Ok, remember that I like monster movies? You would if you paid attention to my intro thing. It’s worth noting here because, as you may know, Cloverfield is a monster movie. Well, sort of.
It’s more just a movie with a monster IN IT. It’s really about a group of people that get caught up in the attack of New York City by said monster. It’s all filmed from the perspective of those people, on the ground. And in that way, it’s actually a really interesting film because no one has ever really done that before with the exception of (Nerd Alert!) the last film in the 90’s Gamera trilogy (Gamera: Revenge of Isis). There was a really cool scene where they did that. So here we get almost a whole 90 minutes of it.
The movie plays out like it’s a found video of the events. A color bar comes up and some type about Government property and such. Then footage stars of a group of friends that get together for a big going away party for a friend that is moving to Japan (cue nod to Kaiju movies like Godzilla). One of the characters is recording the party with a hand-held digital video camera. Then an explosion, everyone runs outside and all hell breaks loose.
WARNNG: if you have ANY issues with motion sickness, I suggest you pass on this movie. You think the Blair Witch Project was hard to watch? This thing is all over the place. It takes a while to get used to anyway, so if wildly moving hand-held camera work makes you puke, skip it.
The up side of the camera work is that it creates a strong sense of urgency. It adds to the already high intensity of the events. And it was pretty edge-of-your-seat stuff; lots of running and being chased, soldiers firing weapons and mayhem in the city. Lots of what you would expect from a giant monster movie, just from a more personal point of view.
Another good idea was to pick an unknown cast. Using big stars would take you out of this movie. And I think they all did a great job acting, especially being scared of stuff that isn’t really there.
Some of the stuff between the action was not terribly interesting, with some relationship stuff between two of the main characters. He and his friends go back into Manhattan to go back and try to save his trapped ex-girlfriend. Ok, if that’s what it takes to put these twenty-somethings in more peril, fine.
All in all, this is a pretty fun monster movie. Even the monster design is unique. The effects are great, too. My one complaint comes from maybe not seeing the monster enough. I keep trying to remember that this movie isn’t really about the monster. It’s about the people. It’s probably because I’m so used to the Toho Godzilla movies, showing everything in second person, they spell it out for you. That’s just not how this movie is filmed. If you can keep that in mind, it’s rather good fun. So, I recommend Cloverfield as long as you don’t have motion-sickness issues. Have fun!
See ya in line for popcorn, folks. Unless I’m with friends that like to bring a bunch of snacks from outside. It’s WAY cheaper that way, but then you have to find a way to smuggle all that crap in with you because some theaters are all fascist and shit about that.