Cloverfield is, quite simply, just about fucking perfect in every respect that a giant monster movie could be.
Dude! What movie were you watching? Cuz it sure couldn’t have been the one I saw… What a piece of crap. JJ lost a bitch tonight.
Wait…you sure you saw Cloverfield?
Because I saw Cloverfield this evening and was EXTREMELY disappointed and left the theatre nauseated as well, primarily from the camera work. I’d give it a 6/10, at best.
You are talking about Cloverfield, right? Just so I’m not confusing anything…
So I haven’t seen the movie yet, but based on the trailers I’ve come away with some impressions that will keep me from shelling out any money on it.
1) the camera work reminds me of “Blair Witch”, and that was vomit inducing.
2) the story looks like-people trapped in New York try to survive unseen horror. God i hate movies where its all about the human drama when you’ve got a giant, homicidal evil on the loose.
3) I didn’t recognize ANY of the actors from the trailers. (which is not to say i never see a movie unless I DO recognize an actor, but add the first two points to the mix and I get apprehensive)
Just wondering how right I am on those points. They are what will keep me from seeing it, not bad script or bad acting, cause frankly I can live with that in a giant, homicidal evil on the loose movie.
It was pretty good . . . it really dragged at most of the parts without the monster, tho.
And poor me, throwing up in the bathroom during what my friends said was the coolest part D:
Is there really a monster, or is it [insert discarded theory about Lost that can be shoehorned to apply]?
Obviously this is quite the polarizing flick. I’ve not seen much ambivalence about it, generally vitriol or effervescence. Is it the difference in which story was most engaging? If you’re more interested in the human arc, JJ’s movie should be just fine — but if you’re more captivated by the monster and all the questions it raises, somehow I think this movie will be…infuriating.
I’m going to wait for the DVD release, as I imagine it will be substantially more…informative.
A dude on the Hollywood Elsewhere board summed up Cloverfield far better (and succinctly) than I ever could:
“It’s Godzilla versus the cast of Dawson’s Creek shot by Paul Greengrass’s less talented brother.”
1.) Paul Greengrass uses shaky-cam to heighten tension of action sequences. Mark Reeves used shaky-cam because the entire film is shot from the perspective of a guy holding a video camera. They really aren’t comparable.
2.) The cast of unknowns was obviously a deliberate choice. I really think it would have taken me out of the narrative, designed to be an immersive sort of experience, if it had been – I dunno – Mark Wahlberg and Angelina Jolie running for their lives through New York.
There were some people on the way out of the theatre complaining that they didn’t get to see a lot of monster-fighting-helicopter action, which I think entirely misses the point of the movie. It’s not supposed to be about monster fighting helicopters. It’s a very Astro City esthetic to telling the story.
I’m completely serious when I say that I want to go to the movie with someone who’s never been exposed to *any* advertising about this movie, including posters (if I have to blindfold them, I will), and see if I can get them to watch it. I just want someone to have that reaction, twenty minutes in of “blah blah blah yuppie yuppie banal banal blah blah BOOM CRASH OM NOM NOM NOM BOOM zzt” or some such. (Yes, I was a foley artist in a previous life.)
The polarity of the reactions, I confess, is intriguing me much more than the typical JJ Abrams marketing shell games.
Sig, I did precisely that – two of the five people I went with knew absolutely nothing about the movie (one even asked “look, why is it called “Cloverfield?” Is this a flowers movie?”). One loved it, one was so-so (mostly because she found the camera distracting).
I am so happy. I thought it would suck so much ass, but if some people like it…
I mean I adored Blair Witch. The funny thing about the handycam is that I can’t play first person shooter for too long since they made me nauseous, and yet I have no problem with movies like Blair Witch.
Can’t wait until it gets to sweden.
@ Andrew – No, there really is a monster in it. A freaking huge monster in it.
@ Netsuki – Sorry you threw up. I almost did, but the nausea passed when I would look away from the screen for a bit.
I have to give the movie an “A” for effort, but I was hoping it’d be so much…more…
I enjoyed it. Too shaky to watch from the first few rows, but I rather enjoyed the fact that the actors didn’t get in the way of the movie. I’m left wanting to know more, and willing to pay for the privilege, so that’s cool.
I liked that it wasn’t too cartoony, like a Godzilla movie can be. The way I thought about it was that it was a zombie movie with a giant monster instead of zombies.
@ MDK – Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a sequel. I’d go see it in the hopes that more info was revealed about the whole “incident”.
It’s fine, it was probably my own fault for sitting semi-near the front.
The weird thing is I can totally play first person shooters for hours.
Hot damn! I was going with a friend tonight but he backed out for other committments, so I was debating just counting the tickets as a donation to the locally-run art-theater/more chain, but now I am excited to see it.
p.s. this is why I can’t stand mainstream critics and am finding Rotten Tomates less and less reliable (though it’s a good site overall).
Beth Accomando: “After seeing Cloverfield, I was so frustrated and disappointed that I felt like I needed a palate cleanser. I wanted to immediately go home and watch South Korea’s The Host.”
The Host was a big disappointment to me. I didn’t just rent it, I bought it (well, it was on sale) because everything I heard was good. But it wasn’t very good. So when a critic disparages a movie by comparing unfavourably to a buzz movie that fell flat for me…well, it doesn’t make me want to read his/her reviews.
Please do one of your longer reviews on this when you get a chance, the whole ice cream flavor bit and things. I find those helpful, even when I end up not digging the picture too much.
I think the movie was pretty good. The only bad parts were whenever the character holding the camera spoke. Luckily he didn’t do that too often.
Why the hell is it called “Cloverfield” anyway? What does the name mean?
From what I’ve heard Cloverfield is the government code name for the monster…
“From what I’ve heard Cloverfield is the government code name for the monster…”
True. The government documenting code that introduces the footage labels it as “Case Designate ‘Cloverfield'”.
I liked it a lot save two things. (Spoilers, bot of course)
1) The footage was clearly edited by the military as monster recordings. So why would they include 15 minutes of character development and exposition?
2) The ‘big reveal’ was lame. That full-body shot of it from above when it was getting bombed was fine. The close-up of it looking at Hud took all the fun out of it.
I thought it was good. Not great. Rob and Beth were ultimately too bland (as was their relationship), with all the characters around them being more interesting. I thought the end was dragged out too much- it’s clear after a certain point what’s going to happen to everybody, and I disengaged because of that.
The monster was also- well, not bad, but it’s what you expect a modern movie monster to look like. Gray, toothy, with spindly limbs and a weird walk. Sort of a generic template.
It works very well for what it is, but it’s no Gojira.
Evan’s assessment is pretty much mine. I liked it a lot, think it’s one of the best giant monster movies ever made, but it’s got a few flaws.
But it’s actually good and entertaining, as opposed to, say the last two STAR WARS movies I saw…
[…] Review two: just about fucking perfect in every respect that a giant monster movie could be. […]
What I’m still trying to figure out is WTF happened to Marlena? I think I blinked or something, so did her eyeballs explode out of her head, or what?
Overall, the movie was good, not great, with bonus points for showing us life on the ground in a Godzilla attack. I give it 3/5. My beef with the when Hud being eaten for lunch is that the monster didn’t seem big enough, like the scaling was off.
Oh, and I totally missed the splash at the end. :-/
Damn, just occurred to me that I should have put in a spoiler space. By all means delete me MGK.
“What I’m still trying to figure out is WTF happened to Marlena? I think I blinked or something, so did her eyeballs explode out of her head, or what?”
Her stomach swelled and exploded. It was a blink and you miss it thing. Literally, apparently. Two of the seven in my party also didn’t see.
I just saw it last night with my fiancee. She absolutely hated it, because she was so bored through the whole thing. Almost fell asleep. I liked the movie overall, but I do agree with her on one point. Because of the handy-cam way it was shot and the lack of musical score, etc., it’s impossible to forget that you’re watching someone ELSE in that situation, which makes it hard for you to “lose yourself” in the movie. You just can’t forget that you’re watching a bunch of douchebags with a camera. Oh, and Rob and Beth’s relationship was far, far too lame to be the driving force for the whole movie. There wouldn’t be a story if he wasn’t going back to save her, but it was so implausible that it just didn’t work for me.
That said, I did like it though. The camera worked for me like 98% of the time, unlike Blair Witch, and it was definitely entertaining. They showed enough of the monster and it’s creepy crawly cast-offs throughout the movie that it stayed exciting and cool. It was funny in places, and there was all kinds of explosions and gore. I would rate it a B.
I haven’t seen Cloverfield, yet. I want to, it sounds interesting, but the one theater in my area isn’t carrying it (side note: I loathe small town New Hampshire). But I do have to say, I would be much more intrigued by the film if it was about a bunch of yuppie college graduates running around New York with a handicam during a giant monster brawl. I’ll believe that from a technical stand-point, it breaks ground that the old kaiju serials just weren’t able to, but “giant monster” seems to translate into “disaster flick” in Hollywood, instead of the “divine shitstorm” feel you get from some of the better Godzilla movies. Maybe I’ll finally get to see it and be completely humiliated in how wrong I am.
@Salmo: Thanks. Much appreciated.
we got an instant review in the cinema: when the credits popped up, one member of the huge group of 20something guys behind us announced “You have GOT to be fucking KIDDING me!”.
I wouldn’t see it again, but it was an interesting ride.
What? Did they actually expect anyone to get out alive?
People and their expectations. Sheesh.
I liked it (although the setup portion was tedious enough for me to start wishing the cast devoured by monsters – was that deliberate so you wouldn’t feel so bad about none of them getting out alive?) and I’ll agree with a couple of previous posters that the daytime worm’s eye view of the monster wasn’t very effective – the size didn’t really come through, and the actual look of the monster was kinda “meh.”  The intervening hour or so worked pretty well for me, though: the camera work didn’t annoy much (but then again, I don’t get seasick or carsick, either).
 – I found the “giant mutated whale” image that was on the internet a while back more interesting. (And BTW, if wozzisname is actually grabbed and chewed on by the critter – which is maybe 50% (or more) larger than Godzilla, what glimpse we get of his body seems rather miraculously intact…
SPOILER, though people seem to have stopped posting that.
I was in a theater where everybody was a teenager, and people seemed pretty pissed that really no one got out alive and that there was no “final battle” with the monster. Which first off, kudos for not making it a happy ending movie and secondly, what kind of final confrontation were they expecting? Everybody was shouting at the screen.
Wouldn’t the best ending for this have been the Avengers showing up to beat up the monster? The audience would be so damn confused.
Rather than the Avengers, I would have preferred an Evangelion to run it through with a prog-knife.
Additionally, an AT field would go a long way towards explaining why it could withstand so many high-grade military explosives.
Yeah, but in order to get the proper lever of absolute bewilderment in the audience that I’m going for, it would have to be something they’re all familiar with. They’d see an Evangelion as just some big robot.
Of course, we could do Voltron…
Remember when there was a severely vocal minority that thought this was going to be a Voltron movie? What was their rationale there?
Wait, did I miss something? I thought the first copter with the maybe-black-maybe-not character actually made it out of there OK.
Anyway, I thought the movie was damn near perfect. After 9/11 Hollywood sure figured out how to add weight to building being knocked over, I’ll say that much. The only things that bothered me were near the end. After they carpet-bombed the monster the distance between the copter and the monster went all wonky. Also, the shot of the monster directly after the crash made the proportions seem off as well.
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