Cloverfield: the monster bites the Apple
(No spoilers I promise)
No doubt, many of us have been anticipating this movie ever since we first saw the very interesting trailer last summer. After months of theories about the movie, the title and the basic plot were given. Having seen the film I can tell you that it lives up to the hype. J.J Abrams along with director Matt Reeves have delivered an original piece of movie making. A lot of early reviews have said it is genre redefining, and I have to admit it does explore new territory. But this film may carry the burden of being a one trick pony. Are we really going to see a lot more monster movies told like this? Blair Witch was made almost ten years ago. Time will tell. Both were equally dizzying, but in the end live up to the hype.
The whole movie is shot with a hand held camera (or so it seems) and it chronicles the real time responses of young New Yorkers as they deal with the chaos brought on by a monster attack. There were a few places where the movie was reminiscent of 9/11. You have smoke in the air, people running in the streets, and buildings are collapsing everywhere. And all you can year is a eerie growling from the middle of Manhattan. But this is more than a survival story. It's about protecting those we love-even if it means encountering one scary monster in the process.
Here is where it again is reminiscent of 9/11. But this time, it's not so much about the army or cops, but about normal people who want to help their friends amidst the chaos. And chaos there is. Even with all of that, these brave people who make a unselfish choice. Love and friendship play strong themes in the movie. I had to ask myself a few times: would I do this for my friends? or would I just take off and take care of myself? A little humor is sprinkled throughout the by way of the camera man and makes for some good comic relief.
For all the thousands of people running around in a very real looking New York, it's the camera that becomes the star of the show. From night vision, to light source, to paparazzi like journalism, it's used in very creative and unique ways. These things are normally hated in media,but they are redeemed in this story. And it works! This story is trying to be as real as possible. The trailer has a scene where the statue of Liberties head is thrown on the street. What do people do? Film it on their camera phones! And it was completely believable. The scene in the tunnel (along with what they find) was amazing for how real it came across. But let us not forget the main feature: the monster. It is very hard to describe. But let's just say that it is SCARY! It's even more scary for how real it all comes across. Think 24 meets Blair Witch and Independence Day. The acting was well done and I hope to see more from these actors.
It's interesting, that in an age of gonzo journalism (Perez Hilton) and paparazzi coverage (TMZ) and even You Tube, this movie seems to use those elements to tell a very excellent, though dizzying, story. My one pet peeve is that that camera seemed to have a lot of energy in the battery, and seemed impervious to destruction! But I'll leave that be. I was made dizzy, and still am a bit, so if you're like me, sit in the very back and have a cold cup of Sprite near by. A tremendous ending, and if you wait till the last scene you'll see an interesting surprise but you have to look carefully. Cloverfield is a must see 8.5/10.