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Theatrical Review: CLOVERFIELD

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
January 18th, 2008

BLAIR WITCH PROJECT +JURASSIC PARK + GODZILLA + guy loses girl x serious J.J. Abrams special effects= CLOVERFIELD

Rating: 8/10
Motion Sickness rating: 47/10

Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Drew Goddard
Cast: Michael Stahl-David, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman
Studio:Paramount Pictures

The Good:
I tried going into this movie knowing as little as possible, but considering it is the most hyped up movie of the year, I always seemed to stumble on spoilers and such. I'll tell you this, the less you know about CLOVERFIELD, the better. All you really need to know is that CLOVERFIELD is a new kind of monster film. Shot on a handheld camera, it follows four friends throughout downtown New York while the city is attacked by some kind of Godzilla-like creature. When we see the head of the Statue of Liberty tossed through the city like a rag doll, we know whatever it is isn't here for tea time.

The story starts off with a going away party for our hero, Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is moving to Japan. We know early that he had a brief romance with the girl of his dreams, Beth (Odette Yustman), whom he has an argument with and she leaves the party. In what would be a story we've all seen before, suddenly a monster comes and destroys everything in its path. But what's different about this film is that it's more focused on the love story than the monster. Rather than take an easy evacuation, Rob sets out to find Beth in the mess of a city, rescue her, and take her to safety. Sound familiar?

The whole thing is pretty much shot by his friend Hud (T.J.Miller), who is extremely drunk and hilarious. You can never lose in a over the top suspenseful film with the funny sidekick.

Overall, this film was a fun ride, and at times I caught myself wanting to yelp, "RUN!"

The Ugly:
"Is it coming? No. OK good. Wait? Here is comes. Close your eyes! Deep breaths and count to ten. Maybe fifty. OK, it's comingggg.... false alarm again. WOW. That was intense."

I'm sure you're thinking I'm talking about the most hyped up monster in movie history, but I'm not. I'm referring to my vomit. After leaving the theater, I had to wait a few minutes to drive away due to the fact I was experiencing what Hitchcock made famous, vertigo. I'm not exaggerating either. It wasn't bad camera work as everyone knows it was shot quite like BLAIR WITCH, with a handheld camera. JJ wanted to give us the "I feel like I'm there with them" feeling, and they completed succeeded in that, but you will end up with "I'm with you, but I'm gonna vomit if you cannot keep that damn camera steady."

Overall, if you don't mind shaky camera work (which I thought I could and I was completely wrong), CLOVERFIELD is a film you no doubt need to experience. If not, there is always PS. I LOVE YOU.

Writer's note: "The Bad" section has been skipped for this review.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/ return of the mack

    What do you think Rambo’s chances are against the Creature in the movie? on a scale from 1 to 10.

  • rachel

    saw cloverfield today and would have liked it if i had not gotten motion sickness from the camera. :(

  • Monica

    I really wished I would have read this review prior to seeing the movie. I’ve been waiting to see this movie for close to a year because of all the hype. I was not, I repeat not, prepared for the Blair Witch effect. This was almost 10x worse than the Blair Witch effect. At least I could sit through that movie.

    1- The story line was ok.
    2- The camera man was annoying.
    3- The CG on the monster was not so great.
    4- Having vertigo the whole time you see the movie…not so bueno.
    5- I had to shield my eyes half the time, not because the movie was scary but because all the movement was making me want to hurl.

    and 6 – I felt that the life/energy had been sucked out of me once the world stopped spinning when I left the theater.

    Lesson learned… Read Gordan and the Whale reviews prior to watching movies…

  • Rusty Gordon

    I just saw it…..and I must say the film was a pleasant suprise. I suppose I had lower hopes than most for cloverfield. Mostly because it was released in january (usually the worst month of the year for movies) and it seemed to be nothing more than the use of a gimmick to try and trick people into seeing a very tired genre film.
    However, the film boasts a good amount of scares, a decent (but not overly impressive) monster, and a brief running time ( very approbiate given the film’s content and style). The style didn’t make me dizzy or sick at all. Something I was scared of, as a result of having to frequently leave the theater when I saw blair witch because I thought I was going to throw up. Cloverfield is a solid film, and of the few movies with your time in january (no offense 27 dresses or mad money)
    Side Note(s): I did sit in the last row which I did not do when I saw the blair witch. So that might have something to do with me not feeling ill. And to answer your guestion micah I would give Rambo’s chances a 5 out of 10. Mostly because the military never tried to use a bow and arrow to bring down the monster and that could be the only weapon capable of destroying the beast.

  • http://myspace.com/klinkcow klink

    my Cloverfield thing(sorry for length):
    “This is gonna be the best night ever……”

    …You know what, looking back, I don’t think that quote was in the movie. But plain and simple that describes what this movie was. After spending countless hours pouring over random internet pages trying to solve the “puzzle,” Cloverfield was what they said Cloverfield would be… a huge monster movie.

    There was no plot to speak of really, in fact, it truly feels like a home video. Certain pieces are spliced together awkwardly, and sequences are sometimes out of order… but its great. The pacing works fantastic. If you happened to get a little queasy during Blair Witch…bring a barf bag or prepare to get up. This movie will make you uncomfortable because the camera is ridiculously shaky. I know that 2 out of the 4 of us that went to the screening ended up mildly nauseas.

    My only downside to the movie is:
    A: There is no real back story to speak of, unless you do a whole lot of legwork on the net. This problem may be remedied in a few days on the internet with the official release. But as of now, I’m still asking what and why. I know a lot of people think all of the viral websites were just internet hype, and maybe it was, but I did feel a tad bit more informed about why this could have happened.(Tagruato, Slusho! ect.) If only there was more of a payoff for those of us who sent time trying to “uncode” the film.

    B: The movie is 80 minutes long. I honestly wanted more. At the same time, this was a completely different type of film so maybe it worked out for the best. And I am not sure many people could stay in the theater that much longer(there were 5 people outside puking at the end of the film.)

    All in all, I really liked it and I would definitely see it again. It was a fun, different film. It gave you a new perspective on an older forgotten genre. The movie was pure chaos, and really fun. Maybe with movies like “Cloverfield” and Korea’s “the Host” the giant monster genre will be revitalized, and I am all for it.

    PS: the monster is pretty rad!

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