Jan 2008 20

The hype began with the excellent teaser on Transformers and the film delivers on pretty much every level. An excellent monster/disaster flick, the film is fast, fun, and fairly unpredictable.
We start off with the morning after a romantic encounter between Rob and Beth, being filmed by Rob on his camcorder, as they begin to set out on a day at Coney Island. Jump ahead a month as the tape cuts out and we see Rob’s brother, Jason, playing with the camera as he follows his girlfriend Lily up a set of stairs setting up the going away party for Rob as he leaves for Japan after a promotion.
Jason quickly hands the filming duties over to there buddy Hud who takes testimonials all night in between trying to attempt to hit on Marlena, a friend of Lily’s. We quickly find that Rob and Beth have since been estranged and they get into it a bit in the apartment hallway. As Hud and Jason try to get the story out of Rob, an earthquake and brief blackout rock Manhattan. The party goes to the roof to try and get a look at the possible cause of the disturbance in the harbor when a giant explosion starts the mayhem and it never stops.
I will tell no more, and I have spoiled nothing that wasn’t in the preview and all of this wraps up within the first fifteen minutes of the film. The film is told in pretty much real time with a couple of gaps missing for obvious reasons, we don’t need to watch these people climb 50 flights of stairs, and moves at a lightning pace. The movies style is to tell the story from the perspective of the hand held video camera the entire time, putting us right in there with group while also capturing the energy and craziness of the groups trek through Manhattan.
The movie keeps you constantly entertained as the monster encounters the group at almost every turn. Coming out of nowhere and surprising the hell out of you the monster itself is a sort of enigma throughout, never getting a really good look at it as it weaves in and out of the streets and buildings of Manhattan, but we get more than enough to wet our appetite.
Another thing that really helps the film is that Hud, who is our documentarian of the events, is very funny at times. The comedy works really well and helps lighten things up and lets us remember not to take things so seriously; and also lets us know the filmmakers realize this is a giant monster movie.
And, that is what you need to remember when you see it, its about a monster destroying a city. Sure it’s silly, but it’s fun, and this movie does everything with great quality, but is just trying to have fun. The special effects are top notch and the monster itself is a weird creature and is unlike anything we have seen before.
Cloverfield is nothing more than a monster movie and that is just fine, because it’s not trying to be anything more. It does what it’s trying to do very well, excels at entertaining, and delivers thrills, laughs, and scares throughout the blister 90min’s of film. If you were at all interested, definitely check this out, as it is the first great popcorn movie of the year, and while it doesn’t reinvent the movies, it is quality entertainment for your hard earned dollar.


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