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A movie directed by Matt Reeves

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Cloverfield - 2008

  • Oct 2, 2008
  • by
Pros: no pros in this film

Cons: darkness overrides production

The Bottom Line:
"No one knows what I am
No one knows why I did it
No one knows from where I come
I am Clovie!"

For once I get to bash a monster flick in the same decade as it was released. Never seeing any trailers for this film, and reading only summary comments from viewers, I walked into it basically unaware. A monster on the loose in New York is about as rare as one in Tokyo. It suffers from the ‘been there, done that' syndrome.

My only major gripe about this movie is the fact that, apparently, the ‘people involved' had no pride in their monster. It remained hidden for almost the entire movie, brief glimpses through buildings, etc., and the one cameo appearance they gave it was backlit by so much light that you capture none of the wholesomeness of the monster. If you are gonna serve me up a creature, then have the nads to let me get a good look at him. Billowing gills really didn't do it for me.

We get very limited exposure to the offlings of this creature, those little scuttlers in the subway tunnels. Ya gotta watch quick if you want to see any detail about their appearance. There is a reason I dwell on these two things; it was promoted as a monster flick, therefore, to coin a phrase, "show me the monsters".

The moving camera angle did not bother me, since I was given the impression that this was being filmed [by the characters in a discussion] for prosperity. So I understand the camera stuff. It didn't cause any queasy feelings like others have experienced and, after viewing so many homemade family videos, I didn't find the fact strange that a good deal of shots are of feet running. I get that. What I really want to know, however, is where the hell did they get a camera battery to last a month? Especially one running 24/7 ... just curious.

While I'm at it, this escape from New York idea lasted from April 27-May 23. That's a good bit of time yet it appears, at least in this story, to have happened in all one night, two nights at the most. If it was a month, where did they hole up for that month? What did they eat? Same clothes? Come on, let's get reasonable. On top of that, five inexperienced yuppies had no chance of surviving for that period of time in that battle zone.

For those, like me, that have no idea what this movie premise is about, I will give a brief synopsis. There are a group of young professionals having a going away party in an apartment in NY. The guy that is leaving, for a promotion in Japan, has had a casual affair with some girl then he basically blows her off. His excuse was because he was leaving. Whatever. When she shows at the party, on the arm of another guy, he gets huffy and she stomps out.

The entire thing, and the rest of the movie, is captured via video camera. The idea was sort of a testimonial that the guy can take with him when he flies off to Japan. Naturally when things started going bad; ie, Cloverfield, the gang rushes into the streets of New York to investigate. Hud, the reluctant camera operator, drags the camera along, creating the prosperity idea. Hud, from what I can determine, is considered the gangs numbskull. He is also the only person I felt the least bit of empathy for in the film.

While in the streets, Rob - the guy on his way to Japan - gets a phone call from Beth, the jilted lover, and she says she is trapped in her apartment and can't move. It becomes part and parcel of the story as Rob and his gang fight their way through subway tunnels and armed soldiers to find his true love and rescue her.

Incredulous things I viewed:
~Movement of Rob and gang from building A to building B to rescue Beth
~Beth is impaled on a huge piece of rebar yet they not only extract her but she is able to travel
~The army elects to use guns and bombs on Cloverfield. Did they never watch a Godzilla film? Useless
~Cloverfield is never truly explained. Hinted at, sure, but, as you well know, all good monster flicks give all the data about the wayward monster and from which it arose. If they did give this information, then I'm sorry I missed it.

Cloverfield was directed by Matt Reeves, writer Drew Goddard. It was produced by J.J. Abrams who goes in for the unreal and unrealistic. It was nominated for 7 awards, winning a Saturn for best science fiction. It is rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and terror. Perhaps it was but it was so dark, who knows. Having almost the entire movie shrouded in darkness wears on you after a while. It didn't make it spooky, it didn't make it surreal. It simply made it dark.

Overall impression:
Get out the clothespin, it's a stinker.



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More Cloverfield reviews
review by . May 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     I've gotten tired of the gimmicky "found-footage" style of filmmaking, especially in horror films. I love the horror genre for many reasons, and these films...they have plagued it with the same old approach. However, "Cloverfield", in spite of its premise, offers something new for movie-goers. Think of is as "Godzilla", but if it had been filmed with a piece-of-shit camcorder. Also, the monster here isn't Japanese.    In the end, I think …
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When one thinks of "Cloverfield" (2008) the awesome "hyped-up" trailer comes to mind. The teaser trailer was very well-marketed and does grab our attention. J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible, Lost) definitely knows how to arouse the curiosity and attention of moviegoers. Now, the only problem with hyping up a film so much is that it either works or it doesn't. Hype can definitely work in putting people on theater seats but once word gets out that the film is "anything …
review by . February 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Godzilla on steroids
  When reviewing Cloverfield obvious comparisons to movies like Godzilla are easy to make, but this film is so much more then a simple monster bash. Cloverfield is a wild mix of Godzilla like monster fun, blended with The Blair Witch Project camera style and Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition) like suspense all blended together to make one of the most perfect monster/disaster/horror films of the modern day.       First off lets give some credit to the incredible job the producers …
review by . May 28, 2009
I highly recommend watching Cloverfield this year or any other year ...if you are being held at gunpoint. Otherwise, you are free to skip it as I wish I had. Thankfully, a friend bought me the movie ticket & I even felt sorry for the poor chap afterwards having to invest money on this hunk of steaming crap.       I have heard all the rumours on how Cloverfield is the new Blair Witch Project. Just forget it! Blair Witch Project & Cloverfield …
review by . February 09, 2009
Just like many of you, when I saw the preview for this film I instantly dubbed it "a must see". What can I say? Something about the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down the streets of Manhattan had me hooked. More importantly I couldn't wait to find out what exactly was causing this carnage. So it was with great expectations I strapped myself in for what was sure to be an incredible ride.      Now I could go on and on here about who the cast is but you would have no idea …
review by . April 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Special effects, pacing      Cons: Nothing original, terrible narrator, very shaky camera--not for the motion sick.      The Bottom Line: If you've watched half a dozen scary or alien movies, then Cloverfield stole part of it; still there's enough to entertain.  Warning if you are prone to motionsickness, skip it.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Cloverfield is the …
review by . August 02, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
To give the utmost atmosphere of authenticity, `Cloverfield' films all its monster movie proceedings as though an amateur were using an average video camera. All the starts and stops of footage are effective enough, and the glimpses of the modern equivalent of New York City's Godzilla keep tangible, but not always present.     Just like all disaster pictures, the prologue introduces us to all of the characters. We need to know and care about them. Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) …
review by . July 05, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
The idea behind the film is clever, even if it is a bit obvious -- to the point where it's surprising nobody has done anything quite like it, or at least nothing on a similar scale. Somebody thought, let's make a monster mayhem flick but instead of a blockbuster make it an indie, shot amateur style: Godzilla meets the Blair Witch. That allows them to economize on the special effects, using sparing effects that would work on tv but not on the big screen -- but when shot on a consumer video camera …
review by . November 03, 2008
You know a movie is bad when it is set in New York but named after a road in Santa Monica, CA..... This gives you an idea how unimaginative and mindless the movie is.    I didn't mind the cinimatography. However there wasn't really a plot to peak of, the characters were pretty lame, and the monster was pretty one-dimensional. In general, I say don't bother with this movie.
review by . September 08, 2008
Now that all the hype has die down I was able to give this film an objective look. I have to admit I was impressed. This movie throws out the music, set-ups, and cheap scares out the window - in a good way. Nothing in this movie tells you you're watching a movie of course. You're completely disorientated from start to finish, completely uncomfortable and on edge. And that is a hell of an achievement in today's de-sensitized movie environment. While I didn't jump once, I did find myself clutching …
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About this movie


One of the first things a viewer notices aboutCloverfieldis that it doesn't play by ordinary storytelling rules, making this intriguing horror film as much a novelty as an event. Told from the vertiginous point-of-view of a camcorder-wielding group of friends,Cloverfieldbegins like a primetime television soap opera about young Manhattanites coping with changes in their personal lives. Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving New York to take an executive job at a company in Japan. At his goodbye party in a crowded loft, Rob’s brother Jason (Mike Vogel) hands a camcorder to best friend Hud (T.J. Miller), who proceeds to tape the proceedings over old footage of Rob’s ex-girlfriend, Beth (Odette Yustman)--images shot during happy times in that now-defunct relationship. Naturally, Beth shows up at the party with a new beau, bumming Rob out completely. Just before one's eyes glaze over from all this heartbreaking stuff (captured by Hud, who's something of a doofus, in laughably shaky camerawork), the unexpected happens: New York is suddenly under attack from a Godzilla-like monster stomping through midtown and destroying everything and everybody in sight. Rob and company hit the streets, but rather than run with other evacuees, they head toward the center of the storm so that Rob can rescue an injured Beth. There are casualties along the way, but the journey into fear is fascinating and immediate if emotionally remote--a consequence of seeing these proceedings...
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Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: January 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 25min
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