Movie Review – Cloverfield

ra_cloverfield_teaser2.jpgCLOVERFIELD — 80stars.gif (8 stars)

Five young New Yorkers throw their friend a going-away party the night that a monster the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city. Told from the point of view of their video camera, the film is a document of their attempt to survive the most surreal, horrifying event of their lives.

 

Although there are plenty of horrific moments within Cloverfield, it’s not a horror movie. It is however, a damn good monster movie. In case you haven’t heard (or read), the entire movie is told through the hand-held video camera originally intended to document the going away party for the friend leaving for a new vice-presidency job in Japan. What is actually documented is the events that unfold when a giant monster rises from the ocean and decides to make Manhattan — the entire island — its bitch.

Now, the reason that I pointed out the fact about the story unfolding through the device of the video camera is apparently a number of the people in the theater in which I saw the movie were unaware of this fact and they found it distracting. It is a very chaotic series of events with a lot of shaky, poorly lit, and blurred camera work — which I think works quite well. Not unlike the Blair Witch Project (from nine years back) this “man in the street” approach seems to click in this era of cell phones with video capabilities and camcorders smaller than the originally released VHS format tapes.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the success of Cloverfield will spawn a rash of similarly-styled “eyewitness account” approach to film-making — mostly on the amateur level. This technique of storytelling is by no means groundbreaking, but Cloverfield goes above and beyond what has been done before. In a way, it’s kind of like watching a really mesmerizing episode of Cops, except instead of a drunk, wife-beater wearing, spousal abuser with outstanding warrants, Cloverfield offers up a 50-story tall pissed off amphibious Cthulhu-like creature that does not understand the meaning of “resisting arrest.”

Another aspect of the film that I found refreshing was that we weren’t subjected to a lot of “where did this creature come from and why is it doing the destruction that it is doing?” The monster just shows up and starts kicking ass.

There’s probably plenty of little nuances and background going-ons that I missed with my initial viewing — which is one reason to catch this flick on the big screen as opposed to waiting for DVD — that I’m sure “Cloverphiles” (a term that I’m claiming right now, by the way*) will be chewing over and over, rewinding and slo-mowing, for some time to come.

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Drew Goddard
Produced by: Sherryl Clark, Guy Riedel, J.J. Abrams
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.

Official SiteIMDB SiteWikipedia Site

*NOTE: cloverphiles.com is for sale.

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