Cloverfield (2008)

Following in the footsteps of King Kong & Godzilla comes another tale of a gigantic monster running amok over a group of people.  Directed by Matt Reeves, Cloverfield is a sci-fi movie which stars Michael Stahl-David as Robert “Rob” Hawkins.  This film takes place in New York, after the footage was allegedly, “found in the area formerly known as Central Park”.

Cloverfield is a mix between Godzilla & The Blair Witch Project.  Playing back the footage from what appears to be from a hand-held video camera; Robert “Rob” Hawkins’ friends decide to throw him a going away party as he is preparing to leave in order to take a job offer in Japan.  Throughout the night, strange things start happening.  At first, the power briefly goes out from what appears to be an earthquake.  They decide to head out to the roof where they see a huge explosion going on in Lower Manhattan.  Obviously freaked out, they head downstairs & exit the building into the street where they see a large explosion which sends debris towards their way.  Among the debris is the head of the Statue of Liberty.  One of Rob’s friends, Hudson “Hud” Platt (played by T.J. Miller), points the camera towards the direction of the explosion which shows what appears to be a gigantic monster.  Much to their chagrin, they decide to leave Manhattan in order to try to find a safe haven somewhere.  After fleeing one of the tower’s, Rob, his best friend, Elizabeth “Beth” McIntyre (played by Odette Yustman), & Hud are taken away in a helicopter.  The helicopter starts dropping bombs on the monster.  Just as Rob starts celebrating, the monster takes a huge swipe at the plane, sending it crashing down.  Hud goes to grab the camera.  He pans up & we see the monster clearly for a second, right before it devours him.

One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was somewhat creative the direction they chose to go in this film.  Instead of filming it like a normal movie, they made it appear as if it was shot on a homemade movie camera.  I liked this was of shooting because it adds suspense to the film.  The difference between this film & other monster movies like King Kong & Godzilla is that you don’t get the reaction of the camera man; it is just shot straight through.  In this case, when you see what is being shot through the camera man’s point-of-view & you can get a sense of not only what he’s feeling, but also what it would be like if you were physically there.

The other aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was very original was the way the set was designed.  For example, on their way to rescue Beth, they discover that one of the towers has collapsed onto the other.  As a result, instead of walking horizontally, they have to walk diagonally.  I thought that was great as it showed the destruction & the devastation of what the monster had done.

If you liked King Kong &/or Godzilla, you should like this movie.  I thought it was very good, considering the fact that it featured no known established movie stars.  I think they took a gamble & it paid off.  This takes the monster movie to the next level.  A very good sci-fi movie from beginning to end, a thriller of a movie, kept me on the edge of my seat.    

2 thoughts on “Cloverfield (2008)”

  1. Work on your grammar, and what is with all the ampersands?

    I haven’t seen this movie but your review doesn’t really add anything I could gather from watching the trailer. You don’t need to inform the reader of every little detail of the plot, just the big picture. If I am interested and I want to know what exactly happens I will go watch the movie myself.

    Anyway, just thought I’d give some constructive criticism. I appreciate your explanations of specific reasons why you liked the movie, keep it up.

  2. I believe that this movie was well constructed and kept the mystery pumping until the end, though the actual ending sucked. I disagree with your last paragraph about how there are no-names in this movie. Michael Stahl-David was in this movie, and I have seen him before, just like I have seen T.J. Hill (Hud) doing stand up. I believe that you had good intentions, but words are everything in a review. Be enigmatic! Make everyone want more.

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