "peace" that they've had since everything started. As a viewer, you can actually take this moment to process what you've witnessed that far. Rob receives a call from his mother who has been watching the news. He has to tell her that his brother is dead. This is where it seems to hit him too. Lilly comforts Rob. Hud tried to comfort Marlena. Marlena is still kind of a bitch to Hud. Rob gets the crazy idea of taking the subway tunnels to get to midtown.
Dark tunnels are scary places to begin with as Hud points out. Homeless guys setting people on fire. Rats. the little light from the camera does little to light their surroundings after hearing a weird noise. So Rob helps Hud turn on the night vision. Revealing probably the most creepy looking spider creature thing on film. It made this really weird noise when it attacked which took a little of the fear out. But oh my! Hud gets attacked by one of these creatures and Marlena turns into superbitch, but this time it is directed at the spider things. This gets her attacked. Soon we are off running again. They manage to find a subway worker break room and hide in there.
Marlena has been bitten by one of the spider things. Nasty looking too. (give an Oscar to the make up guy- great work). Marlena actually starts saying nice things to Hud (who is deeply concerned for Marlena) It doesn't take long before they are off again. They find themselves coming from the subway into a mall. There they are greeted (rather scary like) by the military. This scene is a bit hard to describe. It moved very quickly and Hud didn't really focus on any one thing for more then a few seconds. I think it was pink_raindrops who feared the camera movements would be too much like Blair Witch... I have to tell you... it's actually worse.
Anyway. From behind Hud we hear Marlena telling him she doesn't feel so good. He turns to her and her eyes are bleeding and she is deathly pale. Someone calls out that she's been bitten and men in biohazard gear start to drag her away. All the while she is screaming for Hud. Which in itself is kind of heartwrenching because you know that Hud has been oogling Marlena since she walked into the party. She wouldn't give him the time of day. And suddenly she is screaming for him. The men take her behind a curtain and it appears she ... well.. she exploded. The silhouette of the men in hazard gear and Marlena are seen, then suddenly Marlena kinda drops and a huge blood splatter is seen on the curtain. You can hear the shock and sadness in Hud's voice as the remaining three are quickly dragged away. An officer tells them if they really want to save Beth they have until 6am to get to a certain place ( I didn't catch where) and they could get rides on helicopters out of the city. Because after that time, the government would destroy the city if they hadn't gotten the monster under control by then.
It seemed rather quickly that they got to midtown. There they saw Beth's building had been tipped so that it was leaning against another building. Hud suggested going into the other building and then seeing if they could climb across to the tipped building. Rob and Lilly seemed to like the idea. But as soon as Hud said, he hated the idea. One of the funniest comments he makes is that no one ever listens to him and this is the one time they do.
Somehow they manage to climb 57 flights of stairs in a reasonable amount of time. They get to Beth. She is impaled with a piece of re bar through her chest. But amazingly still alive. After they free her from the re bar, they see the monster coming up the street. Beth asks what it is. Hud replied "a very terrible thing" as they get to other building they open up the stairwell door to reveal a spider creature. Rob grabs a nearby fire ax and whacks it good. Beth asked what that thing was and Hud replies "another really terrible thing". These comments made me laugh.
Beth seemed to have recovered from her injuries rather quickly as they are running towards the rendezvous point. As they clear a bridge, Hud get a really good shot of the monster's face. It came out of no where and was surprising enough that I actually screamed. However the movie was so loud, I don't think anyone heard me. anyway... the military put Lilly on one helicopter and tell the others they'll have to wait for the next one. After Rob, Hud and Beth are off the ground, they see a stealth bomber dropping missiles on the monster. Hud is happy and thinks it's all over. NOT. Out of a cloud of debris, the monster reaches out and knocks the helicopter and it spirals out of control and hits the ground. And people wonder why I haven't flown yet. The crash sequence was very realistic. You felt like you were actually falling and watching the ground coming up to meet you.
Rob, Lilly and Hud (and the camera) survive the crash. Hud drops the camera to tie his belt around Rob's bleeding leg. They start to head across the park when Hud goes back for the camera. He looks up to find himself face to face with the monster. It is ugly. the face is kinda long with these weird reddish sacs on the sides of its head. The sacs seemed kind of like lungs as they inflated and deflated, though I don't recall actually hearing the monster breathing. The body is long with arms like legs that bend like a knee joint would. I don't know of animal to liken it to. The best way to describe the arms would probably be to have you recall the Alien movies. Remember the queen's arms. Picture that but longer. -- Oh-- Anyone see the movie the Dark Crystal? The Landstriders legs probably best comparison I could make. The digital effects were fab, because it looked real and scary. Just like a good monster should. It had teeth like one of those deep sea fishes with the light on top of their heads. Long, thin and pointed. It opened it's mouth and well, that was the end of Hud. Though you rarely see Hud actually on camera, he was probably my favorite character of the whole movie. Then the monster stalked off after dropping a dead Hud to the ground. Rob and Beth grabbed the camera and ran under a foot bridge in Central Park. They pretty much knew that they were not going to get out alive at this point because Rob left his testimonial and had Beth do the same. There was a large explosion which knocked the camera to the ground. You could see Rob clinging to Beth. Another then another explosion. This final one left the camera covered in rocks and knocked out the feed. Because you never actually get see what happens beyond the scope of the camera, the ending leave open the possibility of a sequel.
All through, there were random snippets of Rob and Beth from a month earlier when they had spent the day together. Hud not knowing how to work the camera- as it wasn't his, would occasionally hit play instead of record, so you get to see those snippets. At the end, after the explosion there is one final snippet that shows Beth saying that she had the best day ever.
Now while I wouldn't call it the best movie ever, it is by far my favorite monster movie. Not including King Kong- because Kong wasn't a monster in my book. I really enjoyed the movie. I felt like I was in the thick of the action. I didn't mind the jerky camera movements. This is not a movie for anyone who gets motion sickness. It was scary when it needed to be and I jumped a few times. It had humor (or at least parts I found especially amusing). I read several reviews on it, most unfavorable. But I highly recommend this movie. The Japanese can keep Godzilla. I'll take Cloverfield anyday.
Wow. This is the longest post I have ever posted. If you read it all, congrats, if you didn't because of spoilers, that's okay too. I'm too tired to read flist. I'll do that tomorrow. Hope all is well with everyone.