As a rule of thumb, I usually would not be interested in a film that has been called a cross between Godzilla and The Blair Witch Project . Ordinarily it would be right down the bottom of my list of films to see (along with anything in the Sci-Fi genre – sorry nerds). But after seeing the wicked cool trailer which I have put here for your convenience, if you haven’t taken a gander – take one now!
Its seriously messed up.
For a mainstream guy who could easily get the big bucks off a studio, J.J. Abrams decided to make a monster movie in a completely different way – on a little dv cam as if you were there when it happened. A truly creative choice and very brave. (Abrams gets 3 gold stars from me.)
At my mainstream cinematic complex of employment we’ve had people return to the box office after half an hour wanting to switch their tickets to ….anything else. There’s now a memo up telling staff to remind patrons of the handy-cam style of filming after someone vomited in the cinema.
But if you know what you’re in for, Cloverfield is a real treat.
THE SET UP? Jason’s brother, Rob, is about to leave Manhattan for Japan for work. Jason decides it would be a great idea to do video messages for Rob at his going-away party. So he hand-balls the job to Rob’s best mate Hud. Hud wonders amateur-ishly around the party with the camera. We catch a glimpse of this gorgeous girl, Beth, who apparently Rob has loved forever but she arrives with another bloke. Reality tv style we see the two fighting before Beth leaves with her male companion. Then loud crashes are heard outside. The party quickly disintegrates as people run into the streets screaming, as the head of the statue of liberty comes hurtling through the sky eventually scraping to a halt outside Rob’s apartment. Rob’s first thought is Beth.
Who dies? Can Rob find Beth? Does Hud ever shut off the camera? What is the crazy monster laying seige to NYC?
The rest of the film ‘documents’ their journey out of Manhattan.
All unknowns. Although I had seen Lizzy Caplan before in Mean Girls (that’d be why she gets top billing).
All were great though, really believable, not a bit overacted – considering a giant monster is after them.
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE IT?
Because its something new in cinema! Maybe its just me, but I get excited when I see something completely different – not the narrative being different but the way the film makers go about bringing the narrative to the audience, its especially impressive coming from Abrams, who could have made this Michael Bay style no worries. He didn’t need to stretch himself to save the studios money – he did it to do something new!
As an aspiring filmmaker I get excited when I see new ways of creating movies being given international mainstream distribution. It means audiences are getting used to different things and the big guns of Hollywood widen their views on what constitutes (profitable) filmmaking.
Also theirs a special treat in the movie that I haven’t told you about – no its not another monster – but its super super creative (find new word Jess) and just contextualise the ‘tension’ between Rob and Beth. Its rather genius.
Rob Hawkins: Hey, is that my camera.
Hud: Uh, I don’t know. Jason just gave it to me.
Rob Hawkins: Did you change the tape. Because I had a tape in there… Something important.
Hud: I didn’t, it was already on when I got it
WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Well, if you’re anything like me, preferably someone who doesn’t mind you grabbing their arm every now and then when it gets a bit freaky! – I took my brother.
ANY BITS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT? Besides a really weird monster, nope.
THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARS.