Surely with the buzz spreading over the 2014 remake of Godzilla, there will be a flurry of activity around giant monster movies in the approaching year. A genre that has consistently come close but missed the mark ever since Merian C. Cooper’s 1933 release of King Kong set the benchmark.
In this stale, stationary lot of of monster movies, Cloverfield is the first movie that comes to mind that actually takes major risks to breath new life into the lost genre, which, ironically, was nearly flatlined by the big fat foot of the ridiculous 1998 Godzilla remake.
Ferris Bueller VS Giant monster dinosaur? FERRIS…every time.
The “risk” I mentioned, was Cloverfield’s adoption of the “captured footage” technique, which has failed audiences on many levels ever since the Blair Witch had hit the home run (although somewhat nauseating, but a home run none the less.) In this case, Cloverfield piggybacks on the Blair Witch, and in typical J.J. Abrams style, times it by a million.
It moved. just a little bit, you don’t have to admit it… But, it moved.
Cloverfield introduces us to a group of twenty-somethings living in downtown Manhattan. All through the lens of a handheld camera which was intended to record lovestruck Rob Hawkins’ (Michael Stahl-David) surprise party before he leaves for Japan.
Reluctant friend Hud, (T.J.Miller) is recruited to chronicle the festivities of the night in hopes of landing him some Janis Ian/Marlena, (Lizzy Caplan). When suddenly a rude, giant monster attacks downtown Manhattan. Luckily Hud continues to capture the chaos of the attack on downtown Manhattan.
I sweat J.J. Abrams, ever since the pilot episode of LOST. Guy doesn’t “F” around.
Q – Explanation of the monster, what it is, where it comes from?
A – NOPE. Lets just put the audience at its arrival, in real life, the answers wouldn’t come so quickly anyway.
Q – Should we hold off on revealing the monster to build anticipation?
A – NOPE, let’s show ’em what they paid so see. Character development can be filled in as we go.
I loved the setup and delivery of this film. Hud’s narration is entertaining and light. The plot does not drag on, and it dives right into the destruction… EVEN after a cameo by JUICE at the party!!
“SOA? nah, I’m best known for a 1 second cameo at the party in Cloverfield.” ~ he’d probably say
The film is fast paced, with a decent looking monster tearing apart the city, but what captured me was having the audience feel like one of the citizens caught up in the chaos. No scenes of the President deciding what to do, no boring backstory.
I also like the rumored sequel that is on the bench. Because there are so many questions, including what hit the water in the last flashback, also with multiple people carrying cameras that night. There could be many other stories…this would’ve made a better TV series than a movie just piecing the night together through found footage.
This scene was thought to cross paths with the sequel(s) as multiple cameras are recording other’s stories
Shaky camera… you knew this was coming, if you didn’t see this movie, this was likely why. Although I feel the handheld is necessary to tell the story and bring the audience along, how bout some updated technology? Was 2005 THAT long ago? I mean, when he raids the electronic story he peruses the NOKIA chargers!!
Also the cut scenes are needed, but will kids today even understand that once upon a time to record something it had to be OVER another tape or film? Digital kids can’t comprehend this, they will never watch a VHS recording of What About Bob and fast forward through 8 hours hoping the tape caught a late night Skinamax titflick.
Also that camera has the longest battery life of anything ever in existance.
More stupid “little” baby things falling off the big monster and eating people. Why complicate it? Stick with the GIANT MAN EATING monster. No need to have infesting insects. Common mistake of EVERY MONSTER MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN, that wasn’t a low budgy indy or Japan B movie. Sad I have to watch them to get my fill of giant monsters. It makes me feel like one of those guys jumping state lines for a happy ending massage.
I can only hope the new Godzilla can capture just a HINT of the realism and originality of this story.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink – anytime someone yells for “HUD”
Take a Drink – anytime you feel woozie, it will help.
Down a Shot – if you spot Juice at the party.
Down a Shot – if you saw the monster hit the water on the 1st shot!