with a military time code and colorbars, which inform us that the
footage we're about to see is from a camera recovered in what was formerly
Central Park. The footage reveals the following scenario: Rob
(Michael Stahl-David) is about to leave for Japan on a new job. His friends
throw him a going-away party. One-by-one, via the camera's eye, we're
introduced to some of the partygoers as Hud
(T.J. Miller) attempts to record goodbye messages from everyone in attendance.
We meet Jason (Mike Vogel), Rob's brother, and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica
who are responsible for the party, as well as Marlena (Lizzy Caplan)
and Beth (Odette Yustman), Rob's best friend and possible lover.
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, and
party is soon interrupted by a large explosion outside which sends the
partygoers running to the roof to get an idea of what's going on. They
arrive just in time to see a cascade of flaming debris from what was
skyscraper in Manhattan. To avoid
the charred remains of the building raining down from the sky, everyone
runs into the
street just in time to see the Statue of Liberty's head bounce
down the road like a giant beach ball. In footage eerily reminescent
of September 11, 2001, we see another skyscraper collapse and a cloud
of debris rolls towards the camera. This time around, it's pretty
apparent that this destruction isn't the work of terrorists. Some thing is
tearing apart New York City.
Blair Witch Project, the movie
is shot in a shaky handheld perspective that may make some viewers
queasy. However, the style fits the premise perfectly; putting the
viewer into the action in a way that conventional camerawork could
not. Director Matt Reeves, screenwriter Drew Goddard and producer J.J.
Abrams have created a giant monster movie for the Internet-savvy generation.
A conventional apprach would have simply lumped Cloverfield into
the same cheesy pile as the American-made Godzilla or
the generic CGI-heavy monster flicks that appear on the Sci-Fi Channel
on any given Saturday night.
one thing that suffers as a result of the digital video approach, however,
is the narrative. We don't learn anything about the characters that are
taping the action. Sure, we learn that Hud is the "funny one" and
Rob is hopelessly in love with Beth but do
we really care? Not really. And we shouldn't have to. One of the biggest
problems with most giant monster movies is that the human side of the
story is lame. Cloverfield smartly side-steps that problem.
I'd have appreciated some idea of the monster's origins but not knowing
within the framework of the film's viewpoint.
seeing the rather laughable special effects in the otherwise-stellar
I Am Legend,
the effects work in Cloverfield is refreshingly amazing. The
integration of the CGI effects into the shaky digital video is nearly
flawless. I can't think of
one effect sequence that looked fake or unconvincing. The special effects
alone are worth the ticket price.
you're into the giant monster genre, or simply would like to see a tour
de force special effects picture, Cloverfield is required viewing. If
you're hungry for an involving storyline and interesting characters,
Cloverfield will not satisfy your appetite.
film has no music score and music for the end credits do not begin until
1 minute and 30 seconds after the credits start rolling. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)