Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yuki's Movie Review: Cloverfield.

Warning: Spoilers Proudly On Display.

Cloverfield was probably one of the movies I had earmarked to watch this year. I saw the awesome shocking trailer online, and at the time it was a mysterious film, with no title given out for the movie. The only hint we had was that it was a JJ Abrams produced movie, but the sight of a giant gust of fire and the sudden decapitated head of the Statue Of Liberty landing awkwardly on the streets of New York is enough to get any movie observer curious about what the movie is all about.

One thing I do not understand is why it had to be New York. This is, like, the second movie setting New York as the city for annihilation (I am sure Will Smith's “I Am Legend”'s vampire/zombie ravaged New York still comes to mind) this year. New York... but as a city for disaster strikes? Yikes... is everyone still having a hangover of 9/11? I sure miss the romance and splendour of that city, with its melancholic mood all around. Where are all the movies like “You've Got Mail”?

Anyway, back to the movie. Cloverfield (untitled at the time) was the presumed to be a movie about a gigantic robot, with everyone thinking it was Voltron. Then when producer JJ Abrams hinted at it being an American monster, it then had everyone guessing again at what kind of monster it could be. Before the name Cloverfield, the movie was supposed to be named “Slusho”, but the curiousity once the movie name came out made Cloverfield the permanent name, but still plays into the hype.

Cloverfield is about the journey of five people Rob, his brother Jason with his girlfriend Lily, Rob's best friend Hud and the girl he admires Marlena; on the rescue of apple of Rob's affection, Beth (Actually, that is what the synopsis said but technically, it is four because Jason died before the rescue mission begins). I have mixed emotions of the choice of little known actors for this movie. One thing, it makes it so easy to kill off all the characters. But the lesson of friendship is there.

But at what price? In the name of friendship, in order to rescue Beth, all of them except Lily died. Yes, all of them except one. It serves as such an easy backdrop for the monster (I suspect the original title “Slusho” actually refers to the name of the creature). They actually contributed to the body count. In the end, is it all worth it? No, because if it takes the risk of losing four lives to rescue one, it is a show of pure stupidity. Yes, because that is how we could get to see the monster in full.

And what slimy, disgusting piece of meat the monster is. I always believe monsters are not supposed to be cute. The American production Godzilla strikes me as too cute. The destruction of the city in Godzilla was cute. The way some of them 'died' in Godzilla, or nearly got squashed, was cute. In fact, even Godzilla's babies in the end of the movie is cute. The song 'Heroes' sung by The Wallflowers must be the cutest songs ever produced. And boy, yes, Matthew Broderick is cute too!

But there is nothing cute about this monster. This creature kills, to the extent one of the soldiers exclaimed, “Whatever it is, it is winning”. Amazingly awesome killing instincts, capable of releasing dozens and dozens of baby monsters capable of taking out even soldiers with guns. This monster is so haunting some of you may have nightmares about it. And because the movie is shot entirely on a video camera's angle it makes the movie so real, except for those with motion sickness.

But the definite star of the movie must be it. The 'Video Camera'! It lasts so long to tell the tale. I counted probably more than 15 hours of battery, and tape. And you know what, the 'Video Camera' is so robust; it is flung here and there, got hit several times, smashed to the ground, dragged all over the place, got into a pile of rocks after a bomb blast, and it is still functioning properly! Surely, we must know the brand this 'Video Camera' is. It must be one of the most incredible ones in the world!

Overall, I find 'Cloverfield', positively one of the more entertaining movies of this year. The camera angle conveys a sense of realism to the whole movie. And you can literally grow with the characters of this movie (to the point they died of course). But you do feel for the friends. But I do think they could have done more for the ending. The identity of the monster, and the fate of the monster or the city, is not revealed in the end, leaving audiences feeling unfulfilled. I give it a rating 3.5 out of 5.

Yuki's Choice Reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloverfield

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