There certainly was a lot of hype surrounding this film, and J.J. Abrams has a lot riding on it since it is the first foray into the big-screen world for his Bad Robot production company. If this movie doesn’t do well, it could be bad news for his much-anticipated Star Trek movie due out this Christmas.
Overall, I would have to say that I cannot shake my feelings of disappointment over this movie. My expectations were not high going into it. I’m a fan of Lost — one of Abrams’s TV productions — so I know he’s capable of intriguing stories and great special effects. But I also knew that it was all filmed in “documentary style” with handheld camcorders, so I was anticipating needing a sick bag by the end of it, a la Blair Witch.
I’m happy to report that the jerky camera work was tolerable, however, the pacing of the movie is a bit awkward. The obligatory character development at the beginning is tedious, and once the action begins it stops and starts instead of steadily building to a final payoff.
There are many worthwhile scenes captured in this movie. Scary glimpses of the monster, eery views of a deserted metropolis, but they do not flow easily into one another, and the film lacks a certain cohesiveness as a result, almost as if it was designed with commercial breaks in mind.
Although the approach for recording the events is somewhat unique, the idea behind the story is not new, and the end is not terribly gratifying, so I would have to say that J.J.’s first film is simply average. Hopefully he can do better in the future, or he’s going to have to stick to television.