Cloverfield Review

Cloverfield-ReviewThanks for checking out our Cloverfield Review. Make sure to check out the video version of the review at the bottom of the post.

Well, the wait is finally over. After all the hype and all the rabid fan adulation, the movie Cloverfield has finally been screened. Tonight, myself and a load of other folks went to the Paramount Lot here in Hollywood to watch Cloverfield. Walking across the courtyard we passed by that big headless statue of liberty on the way in… it looked very cool! As for me, I haven’t been a fan (nor am I now) of the marketing job done for this film… but that doesn’t have anything to do with the movie itself. The story is a simple but effective one. In the midst of a going away party, a giant monster attacks New York. One man decides he can not leave the city until he can travel through it to save a woman he loves who is trapped at her appartment. So what did I think of the movie?

THE GOOD

This film is quite creative in the way is tells its story. As most of you know, the story is completely shot from the perspective of hand held personal video cameras documenting (at first) the main character’s last night in New York before leaving for his new job in Tokyo Japan. As the monster attack on the city begins, the documenter decides to keep the camera rolling to get a visual record of the attack and their attempt to escape the carnage. Yes, the Blair Witch Project did the same basic style… but that was a long time ago, and Cloverfield did a superior job and turning “found video camera footage” into a coherent and compelling story that goes beyond the basic “monster smash city” scenario.

The performances of all the actors involved were solid. Especially T.J. Miller who plays “Hud”, the best friend of the lead character and the guy who holds the camera documenting all the events. He wasn’t only the solid comic relief of the film, he also made you believe his fear and terror at all the madness going on around him. Aside from the main love interest of the film (who was lame), the cast all did a great job of making that “home video footage” seem and feel REAL. And it’s that realness that draws you in and allows you to feel the tension and terror the characters must have been feeling.

If heard this said before, but it bears repeating. Unlike other disaster movies (where the story is told from the perspective of the Heroes who are fighting the monsters and have all the answers and explain those answers to the audience), this movie is told from the perspective of the people in the streets. The people who don’t know what on earth is going on. The people who are suddenly faced with something out of this world that they don’t comprehend or understand. As such, the movie offers no answers. It doesn’t attempt or feel the need to explain everything… and although you can tell the filmmakers felt TEMPED at times to explain more to the audience, they didn’t, and that’s a GREAT thing, because it kept you in the shoes of the characters.

The film is legitimately scary. Usually in these types of monster movies, it’s all about the fun… even in the “scary” parts. But this film honestly made you feel the terror of average people suddenly faced with a 30 story monster destroying their city. Take my word for it, there are a few real white knuckle moments in the film.

The visual effects are pretty good. No, not ground breaking, but they certainly did the job, and did the job well. Not once did the over use of effects pull you out of the realism of the situation, and that was the biggest triumph of the effects. Not that they were ground breaking, but rather that they didn’t get in the way… and in a film like Cloverfield, that could have happened very easily.

THE BAD

Some of the way the “home video” is cut together with old video on the same tape of the lead character and the love interest was far beyond the cheesiest of cheese. If the main strength of Cloverfield is its ability to feel frighteningly real, then one of its main weaknesses was the forced and over sentimentalized editing jarring in contrived emotional ques with the mixture of the editing. It was so bad a couple of people giggles around me… so did I.

There is one HORRIBLE shot near the end of the film… I don’t want to give anything away… all I’ll say is that in the shot, you get a very good look at the monster… and something beyond silly happens that just made you roll your eyes.

Honestly, the monster itself was nothing special. It was a big monster. There. But in and of itself that’s not too bad a thing, because the monster itself wasn’t the point… the point was New York getting attacked and causing the havok and fear these people felt. This monster was just a catalyst for that. But I heard more than a few people walking out complaining about not seeing more of the monster, or more of the carnage he wrought in the movie. I can see where they’re coming from.

OVER ALL

Cloverfield is a fun and at the same time Frightening monster movie that goes beyond a simple monster movie. It’s exciting in parts, scary in others and does a wonderful job immersing you into the reality of the story in a way that actually makes you believe these horrible events are actually happening. A few cheesy scenes and elements take a little of the glitter off this film, but not a lot. In general, a really good solid movie. Over all I give Cloverfield an 8/10

You can watch the video review here:

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