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Cloverfield: A Look Back At A Nauseous Review

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I just rented Cloverfield on DVD and thought it would be good to dig out a review I wrote on my old blog just after seeing it.

Fuck… dude… I mean really DUDE.

That was epic. I want to hurl but what an experience. That is what this movie is… an experience. It is all about the moment.

Godzilla, you got nothin’…

Story:
The story… this has no story, it is a timeline. You are viewing retrospectively the events as captured on 1 DV tape. Things that began as acts of insanity to be dismissed as absurd turn into epic events that demands you to go further, if only to see if they work.

[*EPIC SPOILER*]
Dude when they are on the building climbing over to the other one, I was like ‘That’s so bullshit, no one would do that’. But on the way back, my only concern was that they didn’t fall of the edge. It suckered me in.
[*EPIC SPOILER END*]

I bought into this movie, hook, line and sinker. I believed what I was seeing and had grave concerns for the people on screen. While it had a splattering of IDisms (Independence Day-isms), it basically stayed true to what I believe the possible events, if it happened, would go down.

Camera Work:
It is shaky as shit, as it should be. This is supposed to be amateur footage on a HandyCam; to have sweeping dolly shots would have taken you out of the moment. When I came out of this movie, I wanted to hurl like nothing else mattered, and looking back now it was entirely intentional. It was a tool used by the filmmakers to invoke a physical reaction. There is a short distance in the feeling between nausea and fear and this film brought on both. I felt scared. In a few moments, I felt the peril with the characters on screen. In one scene, ‘behind the screen’, fear and nausea combined and I genuinely was going to blow chunks.

My Concerns:
- Camera Work: This could turn people off seeing it, despite it being part of the experience.

- The Blair Witch Comparison: While similar in camera style and ‘retrospectiveness’, the films are different in so many ways that this is an unfair comparison ‘plus I think Blair Witch sucked balls’ shaky, shaky balls.

- A Bit Too Much Monster… But Only Slightly: In this movie, the monster is something in the background you fear and try to avoid. The sound space plays a big part in this. The monster sounds like it is always behind, beside or in front of you in the distance, not in shot. The fear of the monster is far scarier than the actual thing. Basically seeing it took me out of the moment slightly. I would have called this one epic even if you didnĂ­t ever see it, it might have even been better.

And I think that fact you never got a back story on the monster added to the experience. You’re trapped in a city with a gigantic monster’ you don’t want to know where it came from, you just want to get the fuck outta there.

So, with the benefit of 2 days thinking I can say there were a few small flaws but the movie was very solid, very tight. While not an original idea (retrospectives) and borrowing heavily on the Godzilla franchise, Cloverfield stands out on its own as a great piece of innovative cinema. Whether you hate the ’story’ or dismiss it as a monster film where ’shit man, we never see the mutha-fucking monster get killed!’ as one fellow movie-goer verbally-vomited upon exit, you must admire the skill and originally this film bought to an often lame-ass genre.

Date: January 21st, 2008 – Filed

While it was still epic… I can honestly say this is a film still best seen on the big screen.

Written by johnworthington

October 16th, 2008 at 11:27 am

Posted in Movies, Review

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