Cloverfield

I watched Cloverfield again last night after seeing it in the theater so long ago. From time to time I’ll see a trailer before a movie that is ominous and creepy and gives you very little information about the movie it is advertising. Cloverfield was very sneaky in this way. The movie was kept very tightly under wraps. The film, also known as 1-18-08, released this trailer in theaters first:

For those of you who have seen the film, you know that most of the scenes in this trailer are not even in the film. It doesn’t give up very much, does it? Clever moviegoers figured out that it was clearly going to be a monster movie. Being the monster movie lover that I am, I was tickled!

You’ve got Godzilla, King Kong, Jaws… all the best monsters. So what does Cloverfield do differently? It does something so atrocious that it makes the audience feel sick to their collective stomach. It shoots the whole film through the eye of a hand-held camcorder à la The Blair Witch Project.

But what of the story? This story follows Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) and his ladylove Beth McIntyre (Odette Yustman). In the beginning we are looking at Beth’s dad’s place through the shaky eye of the camcorder. Rob and Beth are in bed being cutesy. Then they are on a train being cutesy.

Suddenly we are on the streets of New York. Rob’s brother Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) and his gal Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) are in the midst of final touches for the going away party they are throwing in Rob’s honor. Rob has taken a job in Japan (shout out to Gojira 1954) and is taking off. Sayonara, Rob! Or not…

Just a month before this party, Rob and Beth were heading to Coney Island. Now, they have not spoken and when she shows up at the party with some other dude, Rob is less than pleased. Hud, (T.J. Miller) Rob’s best friend, has been given the job of documenting the night and through his video snooping, he learns that Rob and Beth “totally had sex together.”

So Beth leaves with her new sweetheart, Rob pouts on the balcony, and all the while a giant monster is getting ready to make it rain… fire… on the whole city.

When the monster finally does start attacking, there is all kinds of mayhem. The Statue of Liberty’s head is thrown into the street, claw marks on her face. Flaming debris spews every which way. Buildings are taken down with one swipe of a giant, angry fist.

So, Hud, Rob, Lily, Jason, and Hud’s dream girl Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) – who had been at the party – are making their way across the Brooklyn bridge to get out of the city. Clover, as the special effects crew of the film called it, used his – or her – giant tail to crush said bridge.

One by one the kids are knocked off at this point. In a predictable and inevitable turn of events, Rob decides that he must save lady Beth and has to go in the same direction the monster went. This has bad idea written all over, but in Rob’s defense, Beth is a smokin’ hottie.

The movie is hard to watch at times due to the camera shooting all over the place, but overall I would say this is a well done movie about something that movies really don’t need to be made about anymore. I mean, it’s been done.

The acting is, well… pretty bad, with a couple of exceptions from Lizzy Caplan and T.J. Miller. If you can stomach it, Cloverfield is pretty enjoyable.

If I learned one thing from this film, it is that love does not conquer all, giant monsters do.

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