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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie Review - Cloverfield

Movie Title
Action, Sci-Fi

Cloverfield starts with a video recording playback of Rob (Michael Stahl-David) videotaping Beth (Odette Yustman) & himself starting the day before heading off to Coney Island. The tape cuts to Rob's brother, Jason (Mike Vogel), who is using the same camera to document Rob's surprise going-away party at Rob’s apartment organized by Jason’s girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas). Jason then gets Rob's best friend, Hud (T.J. Miller) to videotape the party in his stead, but Hud is preoccupied with trying to hit on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan). During the party, Beth arrives at the party with someone else, breaking Rob’s heart. They get into a fight and Beth promptly leaves the party. Then, a shock jolts what felt like the entire city of Manhattan. The party rushes to the roof to see an explosion in the distance and everyone was fleeing for their lives to the streets.
Hud continues to film and captures the image of a monstrous shadow belonging to the giant (see image for size) monster that caused all the mayhem & destruction. The monster knocks over buildings, while everyone in the city decides to evacuate Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge. However, before they do the Bridge is destroyed by the monster, thereby cutting off their means of escape.

Meanwhile the military responds with the city being locked-down under martial law. With no way forward, they scurry back toward Manhattan until the military can resolve the problem. Our protagonists seek refuge in the subway tunnels when Rob gets a phone message from Beth, who is still trapped in her apartment across the city. As they make their way to save Beth, news footages from show the monster shedding smaller creatures from its back that attack humans. They finally managed to come across a military base in a now-abandoned shopping mall. The military warns them that the last helicopters leave Manhattan within the hour. However they managed to save Beth but as they make their way of the island on a helicopter, they are brought down by the monster.

I totally got sucked into the chaotic and terrifying world of the party-goers as the scenario doesn’t really lend itself to really serious acting chops from its cast but they do a competent enough job that it doesn’t distract viewers. So overall, kudos to the cast.

In the same vein as the pseudocumentary as Blair Witch Project and District 9, the movie is seen from the perspective of a protagonist’s view-cam but in the flavor of the classic horror & sci-fi cross-genre flick like War of the Worlds mixed with the Japanese monster movies a la Godzilla. It flows pretty much in a near-linear fashion like the excellent TV series 24.and tells the story of events from a single night. Cloverfield never really feels like a movie but is a really brilliant piece of storytelling work. Producer JJ Abrams said he wanted to do “something insane and intense” and in my mind, he has achieved it in spades.

I did not see it but at the very end of the credits, there is a short static transmission that apparently says "It's still alive." when played backwards. Go ahead and watch it again and see if you see it!
Rating: 7.5/10
Order your copy here at 40% OFF:
Cloverfield [Blu-ray]

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