Monday, January 21, 2008

A night out...

My wife and I rarely get to go out alone. So when her sister, offers to babysit our brood, we leap at the chance to have night out where the meal does NOT involve someone saying: "would you like to supersize that?", and the entertainment will not involve animation or nauseating teenage angst stories.

The evening started out lovely enough. We drove down to Worcester and dined at a VERY GOOD Italian restaurant. "Via" is wonderful and we both highly recommend it! Wifey had the "Spit-Roasted Beef Tenderloin Florentine" and I had the "Scaloppine of Veal". We also shared an order of the Wild-Mushroom Risotto , which alone is worth the 25 mile trip from Leominster!

The drinks were good, the company was excellent.

Our conversation then turned to which film we would go to see after dinner. I had the fore thought to print out the evening schedule at the local cineplex. So we went over the list and immediately discarded anything animated or teen-angsty. Long story short, we narrowed the list to "Atonement" and "Cloverfield". We both would have been happy with either. But as it turns out the start time of "Atonement" would not have allowed for us to go to grocery store to stock up on bottled water and snacks [1]! So "Cloverfield" it was.

The requisite trip to purchase 'goodies' accomplished, so off to the cineplex. We purchased our tickets found good seats and settled in. Now when it comes to movies generally I am not hard to please. The reason I why I go to the movies is for one or more of the following:
-to be entertained
-to be amused
-to be enlightened
-to have my consciousness raised

I can say to you now without fear of reprisal[2] that "Cloverfield" accomplished NONE of those criteria! I will now endeavor to elaborate upon this judgment. The cast did a superb job with the material in question and are to be commended. The special effects were excellent. The creation of tension and suspense were masterful. The problem is the movie went NO WHERE! Nothing is affirmed! Nothing is gained! Nothing is learned! (Other than how to bilk $20 out of unsuspecting couples!)

Think of this movie as a theme park roller coaster ride[3]. You get on, strap in and wait for the ride to commence. And does it ever! You approach that first giant hill and you climb, the build up is excruciating, you wonder what that drop is gonna be like! Over the top and down you go! Twists and turns and jerks and periods of weightlessness. Before you know it the ride slows and you are back exactly where you started except now your heart is pounding your stomach is fluttering and the reasonable being inside you in wondering why the hell you put yourself through such a pointless exercise!

That is precisely my point. This movie though well made and acted, such as it is, is nothing more than a thrill ride for people who like such adrenaline inducing thrills. I like a good roller coaster as much as the next person. But, that's not why I go to the movies. Call me a 'chick flick' lover but we should have gone to see "Atonement". I wouldn't feel as violated as I do now.

[1] Sue me, I ain't spending $10 for a bottle of water and some Twizzlers!
[2] By this I mean, I really don't care if you agree or not. ;-)
[3] If you are suseptable to camera-induced motion sickness as I am I highly suggest you avoid this film.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Robert, from the reviews I have read, and the trailer I watched, your critique is spot on.
It's a pure adrenaline rush. I do enjoy a pure adrenaline rush, but only for so long. I suspect I will enjoy the first part of the movie but get bored if it doesn't engage my mind as well as my senses. I won't pay the money to see it in a theater but will watch it at home using my Netflix subscription.

Warning - Old man's rant. :)

They make great movies now just like they made great movies when I was growing up in the 1950's.
A difference is that to enjoy the 1950's SciFi you have to get past the cheesy special effects. I think this forced me to use my imagination more. Some of todays directors, like Steven Speiberg, can do both.

The modern SciFi movies that I have seen, in general, seem to emphasize special effects over character development and plot. They don't seem to engage my imagination as much as the SciFi movies of the past. I can enjoy both but I find myself re-watching the older movies more often.

I also admit I enjoy many of the "chick flicks". I will admit I am perhaps too embarrassed to be seen in line for one at the theater. :) However I do watch many at home with my window blinds drawn. :)