Cloverfield

Cloverfield (2007)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Lizzy Chaplan, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman, Mike Vogel, Michael Stahl-David
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Endings, Featurettes
Rating:

When I saw the first trailers for "Cloverfield" I got incredibly excited, hoping that this would turn out to be some cool "Godzilla"-style reincarnation, outside of the legendary franchise. Now that Godzilla has been put on hold by Toho, I can't stress how I would love to see a great monster movie. Well, "Cloverfield" isn't it, I can tell you that much. The reason for it is simple. "Cloverfield" is unwatchable.

One night without warning, something hits New York. At first, people believe it may be another terrorist attack, but soon it becomes evident that the city is in actuality under attack by a giant monster from outer space. Following a small group of survivors "Cloverfield" tells the story and the terror unfold through the camera lens of the group's camcorder.

And that's where the stupidity begins. It may sound like a cool gimmick at first to show the film in a camcorder Blair-With-style, but the fact of the matter is, it is a harebrained idea. First and foremost, under the circumstances depicted in the film no one would even think about having a camcorder ready to go all the time, in the right spot and actually taping. We are talking about life and death situations where people are terrified, paralyzed in horror and yet, here's always some dude holding up a camera making sure he gets it all on tape. Can you spell the word retard?

The next problem that is inherent in this off-the-cuff camcorder style is that the footage is virtually unwatchable. Noisy and washed out is something I could tolerate, but the fact that the camera is not standing still for a single second will drive even the most hyperactive viewer nuts. To underscore the "reality" feel of the footage, the camera is often shooting footage sideways and pointed to the ground, just to give the impression someone forgot to turn it off. Nice gimmicks, yes, but vomit-inducingly unwatchable I'm afraid to say.

The biggest flaw in "Cloverfield," however lies in its story and the story's delivery. There is absolutely nothing happening in the film for the first 18 minutes – and that in a movie that runs a mere 84 minutes to begin with. All you see is a guy video taping his girlfriend, following her around, making stupid remarks and getting in an argument with her. I don't need a movie to show me that, I could have that at home any day of the week if I wanted to.
Them, when the actual story begins and the monster appears, the story actually falls apart. Filled with ridiculous gaps in logic, characters that are unlikeable and every bit as dumb as piece of bread, the story stumbles along without building any sense of real suspense. I am sorry if this sounds harsh but in my eyes "Cloverfield" has no sense of cinematic direction at all. It is a movie based on a single gimmick whose effects is dubious at best and wears thin after a few minutes.

Director Matt Reeves serves up a commentary track on the disc. While he is genuinely enthusiastic about his work, it doesn't change the fact that "Cloverfield" is a horribly misguided movie that I couldn't find even remotely entertaining. As such the commentary track didn't do much for me other than make the director a little more sympathetic in his genuine comments.

As additional extras you will find some deleted scenes on the release, as well as alternate endings, "Making-of" Featurette and other vignettes.

Even though I may be repeating myself, "Cloverfield" didn't do anything for me. I found the film boring and tedious. The Kamikaze camera style was not only distracting, but it was so unrealistic in its perceived realism that it got in its own way constantly. Quite honestly I feel bad for the people who paid money to see this movie. Disasters like this one just make you hope that Toho will eventually revert their decision and make some more "Godzilla" movies. They may be cheesy but at least they are fun.


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