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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Reviews    Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  ›  Cloverfield Moderators: Nixon
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  Author    Cloverfield  (currently 6935 views)
chism
Posted: January 17th, 2008, 5:29am Report to Moderator
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RELAX - NO SPOILERS

Obviously there's been a huge amount of hype and mystery around this flick. And I'm happy to say that underneath it all is an absolutely kick ass monster flick. Cloverfield does not disappoint.

The Story:

Pretty much a group of friends are caught in a pickle as a giant monster that seems to have come from somewhere under the sea launches an attack on New York City. Receiving a desperate phone call from the love of his life, Rob (Michael Stahl-David), Lily (Jessica Lucas), Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) and Hud (T.J. Miller) set off to rescue her while trying to evade the skyscraper-sized, enigmatic, seemingly unstoppable creature.

What I Liked:

The performances of the film were very good. No one had any huge acting moments to speak of, because real life doesn't have very many of them either. What the main actors do is provide very naturalistic performances that pull you into the story. I bought every member of the cast as just an average person. I suppose part of that is due to the writing, which for the most part sounds very natural as well (credit Drew Goddard for that).

The monster absolutely rocks IMO. I'm not going to give anything away, but you do see the monster very clearly fairly often. There are at least a half dozen really good moments, and towards the end of the film you can see it in an extended shot that is both awsome and terrifying. Not only was the idea of the monster very cool, but the visual effects used to create it are very convincing. At no time did the monster or any of the destruction it creates feel unreal.

I was expecting to be thrilled, but I wasn't expecting to really get scared. Here is a thriller with genuine thrills, and a few guarenteed leaps. There is also a lot of tension in some moments. Director Matt Reeves creates very intense atmospheres in moments of quiet, such as when the group is attacked in the subway tunnels or when they must navigate their way through a tilted apartment building.

The ending, again I'm not going to give anything away, but it is pretty cool. A little depressing perhaps, but I don't think they could have ended it any other way without it seeming cliched.


What I Didn't Like:

No film is perfect, and there were some things about Cloverfield that kinda ticked me off. The first and most important is some of the camerawork. For the most part, it works. But there are moments that are a little nausiating, such as the aftermath of a helicopter crash or some shots of our heroes running down the street. The camera shakes from side to side, and up and down. It gets a little annoying. There are also moments where I wanted the camera to be pointed at something happening off screen (monster attacks, explosions, etc.) but it was aimed down at the cameraman's feet. It was frustrating, I wanted to shout out "turn the camera around, wanker!"

Have you guys ever seen that Siskel & Ebert review of Poltergeist III? For those who haven't, you should (it's hilarious). For those who have, I was reminded of the review by some moments in the film. Anytime Rob walks more than ten feet away from the camera,  Hud (the cameraman) relentlessly screams "Rob! Rob! Rob, come back! Rob! Rob! Where are you, Rob!" It also was annoying.

Bottom Line:

Cloverfield is a relenetlessly-paced, unapologetically intense experience. There was not a single moment from when the monster attacked that I was not on the edge of my seat. Drew Goddard, Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams have created a modern classic. I think this film is going to remembered for years to come. An excellent way to start the new year of movies. If you're looking for something exciting and unremittingly entertaining, then Cloverfield is for you. If you have a weak stomach, or if your nerves fail easily, then you should probably avoid it.

8/10.


Matt.

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
chism  -  January 17th, 2008, 8:20am
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bert
Posted: January 17th, 2008, 7:54am Report to Moderator
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Hey Chism,

This refugee from Alvin & the Chipmunks isn't really the monster, is it?

http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/10889


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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chism
Posted: January 17th, 2008, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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I'd have to see the movie again to be sure (my memory sucks) but parts of it look fairly accurate, parts of it don't. The monster looks cooler than that when it's stampeding through skyscrapers and mowing down the army.


Matt.

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chism  -  January 18th, 2008, 5:34am
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Murphy
Posted: January 18th, 2008, 8:12am Report to Moderator
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So me and Mrs Murphy are moving into a new apartment tomorrow morning and therefore did not want a hangover in the morning, we also have no TV tonight, or a couch, or food, or beer or even any Ben & Jerry's. So staying in was not an option either. Thinking I could tempt her into watching No Country For Old Men again off we we headed of to the cinema. Obviously we ended up watching Cloverfield, I am not really sure why as it is so not my kind of movie and the amount of hype that they have been generating around this film had put me off so much that I was no way going give in to the machine. But as Mrs Murphy pointed out we never get to go with her choices so after a couple of JD and cokes I relented.

Oh my god was I surprised, It actually was really well done, I really enjoyed it. Not gonna be in my top 50 or anything, probably not even going to be in my top 500 but I came away from the cinema not thinking I had seen a good movie but thinking I had been on a good ride at Universal Studios or something. As soon as we hit the end of act 1 and the first plot point it grabs you and does not let go for a second, right until the very end.

The monster is good but the camera work is the star of this movie, Not once did I think it was too much. I can understand Chism's point about getting annoyed that the camera sometimes was pointing away from something worth looking at (you can tell from the noise) but I do not see that as a flaw in the movie, surely that is all part of the experience - getting frustrated that you cannot see the action is part and parcel of this unique cinematic experience.

I would recommend this to anyone and everyone as a must see at the cinema, not as a great movie however but just as really fun way to spend 80 minutes and come out of the cinema thinking you have been involved in something amazing.

8/10
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Zack
Posted: January 18th, 2008, 1:01pm Report to Moderator
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Is there a reason this is titled Cloverfeild?

~Zack~


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DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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chism
Posted: January 18th, 2008, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
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I heard it was named after a street where J.J. Abrams' production company is based, but I'm not sure if that's true or not. It has no meaning in the film though, other than the government-designated codename from the trailer.


Matt.
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Soap Hands
Posted: January 19th, 2008, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hey,

I thought this was good.

I think a lot of what it has going for it is its focus on the characters instead of the monster. It's novel in that way and the hand held POV camera lends itself to enhancing that. It's also had, literally, a new perspective on the monster movie which was interesting. So, using these things it was able to be very immersive, kinda of like a videogame, which was a newish type experience.

That said, I don't know if I'd want to see another movie like this. It worked for me this time because it was new, but lets face it, the monster is usually the star of these movies and rightfully so, even though I was entertained I wanted to see more of the monster, and more of it breaking stuff.

Besides that there were also some thing things that were really unbelievable, like

SPIOLER

When the monster sneaks up on the camera hud at the end. How the hell did it manage to do that when ever time before whenever it took a step there was an earthquake.

END SPOILER

Well anyway, most problems I had where kind of nitpicky, overall it was enjoyable. I thought it was better then The Host if any of you are familiar with that.    

sheepwalker
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Zombie Sean
Posted: January 19th, 2008, 2:07pm Report to Moderator
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Just saw it. It was actually a whole lot better than what I expected with everything, with the story, and the actors, and yeah. The only thing I didn't like was that I still felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a home video because the vision was still clear and everything. Though, they were probably meaning to be using those really expensive cameras that are really clear, like HD cameras or something, I don't know. But I thought it would have felt a lot more real if they used an actual video camera, or at least put editing in to make it look like they were using an actual video camera.

This must've taken forever to finish the movie (well at least the beginning) because there were so many people that the directors had to take care of along with special effects and stunts and stuff like that. I was pretty amazed about how good of a job they did. The beginning was a bit slow, but it paid off because you actually felt for the characters. I felt bad for the one girl who exploded. My friend was like, "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!"

But yeah this was an awesome movie and I'm surprised about how many movies are being made with first-person point of view (Cloverfield, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Diaries of the Dead, Invasion (some low-budget film shot by a police dashboard cam about an alien invasion that was just weird)).

This was a good movie, but there were a lot of points where you ask yourself, "Why did they go back for the camera?" or "Are they still holding the camera??"

Sean


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Zack
Posted: January 19th, 2008, 9:37pm Report to Moderator
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Just got back and my blood is still rushing. This is hands down the best monster movie I've ever seen. Don't try to argue with me, I'm right. I felt as though I was a part of the movie. It felt real. I can't find the words to describe how I felt while watching this movie. I loved it.... but I did have a problem. My dad. He was complaining the entire time. He didn't like the way it was shot. He didn't like that you didn't see alot of the monster(in his opinion). He didn't like the monster. but most of all, he didn't like the fact that Godzilla is no longer the best monster movie.

~Zack~


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Zack
Posted: January 20th, 2008, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
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Origin of the monster confirmed here!!!

http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/10946

You're welcome.

~Zack~


*NEW DRAFT*

DING DONG DITCH - (short,horror)
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Heretic
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SPOILERS

I thought the realism was pulled off really well by the writer and the actors, but uh, a couple things really pissed me off.

Rob's whole character conflict is that he never told whatshername that he loves her, and then they spend half the movie looking for her, and then they find her, and are the first words out of his mouth, "I love you"?  No...  As soon as he didn't say it, I knew exactly how the movie would end, because I knew they had to be saving the declaration of love for a big moment, and where better then at the end when (obviously) they're gonna lose the camera?  That was, in my mind, a huge writing mistake, because they completely put a forced movie moment above realistic character actions.

Another thing was that the camera kept slanting to the damn right.  That would never happen with a real handheld camera because if it slants to the right that means that you're bending your wrist (or your forearm) backwards, which is just not something someone would do.

And other little things.  They woulda died in the helicopter.  How did they not hear the monster coming in the park?  If the monster's intention was to eat people, why was it in the middle of a deserted park?  If the monster was over there, where was the army?  Did they just lose track of it?  How did everyone else avoid getting bitten by the little monsters in the subway?  Why were the TVs on in that store if it was closed?  Why did the monster knock the head off Miss Liberty?  Were they seriously evacuating people in four-seat choppers?  All little things, but definitely things I thought about during the film, which means that for me, anyway, it wasn't a completely immersive experience.

Great action though, great action.  Lots of fun and the camera style was used to excellent effect.  Good acting and good effects.  Worth the watch, for sure.


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Shawnkjr
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I thought this movie was was pretty good. From what I heard people don't like it either because of the shaky camera, the ending, or because the monster's origins and several other things weren't explained...and my friend was annoyed because the only black people were shown looting although there were black people in the movie that were not looters...the military guy and the girl who played Lilly.People don't understand that everything is not explained because we only know what the characters knew. What we see is what they experienced. This puts you in the movie...like you were there with them and you get to draw your own conclusions from the hints given throughout. Did anyone else see the object fall into the water when the two were on the ferris wheel at the end?  I liked the ending because I hate typical, happy endings in disaster themed movies..it irritates me that by the end...everything is ALWAYS wrapped up in a happy little bow. I don't think there is need for a sequel just simply because everything wasn't explained...I'd rather draw my own conclusions. Back in the day....they didn't tell you every single thing. They allowed you to have an imagination of your own. You never know for sure  why the dead stat walking around again in Night of the living dead...You were only given hints of what might have happen. I loved Jessica Lucas (Lily) ...it wasn't really clear if her character survived or not. oh well. I can't wait to see her in Amusement. My favorite scene was in the subway with the little spider, Lizard, crab, creatures.


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mikep
Posted: January 22nd, 2008, 8:22am Report to Moderator
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It's no secret that the movie pretends to be shot on home video - so not sure why that's a point of contention with lots of reviews I've read...that's the gimmick. But the movie was good, not great.

The opening was WAY too long for a film that barely squeaks past 80 minutes. The opening party scene felt longer than the endless party opening The Deer Hunter for heaven's sake. The story was very slight, and you have to suspend lots of disbelief, but it works overall and is lots of fun. The monster was handled well, the little big creatures were very nice, liked the subway attack very much.

But ok...the monster comes from the ocean....we see the news report of the tanker overturned...but...WHY does the building explode, out first signal the monster has arrived ? The army isn't there yet...the monster doesnt breathe fire..does it ?  I dont get that part.


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I've never been so pleased with a movie that I've seen in theaters. Straight Up.

However, some motion sickness occurred.


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RobertSpence
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Saw "Cloverfield" earlier on today, and after hearng all it's hype, and having expected the unique style it was filmed and so on, I was not disapponted. All the way through, the storytelling was fantastic, acting realistic, special effects good. My only complaint is with the camera work at times. I felt myself becomig quesy on a number of occasions, like I wanted to be car sick, caused people at the front of the cinema to move to the back of the hall. Overall, I loved the film, was shit scared a few times because of the realism in which it was filmed really got to me. I would rate this 8/10


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