Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cloverfield (2008) Film Review

When I first saw the trailer for CLOVERFIELD right before TRANSFORMERS last summer, I didn’t know what to make of it. From what I could gather from the rather cryptic untitled preview was it was about a group of young people (about my age) who happened to be more successful than I, having more fun than I, and about to be thrust into a catastrophic situation unlike anything I had ever, or would ever see. One other thing I noticed: The entire trailer was filmed from the point of view of a personal video camera. Not a new idea, but boy, when that huge explosions hits New York, and I saw the big green dome of Miss Liberty crashing down into the streets of NYC, I couldn’t help but think, “Man, whatever this is, it’s gonna be so rad!”

Whelp, the time has come, and CLOVERFIELD has officially been named and unleashed upon the masses. So what do I have to say after having seen it? Man, whatever that was, it was so friggin rad!

Here’s a spoiler free rundown of the plot basics: Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is receiving a going away surprise party by his friends. During the party we meet his best friend Hud (T.J. Miller) the cameraman, Jason (Mike Vogel) Rob’s brother, Lily (Jessica Lucas) Jason’s girlfriend, and Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) the plain Jane girl mush-mouthed Hud has a crush on. The group is enjoying their seemingly innocuous party when a sudden rumble shakes the building. A rush to the roof reveals a mighty explosion in midtown Manhattan. Before we know it, the kids are on the street watching Miss Liberty’s head cascade through downtown New York to a worried and confused throng of citizens, all with cellphone cameras at the ready. It’s at this point in the film that every preconceived notion one might have about this film is flushed down the crapper. The twists and turns this film takes are shocking, frightening, and thrilling in every way. The first person perspective, while awkward at first, really helps suck the audience into the story with the cast, allowing us to feel the same rush of adrenaline and fear they do, when they do. At times I could feel myself wanting to move back and watch the action at a safe distance, but because of the style chosen for the film, that just isn’t possible.

The effects in the film are amazing. I found myself wondering how the hell they managed to pull a lot of this stuff off. Whether it be the exchanges between the creature in the film and the US military, the close-up shots of the creature itself, or even the simplest of camera movement, I cannot even begin to imagine the headache the filmmakers must have had trying to light, mark, and capture audio for some of the scenes.

Caution to those going into this film expecting a story that’s going to answer everything that’s presented. While yes, this is a creature feature, no, there is never an explanation given as to where or how this creature came to be in New York City. This is merely a fly-on-the-wall story, where we get to share a slice of these kids lives on their most horrific day imaginable.

While there isn’t any nakedness going on in the film, CLOVERFIELD definitely offers up enough bullet spitting, monster mashing, and quirky one-liners to qualify as a Guy Movie. Expect to identify heavily with Hud, as he manages to say exactly the wrong thing at all of the right times. If you ever wanted to know how you’d react in a situation like his, just watch and listen and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

CLOVERFIELD is highly recommended viewing for any Guy Movie lover. Just make sure anyone you take doesn’t get queasy easy, otherwise you might want to pack a couple vomit bags just in case.

ABNB! Rating: 5 out of 5 (Absolute Must See!)
For More Info: IMDb / Rotten Tomatoes / Wikipedia / Official Site

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