$2.50 Reviews: Cloverfield (2008)

$2.50 Reviews:

Cloverfield

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Cloverfield is a 2008 monster film directed by Matt Reeves. Starring a cast of largely unknown actors, Cloverfield takes place in New York City, and follows a group of individuals attempting to escape the city after it is attacked by a large monster. Filmed entirely from a shaky-cam perspective, Cloverfield attempts to immerse the viewer, and tries to make them feel like they are one of the people within the city.

If you complain about the captions, I will kill you!
"Uh...guys? That's not good, right?

This shaky-cam technique of filming is one that can either work well, or fail miserably. Cloverfield falls into the former category, being both immersive and genuinely frightening at times. What doesn't quite work with this filming style was the fact that you don't ever get to see many of the things that happen. This works great when it comes to keeping the monster's true identity a secret, it is not appreciated when it comes to showing some of the actual action. For example, there is a scene in which the group is ambushed. Since the person holding the camera is being attacked as well, you don't actually get to see all that much of the action. It also leaves me wondering why the person holding the camera is still filming everything that is happening.

The film answers this question by more or less sidestepping it. One line addresses it directly, but for the most part it is avoided. For what it's worth, the cameraman's' name is Hud, and he is played by T. J. Miller. For the most part, his voice is heard more frequently than any other character. The other main character is named Rob, and he is played by Michael Stahl-David. We learn near the beginning of the film that he is moving away to Japan, as he earned himself a job there. The people we meet throughout the party end up being the people we follow for the rest of the film.

Beginning the film in a party setting was actually a good way of lulling the viewer into a false sense of security. It actually takes a good 20 minutes before anything in the way of excitement happens. While it does become a bit tedious, it works as a good introduction to the other characters we end up hanging out with for another hour. That's another thing that Cloverfield has working in its favor; it has excellent pacing. It certainly doesn't over-stay its welcome, clocking in just under 90 minutes. Take away 20 minutes for the opening, and the attempts to flee the city end up taking only around an hour. There really isn't all that much wasted time, and every scene has some point to it.

While characters don't really develop all that much, they do so just enough to make the viewer care about them. This is likely due in part to the fact that all the actors in the film are virtually unknown. You don't identify them to particular actors, and this helps draw you into the film, and care about the characters. Even if you don't really know their names, you can still identify with what they are going through. There were, however, some moments when you are reminded that Cloverfield is still a movie.

If you complain about the captions, I will kill you!
"You're not going to show a picture of the monster? Lame"

The most prominent case of this is whenever something major happens. The word choice of the characters just doesn't really seem all that natural. Nowadays, people use profanity fairly liberally. For some reason, the characters in Cloverfield don't. I realize that this was done just so that it could get away with a PG-13 rating, but it does take away from the immersion of the film. The other thing breaking immersion is the shaky-cam work. This doesn't occur all that often, but when it does, it gets fairly annoying. The camera jumps around fairly often, and turns off and on at seemingly random intervals. A character could be walking down the street, and then seconds later be in a building, because they decided that it would be a good time to turn off the camera. Sure, it saves some time that would otherwise be wasted, but those times could definitely have been used for some more character building.

In the short time Cloverfield is on the screen, it manages to do pretty much everything it needs to. It is at times genuinely terrifying, and makes you feel for the characters. It doesn't waste time, clocking in under 90 minutes, but it makes use of almost every second. The shaky-cam doesn't usually break the immersion level, and the acting is quite good, especially because they actors are mostly a group of unknowns. While Cloverfield does try to pass itself off as a "found-footage" type of film, I still can't help wondering the motivation of the cameraman Hud. Regardless, Cloverfield delivers an adrenaline packed thrill-ride, which makes me really hope nothing decides to attack my city.

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I love this movie, and I'm not quite sure why. I just have a thing for giant monster movies, I guess, and the whole POV concept works really well, or at least I thought so. The only things I disliked was the fact they make their way across town just to save one girl the guy may or may not like, and when they gave away a bit too much of the monster towards the end.

I really like it when your reviews are longer. Your reviews seem far livelier and overall better when you go into more detail and depth. I'm not in my usual pedantic mood, so I haven't scoured your review for any and every form of grammar and spelling errors, but it seems solid writing-wise.

I quite enjoyed the review. Of the ones I've read, I felt this one flowed the best.

I also really like Cloverfield. The shaky camerawork irritated me at times, but it's to be expected. As Fargo already mentioned, they showed the monster too much, too soon. In fact, it would have been better to have hardly shown any of it at all. I'm sure a lot of people would have complained about it, but I think just as many complained about actually seeing it. Not to mention our minds are far more capable of creating a terrifying image, better suited to us as an individual.

Yet another movie I want to watch again! My list is ever-expanding, I'm not sure where I'll find the time. -_-

I did like this movie. Even when my friends said "It's crap imma' gonna go watch Transformers for ta third time noaw... durrrr..."

FargoDog:
I love this movie, and I'm not quite sure why. I just have a thing for giant monster movies, I guess, and the whole POV concept works really well, or at least I thought so. The only things I disliked was the fact they make their way across town just to save one girl the guy may or may not like, and when they gave away a bit too much of the monster towards the end.

I really like it when your reviews are longer. Your reviews seem far livelier and overall better when you go into more detail and depth. I'm not in my usual pedantic mood, so I haven't scoured your review for any and every form of grammar and spelling errors, but it seems solid writing-wise.

I didn't really feel this review was all that much longer. It ended up being just over 800 words, definitely not all that close to my longest.

Still, thank you. I will agree with them showing too much of the monster at the end, but I didn't really have an issue with the main character's motivation.

The post above mine got eaten. I had to post.

Marter:

I didn't really feel this review was all that much longer. It ended up being just over 800 words, definitely not all that close to my longest.

Still, thank you. I will agree with them showing too much of the monster at the end, but I didn't really have an issue with the main character's motivation.

The post above mine got eaten. I had to post.

Is it? Huh. It seems longer anyway.

Also, your new avatar freaks me out. A lot. Although it is awesome.

FargoDog:
Also, your new avatar freaks me out. A lot. Although it is awesome.

I'm glad it freaked you out. That was the intention. =D

Sehr gute, Marter! Sehr gute tat!

Flowed very well, covered all your bases and I enjoyed reading it.

I liked this movie a lot, personally, though only one thing bothered me; the main character of "Rob" was a fucking dumbass!!!

Also, I love how you decided to use that Halloween avatar for the month like I asked ;)

Julianking93:
Sehr gute, Marter! Sehr gute tat!

Flowed very well, covered all your bases and I enjoyed reading it.

I liked this movie a lot, personally, though only one thing bothered me; the main character of "Rob" was a fucking dumbass!!!

Also, I love how you decided to use that Halloween avatar for the month like I asked ;)

Like I said to Fargo, I didn't really have much of a problem with the main character.

And yeah, I decided to use it, after fixing it up.

Marter:

FargoDog:
Also, your new avatar freaks me out. A lot. Although it is awesome.

I'm glad it freaked you out. That was the intention. =D

It's very well made. And this review totally doesn't need bumped.

Nice review. I've heard dozens of mixed opinions, but this one actually makes me want to see the movie instead of "I'm not sure, he said it sucks.'

Maybe it's because all other opinions I've heard were just "It rocks" or "It sucks.", and this one explains why it's good.

I enjoy these reviews, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

That was a very good review indeed. And what's more, you seem to have taken the comments about the captions to heart, I see :)

Keep it up Marter, you're consistently going uphill in your reviews!

 

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