Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Subjective slants, and other things

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After posting the Cloverfield review, I looked around to see what others were saying, and I have since spoken to other friends who’ve seen the film, and I learned something interesting.

Not everyone agrees with my assessment of the film.

And that’s OK – I’m not so pretentious to believe my opinion is always the right one.  Opinions differ.  Christianity Today gave it 3 ½ starsLibertas only gave it one. I’d’ve probably given it two – on one or two levels, the film does succeed.  I shy away from rating films that way because it can be so subjective. 

The way I see it, a review is just my take, and in the case of Cloverfield, there was not a lot of time between watching the film and writing about it.  Sometimes art takes time to penetrate.  My opinion could change.  As of this writing, it still stands. 

One conversation at work this morning resembled an old Siskel and Ebert exchange.  My friend looked at the film as something in the vein of the old Gojira films – a simple concept running on simple execution. There’s a lot of merit to that perspective; the filmmakers themselves have said that was what they were shooting for. 

One of the challenges I have whenever I write a review is stepping outside of my own perspective and letting the work speak for itself.  Cloverfield tells a simple story set against a violent and gargantuan upheaval.  That the simpler aspects annoy me says more about me than the actual film, and perhaps I need to do a better job delineating the two when I write one of these. 

Reviews ought to dialog.  Disagreements will abound, and their validity or merit will depend on any number of factors.  Writing about art requires the writer to bring part of him(or her)self into the work.  So I’ve read, anyway.  My annoyance, then, does carry some weight.  The artists involved may have achieved the goal they set out to reach; it does not mean that I have to like it.  I do believe, however, that it warrants an acknowledgement at the very least. 

I still feel very green when it comes to writing reviews.  I look at some of the ones I wrote two, or even one, years ago, and I can see where I’ve grown.  I read Overstreet, Chattaway and Ebert, and I see I still have a long way to go. 


Written by taj

April 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm

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