Form feet and legs. Form arms and body.

And I’ll form the head.

Review: Cloverfield

Posted by rapaleeman on April 25, 2008

As promised.  Here it be.

Ok so everyone saw the trailer when it was 1-18-08 and attached to Transformers last year.  Everyone shocked and awed at the same time with speculation of what movie it was.  Everything from the Transformers sequel to Voltron was named but they were all wrong.  It was a small budget, big monster movie produced by JJ Abrams (Lost, MI:3). 

So 1-18-08 came and went.  I saw the movie in theaters and was both amazed and strangely disappointed at the same time.  It was a movie, shot handheld style (think Blair Witch but not as lame) about a giant monster destroying New York.  It had twists and turns (literally) in the viewing of the movie and the funny reports about people getting sick in the theaters gave me a little tickle.  In all I liked the movie, but didn’t really understand it besides the obvious monster attacking New York thing.

Well, it is several months later and the DVD is finally out (oh buy it at Target to get a cool little CD full of Indie songs that are actually good).  I bought it, watched it and also followed up on some of the viral marketing (the character’s mySpace and a few others) and finally have come to turns with the genious that is behind this idea and the overall execution of this property.

The movie is the same movie it was in the theater.  It satrts out as Rob, the main character that you can see, is leaving to take a new job in Japan.  They throw a big party for him and essentially we pick up in the middle of these individuals lives.  The catch is the movie is captured and being played back for us, the audience.  The movie that we are seeing is actually recorded over another “movie” of Rob and Beth, his former girlfriend, as the spend a day together.  This is key because at points when Hud, the cameraman shows footage to other people, stops recording, or drops the camera we can see what was on the tape in portions or little skips just like a real camera operates.

This concept works great and feels less like a gimmick and more like a fulll thought out delivery medium.  It also helps to break up the action or pass some time for our “heroes” to move to another place in the city.  It works and needs to be commended since I would hate to have to be the director and editor on this beast.

Anyway, as the party is flowing on, the monster attacks obviously and all hell breaks loose.  They core group try to get out of the city, but then realize that Beth is trapped in her apartment and needs help.  So Rob decides to trek back into the city to get her.  They do and obviously have a few run in with authorites and the beast.  An awesome “fuck yeah” situation happens when troops show up and start launching technology at the beast from the middle of the street.  It is pretty awesome.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie for you, but there is some pretty cool stuff to be seen and dialogue is pretty funny at times to break up the “holy shit” theme of seeing a giant forty story creature.  It is a fantastic movie.  The acting is a tad week at times, but overall Hud and Rob (who carry the film since the chicks can’t really act) do a good job.  The script or lack thereof since I hear a ton of it was improv is well executed with only a few “issues” that you will notice when you see the movie.  If not just ask me and I will explain further.

The special effects are good to the point of excellent and that is because you don’t notice them.  There are a ton of transitions and CG elements that (other than the monsters) are not that obvious and help towards building the realistic feeling of the movie.  The sound is overall good since it is essentially from a single mic on top of the camcorder.  It’s not, but it is supposed to be and it sounds like it, just in 5.1 surrond sound.

The main complaint is the jerky camera and angles.  Yes, it is supposed to be like that, but sometimes you can’t tell what is going on.  It is supposed to make you fell like “one of the gang” but it is kinda distracting.  Especially at the party which goes on for way too long.  Other than that a great movie.

The extras are pretty good.  They help to explain a little more.  The real focus should be for people to go online and spend 20 minutes on the various viral sites.  They will essentially help you get an idea about where the monster comes from (the ocean) and how old it is (a baby).  Other things like why people are at the party and other cool things.  Worth the extra effort to expand on this flick.  Not required, but definately interesting.

Overall this is a great must-see movie.  Period.  Buy it.  You will want/need to see it again to get everything it has to offer.  Not to mention the viral stuff.  This is by very definition more than a movie.  Definately pick this up.  Also remember Target gives you a sweet CD.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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