The Corner

On Cloverfield (Minor Spoiler Alert)

Jonah: I managed to sneak away from the family and see a late-night showing of Cloverfield, too. First of all, the essential movie-consumer tip: It’s a decent monster-disaster movie. I think I heard someone compare it to a cross between Godzilla and Blair Witch, and that’s about right.

A few other thoughts: The protagonists may be annoying — their dialogue is both naturalistic and vacuous — but at the center of the story is an act of heroism. For all of their shortcomings, these characters are not morally empty. Also, the portrayal of the military was very positive–the soldiers are both brave and competent, which is a welcome relief from much of what Hollywood has been saying of late. Finally, I can’t see how the filmmakers weren’t trying to evoke memories of 9/11, from the rooftop explosion-gazing scene to the billowing clouds that fill up urban canyons to a faint background image of the Chrysler Building collapsing just like the WTC (at least I think it was the Chrysler Building).

I suspect that many people will strongly dislike the movie for its jittery camera work and lack of a bow-tied happy ending. At the end of my showing, someone in the front row stood up and yelled “I want my money back!” But I found Cloverfield to be entertaining, creative–and worth pondering.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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