Movie: "Cloverfield"
Year: 2008
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Writing credits: Drew Goddard

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/20/2008

Plot: A giant monster rampages through New York City, and we follow the events of destruction through a camcorder held by one of the characters.

Review: Let me get this out of the way right off the bat: if the idea of an entire movie shot with a shaky camcorder style bothers you, or you can't get past the fact that it's basically nothing more than one long extended gimmick, you will not like this movie at all. If you did not like The Blair Witch Project or are prone to motion sickness, turn back now, and do not waste your time.

If you can, however, get past all that, Cloverfield is a pretty enjoyable big-screen experience. Maybe it's just that I feel they've been done to death, but I'd rather watch this revamped modern kind of monster movie these days than see more of the same old thing. Yes, some of the situations that the characters survived were a bit ridiculous, and there were instances where the cameraman did not possess enough hands to juggle all the things he was supposed to be doing, but it's easy to forgive those sins when you're drooling over eye candy.

The most annoying part of the movie for me wasn't the shaky camera, but rather the all-too-long opening sequence designed to introduce us to the characters and make us care about them. The problem is that it dragged on well beyond the point of reason and failed to achieve its purpose anyway. The only character I remotely cared about at all was Marlena, and that was only because I thought the actress was attractive rather than finding anything compelling about her character.

This weakness is perhaps not as debilitating as it would be with most other movies, because with the first-person perspective, I don't have to care about any of the characters--I'm along for the ride, so I feel somewhat invested in the action regardless. For those of you who want to see massive amounts of chaos and destruction (and why else would you want to see this movie?), I have good news: there's plenty of it, and it's as jaw droppingly impressive as you would expect from a movie about the destruction of the biggest city in the US.

For the longest time, the filmmakers tease us with mere glimpses of the monster, which is frustrating, yes, but it only serves to generate more interest--we're in the dark as much as the characters are. We learn as they learn, and there's a lot left unexplained by the time the movie's over, as it probably should be.

One little gimmick that a lot of the audience may have found annoying but that I really appreciated was that occasionally the tape would cut back to a previous recording of two of the characters. This seems pointless at first, but in the final shot the reason behind it becomes clear, and it's actually kind of a clever way to end the movie.

Cloverfield is not exactly a thinking man's movie and I'm not sure how much replay value it has, but if you're going to see it, for god's sake, see it on the big screen, because that's the only way to see a movie of this magnitude. If you can get past the issues I mentioned in the first paragraph, it's definitely worth seeing.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jan 21st, 2008, 05:38 PM
I wondered about this movie, I have heard so little about it. I think this was done deliberately to protect the concept of the movie, but i also think it is to generate interest. It seems in intriguing concept. I might go see it if I can find the free time to do so.
That damn kid
Jan 21st, 2008, 05:49 PM
I would have given it a 5 but I just reallllly realllly like monster movies so meh. I also thought you had plenty of time to see the monster, but I personally didn't like the design.
I hate this hacker crap!
Jan 21st, 2008, 08:51 PM
I really don't care for this. Partially because of it's marketing ethics, partly because I just don't want to see it.

Especially if it's compared to 28 days later, damn I hated that movie.
I likes PIE!
Jan 21st, 2008, 09:30 PM
Boo. Shaky Cam.
Ordinary Blogger
Jan 21st, 2008, 11:10 PM
You know what is Funny those idiot the bring a camera to the theatre to rip this off . Yeah just what i wanna see a poor qaulity cammera thats shakey thats filming this movie that has a poor qaulity shaky camera video taping a monster attack. Priceless Fun I say LMAO.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:27 AM
I liked the crab things. CRAB THINGS!
Forum Chaos Lord
Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:15 AM
Incog, we know how to deal with giant enemy crabs!
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:28 PM
You failed to mention the amazing surprise at the end of the credits.

Some of the cut scenes to the original content on the tape didn't actually seem to line up, though I thought this was a much nicer way of showing backstory than the opening sequence. In fact, I would rather have seen about three seconds of the opening then monsters with these clips spliced in here and there.
Freelance Product Tester
Jan 22nd, 2008, 02:52 PM
There's probably not going to be a sequel. And that's just the way it should be.
Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:44 PM
I liked the movie but I thought it the ending went too long.


Personally, I think it should of ended after the helicopter crashed instead, then cut to the last shot of the original tape content, thus leaving the character's fates a mystery. The parts after were quiet lame and it ruined the film's pacing.
Forum Virgin
Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:21 PM
I watched this movie and i thought it was pretty good. I also learned something..... I learned that crappy food, a spinning screen, and a lot of bass that shakes you up is a very VERY bad combination.
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 23rd, 2008, 02:36 AM
I like when the male lead get's his gender changed about mid movie.

I thought this was a good time... much better than Godzilla 2000.
They need to do this again but digitally insert "Rosanne" Circa 1995... that would rock balls.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:40 PM
Yeah I been wondering how this was.
Jan 23rd, 2008, 04:16 PM
they should have had the monster be something different in different regions, like how Clue had different endings
Demeted Clown
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:38 PM
I for one particularly enjoyed the movie. By the way, the long begining 'Rob's Going Away Party' was as long as it is to really give the impression that the tape was not originally intended to record the Creature attacking, but supposed to be a gift for Rob. It could have been a bit shorter.... Personally I would have givin it 4 pickles, but I just particularly like how everything has to be figured out. As J.J. Abrams says "There is no guy in a lab coat to come out of nowhere and explain everything. It would be neat if there were different endings for different countries... By the way, There are TWO interesting things about the ending...
Top Pale Force Assassin
Jan 28th, 2008, 12:33 PM
Originally Posted by Jonny#5 View Post
I liked the movie but I thought it the ending went too long.


Personally, I think it should of ended after the helicopter crashed instead, then cut to the last shot of the original tape content, thus leaving the character's fates a mystery. The parts after were quiet lame and it ruined the film's pacing.
Yeah, and some of the stuff that camera was able to endure is just ridiculous.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 29th, 2008, 12:40 AM
Good point. I'm kind of surprised they didn't try to turn it into some kind of advertisement for whatever brand of camera that was...
Jan 30th, 2008, 03:53 PM
I would buy whatever brand of camera that was...
Jan 30th, 2008, 08:19 PM
I thought this movie was great. I loved the "as is" presentation, there's no explanation given for anything that happens, there is no hero, not even any hit charting music soundtrack. The whole thing really does feel "real".

If there's a sequel, I'd really like it to be about the same attack but from the military perspective.

Here's a site that delves into the backstory that the movie glances over. MASSIVE SPOILERS INSIDE!!!