Friday, January 18, 2008

01-18-08: A good idea is just not enough

The best thing about The Blair Witch Project was the idea. The smart marketing ensured that there was some terrific buzz around the idea. In the end, I found Blair Witch.. average and was not as impressed as others were. I have to admit that the true kick regarding that movie was seeing it in a packed theater with an audience that was able to react in fear to the perceived danger. Snakes on a Plane had a great title but that was about it. What point was there in seeing a movie when the title clearly spelled out what the film was about? And given Hollywood's track record, it was obvious how things could unfold in a movie that put snakes on a plane. No wonder people stayed away.

Cloverfield had a very good idea centered around an intriguing trailer and poster. Even though Imagination can only point to a few things capable of taking out the Statue of Liberty's head, I harbored a small hope that maybe the film-makers thought of something really clever. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when sneak trailers on Thursday night pointed towards the cause of the destruction. After that, I really did not have any need to see the film. But I still went.

And the verdict?

Not bad really. There are some parts that were neat but I felt the film truly missed a chance to push its unique idea further. The usage of the hand held camera to record events certainly takes a cue from The Blair Witch Project but then this idea is extended to incorporate a few fearful elements depicted previously in Hollywood films. While in the past, we may have had a different camera angle for the events, this time we get a view from the ground up. Although the actual cause of havoc in the film is different, the film certainly brought back memories of other such incidents filmed in New York city. Also, another layer of fear is added given the choice of New York as few scenes evoke a sense of realistic threat given the act of terrorism that took place in that city 6 years and 5 months ago.

Rating: 6.5/10


Antimatter said...

The 'cause' of the destruction is the big secret? Wow, I thought that was obvious, but I guess they never really revealed it in the promos! I thought the big secret was not the type of cause, but the actual 'identity' of the cause.

I actually love the idea of that kind of film being made from a 'man on the ground' perspective, though I hear that the characters in the film are irritating yuppies. :D

Sachin said...

Hmm, I guess I worded that incorrectly. The trailers last night gave a good shot of the thing doing the destruction. I had lingered a small hope that the film was not a variation on a Godzilla like monster. Maybe I was expecting too much but I wanted more than a monster film shot like Blair Witch. So the Thu night trailers gave two angles from which I was able to make out what the thing looked like.

Yeah the man on ground thing was neat in some parts. I have to admit I enjoyed some aspects but maybe my problem was wanting something different, not a similar genre shot differently. Does that makes sense? :)

Actually I thought the characters were not that bad. There are some really funny lines, especially from the guy shooting the footage.

Antimatter said...

Yeah, that makes sense. I am curious though... what kind of 'different' were you expecting? :D

Sachin said...

Actually, I didn't have a specific idea of different in mind. With this kind of story, you can only do a few limited things -- monster, sci-fi (the aliens are coming like Independence Day) or even comic book story. I was hoping Cloverfield would have an interesting blend of these elements. Also, secretly I was hoping that somehow we might get something worthy of an X-File.
I know too much to expect but why not? :)

Did you ever read the The Watchmen, Alan Moore's amazing graphic novel? Not to give anything away if you have not, in that story also we get destruction of New York. But the audience only learns at the end as to 'what' causes the destruction and it is interesting on how things unfold.

Antimatter said...

Maybe the X-Files movie will do the job. :)

Sadly I haven't yet read Watchmen, but I know the story now because I learned that the TV series Heroes basically ripped it off! And yeah, that is a very interesting concept...

Sachin said...

Yeah that bit annoyed me too that Heroes had borrowed from the Watchmen and other comic book stories without acknowleding it. I even read somewhere that creator Tim Kring said he never read comic books. Hmm..

I completely forgot about the X-Files movie until I saw your post about it :)