‘Cloverfield’ is not a monster movie for our generation; it IS the monster movie for our generation. We have grown up on instant messaging, digital cameras, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and the tragedy of Sept. 11. This isn’t your parent’s monster movie, it isn’t even your older siblings – it’s yours.
The main thing you need to know about the movie is it appears to be a tape found from a camcorder of a very, very bad night in Manhattan. The film opens with home video of a going away party for Rob, the main character, when suddenly there is a massive roar and explosion. Fasten your seatbelts and welcome to the thrill ride that is ‘Cloverfield.’
Imagine what would happen if you were video-taping your friend playing Guitar Hero on expert and suddenly the wall exploded, and a giant beast ripped them apart. You caught it all on video, not the whole monster, but just enough, maybe just a claw, to get your blood pumping.
Rob and his group of survivors move through the city trying to reach Rob’s true love Beth. Of course, while all this is happening, a giant monster is getting busy with New York City, and when I say, getting busy, I mean tearing the city to shreds.
The film is extremely effective in its presentation, I thought for a couple of seconds the footage I was watching was real. We have grown up on YouTube, so watching ‘handheld’ footage is not disorientating at all. The sound design on the film, whether it’s the creature’s roar or the sound of breaking bridges is perfect. The special effects are equal to anything you would see in high-budget summer movies.
Another great thing about the film is how it pulls you into the story. The film takes place in the present, and you can feel it. Sean Kingston’s ‘Beautiful Girls’ plays at a party, a guest diddles around on her iPhone and people speak the way 20 year olds speak. The movie feeds on the fears of a post-Sept. 11 world by emphasizing the fear of the unknown.
The action feels real and natural. When the monster attacks, it appears terrifying. There is one sequence in a subway tunnel that is so ridiculously scary the whole audience was cussing under their breath and squirming in fear.
Now, I could talk about the monster for a while, but there isn’t much to say without ruining the film. Yes, it’s scary, yes it’s weird looking, and
I have a bad habit of getting way too amped for movies. I’m bursting out of my shirt like a fat kid waiting for the new ‘Rambo.’ Yet, ‘Cloverfield’ was one the only movie I have ever seen that met my expectations, looked them straight in the eye, and bit off my head. It shreds the old monster (‘Godzilla,’ ‘King Kong’) genre into bloody parts, and demands your attention.
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