Ken's Review: Cloverfield - Everything I Have Ever Wanted From a Monster Movie
by Ken Evans
January 18, 2008
Everyone has envisioned a certain kind of film that they have wanted to be perfect. It could be that you don't think that perfect vampire movie has been made yet. Or you haven't been satisfied with the last 10 attempts to make a truly perfect zombie film. Well my friends, if you have ever wanted there to be the perfect monster film then wait no longer. Cloverfield was what I have always wanted out of a monster movie. Everything that I could have hoped for was there, and everything I didn't want to be there was missing. I absolutely LOVED this film!
Cloverfield is about a group of friends trying to survive a monster attack in New York. That's all you need to know about the plot. Trust me when I say that there is so much more to it then that, but the less you know beforehand the more it adds to the overall mystery of the film. Watching the trailers should be enough to hype you up without giving away much of anything. They really did a perfect job of marketing this movie. Usually too much is shown in a trailer, or too much of the plot is given away. What truly makes this film is the mystery within it.
Mystery is key. If you are the kind of person who needs an explanation and closure to everything, then this is not the movie for you. All the things you think you need to know about why things are happening and how the monster got there are never explained. You think you need to know those things, but you are really better off not knowing. This type of film needs to be kept simple so that it doesn't get weighed down. There are only so many ways to explain a monster showing up in downtown New York. All of those explanations sound cheesy and would probably be cliché. J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves skip them because the mystery of it all is what makes it so exciting.
What really surprised me about Cloverfield was the story. Yes, there is a story. It's one that involves people that you actually care about. In fact, the first twenty minutes of the film are spent developing the characters all so that they matter later on. Plus, it's a real story that you can connect with. This is extremely important because you actually become one of them. That's right, sitting in the audience you actually become one of the main characters.
The best character in the film is a guy named Hud Platt (played by T.J. Miller). He is our eyes and ears in the movie as he carries around the camera. Seeing through his eyes is how we experience everything. I suddenly felt sucked into the film and could see myself reacting and even saying the things that Hud said. He says the things that all of us in the audience are thinking. Those times when they are going into the dark corridor are obviously stupid, so Hud speaks up. When one of the characters is having a contemplative moment while people are dying all around him, Hud speaks up. I know I've connected with a character on a much deeper level then Hud, but never have I connected with one so quickly.
As good as the characters and story were, that is not why we went to see Cloverfield. The simple fact is we want to see the monster. Well, if it is monster you want, then you will not be disappointed. There is plenty of monster to see. The amount and ways you see it reminds me a lot of Alien. You don't see the alien for the first half of the film, but in the second half you get a few glimpses and finally a few clear shots of it at the end. As much as I think I would like to see a monster tearing up a city in broad daylight, I know that that would be a horrible idea. Once you get a solid picture of what it is that's so terrifying, it starts to lose its wonder and amazement. Most of the fear that is created is in the inability to fully know or understand what it is that is attacking.
Hopefully you kept yourself from digging too deep and reading how the film develops. If you were able to do so then you will get a kick out of how much really goes on in this movie. What I suggest more then anything is to watch Cloverfield and just enjoy it. Enjoy the unanswered questions and let your imagination fill in the blanks. Become Hud and experience a monster attack through his eyes. Let yourself get caught up in the rush instead of trying to hold it to the rules of reality. This could very well be one of the most enjoyable films of the year. I can't wait to see it a second time this weekend.
Reader Feedback - 14 Comments
i absolutely agree with this review, except i give it a 10/10. this movie was amazing from beginning to end. i have one question, did anything special happen @ the end of the credits? =]
PHATBOY_x on Jan 18, 2008
Saw the movie this afternoon. The reaction in the theater was very mixed. Those with half a brain were transfixed….realizing this was a very cool ride and a quite unique way to shoot a "monster" movie. Then…there were the idiots. The ones saying "oh man…this movie blows" while picking out the underwear from their ass cracks. The ones that expected to see lots of cute professional camera angles…a happy ending and perhaps the president flying his own F18 to save the day. And such are the comments about the films. Quite amusing to say the least.
CobraKai on Jan 18, 2008
at the very end of the credits it gets quiet and you can hear someone whispering just a word or two. sadly i couldnt make out what it was. here is the 'its a lion/alive' debate all over again. anyone hear it?? im dying to know what it was. Alex!!! you gotta know, you have allll the connections
sarah on Jan 18, 2008
As a filmmaker and a self diagnosed movie snob (at least when it comes to typical Hollywood fare) I have to admit I went into this movie with low expectations. Does the world really need another Hollywood monster movie? Yes it does! I can't remember the last time I had so much fun in a movie theater (well, I can but that's another story for another day). I thoroughly enjoyed the movie! It was the best monster movie I've seen since Alien. Great review! I will add this to my Cloverfield Review Roundup today. Thanks!
Knox Films on Jan 22, 2008
cloverfeild made my month…the marks on the statue of liberty are just brilliant..looks like a flesh wound on metal..HUD’s character is the best ..TJ miller is the best stand up comic ive seen in a long time check out his act http://effinfunny.com/tjmiller HILARIOUS
kaoticchick on Jan 25, 2008
Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla...and they both SUCKED...
byzinski on Jan 26, 2008
I am absolutely astounded that people love this movie....this is what happens when movies are tailored and made to appease the Youtube generation. Jittery cameras, horrible angles, bad lighting, stupid dialogue, and special effects from 1982 do not add up to a 9.5 out of 10? So does this mean that Schinder's List, The Godfather, Saving Private Ryan, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are held in the same regard? At least Blair Witch had the excuse that it had no budget. This movie had a budget and still looked terrible. I defy anyone to tell me that they enjoyed rocking their head back and forth, side to side, to be able to see something...anything tangible on screen. That's what rollercoasters with twists and corkscrews were invented for. If I wanted to watch a movie like this, I can just use the home movies from the last party I went to. A zero and half out of 10...the half is for the one shot that resembles a Hollywood movie-the end credits. Pito
Pito on Jan 28, 2008
I saw this movie on a Tuesday (the day after a Monday holiday, because I did not want to sit in a theatre with a bunch of dads explaining the whole movie to their kids!). I was the only person in the theatre! Had the whole place to myself, popcorn and all! Because of that, I loved the movie tenfold! How scary would it be that a monster attacked the city you lived in, and you had no idea what was happening? It was a very creepy movie. The fact that some average joe was actually recording it and kind of laughed at the whole situation sort of sucked. Then someone got smacked by a really big tail!
Jason on Feb 4, 2008
It was great. Anyone who disagrees should be lined up against a wall and shoot by a firing squad. And to the asshole "pito" I didn't have to rock my head back and fourth once. I didn't get motion sickness. This has NOTHING to do with the youtube generation. The very fact that you said that shows your lack of intelligence......well at least as a film critic. Peace(Again great movie)
shane on Feb 6, 2008
Shane: The fact that you misspelled fourth (it's forth by the way) and it's shot (not shoot) proves my point. This horrible movie was made for unintelligent people like you who don't know great movies....a movie about people running around with a camcorder around the city is NOT a great movie. So, as for MY lack of intelligence: learn how to spell and stop promoting this stupid, mindless, terrible movie. Ticketbuyers like you are the ones that will now call JJ Abrahms a "genius" because he showed you the monster in 1 second shots here and there....people pay money to see good movies not movies that tease us with "ooo there's a leg" or "ooo there's a headshot". People like you are the ones that should be lined up in front of a firing squad so that bad movies like this will stop getting made. Pito
Pito on Feb 9, 2008
Pito: Dito!!! This movie sucked! You would have to pay me to watch it for a second time. Joseph
Joseph on Apr 9, 2008
Pito, you are an arrogent ass. You make assumptions about everyone who watches this movie being the same and act as though you are The Movie Guru. You are an uninformed, ignorant twit. You didn't like the movie because you are too blinkin' stupid to understand ANYTHING that is not spoon feed to you. Grow up. Go see a theripist, please. You have major issues.
Kat on May 26, 2008
This movie sucked @$$.
Papichulo on Mar 2, 2009
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