Cloverfield Not Monstrous

Critics reach no consensus on 21st-century Blair Witch
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2008 12:23 PM CST

(Newser) Cloverfield “is going to divide audiences,” predicts ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, and if the critics are any indication, he’s right. The film’s Godzilla/Blair Witch high concept is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. For Berardinelli, the shaky handheld view provides immediacy and intensity. Time’s Richard Corliss is less entertained. “We know only what they know,” he writes. “I.e., not much.”

Corliss also deducts points for the characters’ stupidity, which, he muses, “is a crucial aspect of a genre that trades in moral threat.” The protagonists get no love from Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who found himself begging “for the monster to show up and stomp these annoying nonentities.” For Travers, Cloverfield is a trite, poorly acted missed opportunity: "Hot damn, what it might have been.”