cloverfield (2008)

by zEke

cloverfield posterThe gigantic monster menace is not as widespread in Occident as it is in old Asian legends. First thing I thought about when I saw the preview of cloverfield a long time ago was Godzilla, one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture. Once considered by the Japanese people as a metaphor for the United States it went all the way from Japan to New York City in godzilla (1994), which is probably one of the few examples of this kind of cinema to the west of the Greenwich Meridian. Second thing I thought about when I saw the preview, and the well cared for wrapper, was that a hype is usually followed by mediocrity. Is this the case? It is definitely not the case in terms of profit. J. J. Abrams, the guy behind the ropes and the director of the still to come star trek (2008), is probably rubbing his hands together as I write this and he thinks about how beneficial a just $25 million movie has turned to be. Truth is, cloverfield has been successfully sold as a product ever since its first presence on the internet, and its promotional campaign should certainly be studied by those who sell rather than offer stories. Nevertheless, when I think about what I experienced in the movie theater, I cannot but go back to the mediocrity term.

The dispensable and trivial plot is just an excuse. Robert Hawkins (Michael Stahl-Davis) is leaving for good following a promising career in Japan. His brother Jason (Mike Vogel) and his brother’s girlfriend Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) throw a going away party for him. Going away party that Hudson Platt (T. J. Miller) will record with a video camera for posterity. But when Robert thinks the worst that is going to happen that night is seeing the love of his life with a random date a giant monster decides to attack Manhattan.

It is very commendable that Matt Reeves, who is new to this world of directing feature films, and as friend of Abrams as scriptwriter Drew Goddard (they all have collaborated previously in Abrams TV-series), keeps the story simple in terms of length. Less than one hour and a half that most of you will thank for. Mainly because the shaky camera will not go away. Nowadays, people like to tie shaky camera with realism. I tie too much shaky camera with seasickness. Nevertheless, the idea, although not as original as they would have liked (the blair witch project (1999)), works, at least, the first half an hour. Everything is shown through Hudson’s camera, and while some will enjoy the consequences of that, it will after a while get in most’s nerves. Thus, most of the action is up to the viewer that will use the shadowed image and distorted sound as an adrenaline stimulant as effective as he wishes.

To prevent the leaking of information about the movie the casting process was kept as secretive as possible. Judging by the cast performances as secretive that no suitable actors were aware of it. It is not that they perform badly, it is that rather than rescue an already difficult to buy script, they help making it even less plausible. To an extent that I was unwillingly laughing when I was not supposed to, unless I would have been watching a B movie.

In the end, I left with a peculiar feeling. The feeling they had just taken an old B movie and dressed up with an up to date trendy outfit that although spectacular did not really fit it. I still think better movies of this kind can be found to the east of the Greenwich Meridian.

For the deadhours of epileptics and people with an hour and some money to waste.

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official site | imdb

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