DVD Reviews | May 11th, 2008

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Starring T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas
Written By: Drew Goddard
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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In all of the media hype and viral marketing leading up to the movie Cloverfield, I must say, as a movie fan, I was completely caught up and anxious to see how they were going to tell a “giant monster ravages city” story from the victim’s perspective. After finally getting to see it in the theater, I was not disappointed and I then became eager to see the DVD for any extra goodness they might pack into it.

The story revolves around a New York City group of friends, gathering for a surprise going away party for their friend Rob, who had recently been hired for a company in Japan. We learn of a brief love exchange between Rob and Beth, who shows up to the party in an awkward moment with her new boyfriend. Fortunately, everything is being recorded for posterity at the request of Rob’s brother’s girlfriend by the half-witted Hud (conveniently naming for this character since he is essentially our “heads up display”). As Rob comes to grips with losing the potential love of his life, and as his friends try to console him on the rooftop, we see a giant explosion in the background, coming from the direction of the Statue of Liberty. All hell breaks loose, and the rag tag group begins their journey to flee the City.

As they make their way toward the Brooklyn bridge, we catch glimpses here and there of what is demolishing the City, along with the military dispatched to combat it, but we never really know what it really is, or where it came from. In a moment of realization, Rob gets a call from Beth who is apparently trapped in her apartment building, and after witnessing his brother die on the Brooklyn Bridge, vows to go and rescue her despite the pleas from his friends against it.

Being the good friends that they are, they go with him, of course. They make their way to Beth’s apartment after battling mini-monsters and exploding people, narrowly missing being stomped on by the gigantic monster feet. They find her impaled on a piece of metal in her living room, and finally get her free.

Once they finally make it back to the rescue helicopters, it appears that escape is possible. That is until the monster swats them out of the sky only to crash land in Central Park. After a few moments of groggy silence, Rob and Beth make it to their feet and get Hud back up and filming, only to have Hud look up into the creature’s mouth towering over him and ultimately eating him.

Rob and Beth end up hiding in an underpass in Central Park, as the monster is potentially destroyed outside. As the bombs explode, they exchange vows of love and the world crashes in around them. This leaves us with a true cliffhanger because we never know what happened to the monster, but we can assume that Rob and Beth are dead.

So this is the part where I talk about the good and the bad. This movie had something that I hadn’t seen done before. It had a bunch of new actors playing roles that hadn’t been cast in a movie like this before, and it didn’t seem forced or scripted at all. The frenetic camera work made it feel like you were right there with these people, running for your life, and the character development that preceeded the attacks was done in the right way to make you actually feel for these people.

The camera work was also a bit much for the people I watched it with. It wasn’t a bad element to me, but I could understand why some would get a bit queasy from it. I think they really needed to do it this way to get the message across so they definitely did it well.

The only other qualm I had with the movie was the lack of information about it. It leaves you wanting more but you honestly never get it. Even with the extras on the DVD (a lot of extra footage of back story prior to the attacks which I won’t spoil here) there still wasn’t enough for me to put it all together. I can understand that they would want to do this to entice people to see any sequels, but they really have to be careful when they assume we would want to see another movie about this and invest in the characters again when they just got done killing basically everyone.

All in all, being a pretty big monster movie fan, this movie was an awesome new take on a timeless genre. The effects were never over the top, the acting was never cheesy and I finished watching it wanting to watch more. This movie will not be for everyone (it put my girlfriend to sleep) but if you have a curiosity to see an old story told in a new way, this is definitely it. I will be seeing the sequel should they have one, because I really want to know what it is.

– Deleted Scenes
– Alternative Endings
– Outtakes
– The Making Of Cloverfield
– Featurettes
– Commentary By Director Matt Reeves
– Hidden Research Into Case Designate Cloverfield

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes:
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 84 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: