Go See Cloverfield

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in The Politics Of Film, The War On Terrorism

I second Sully.

The thing that makes Coverfield endlessly watchable is the fact that it repackages a very political event without being political. Because what makes the story and the conceit of the “one camera perspective” so effective is 9/11. Sure, this film could be made in a pre-9/11 world, but it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or terrifying.

But 9/11 is really just the cultural backdrop, and the film never delves into that territory long enough to take away from the ride that some of the most believable special effects work in the history of filmmaking delivers. I’m not being dramatic. Cloverfield is so realistic that days later I’m still myself, “How in the hell did they do that?”

One last bit of praise for the film, there are some subtle hints toward the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and anybody who has read his work knows where this all could be going in the next film. And yes, there will be a next film since it cost roughly $25 million to make and grossed $47 million over the weekend.

Seriously. Go see it. Even if you think you might get motion sickness from all the shaky camera work. Odds are you won’t, and instead you’ll find yourself enjoying the hell out it.

Oh, and if you have seen it, drop your review in the comments section.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 and is filed under The Politics Of Film, The War On Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Go See Cloverfield”

  1. Agnostick Says:

    I had a great seat for the very, very first showing in town on Friday afternoon. I was hyped up about this film from the get-go, because I’m a lifelong “kaiju fan”–I’m one of those nerdy kids who sat in front of the TV many a Friday night and Saturday afternoon during the 1970s, watching every bad Godzilla and Gamera movie that was featured (along with scores of other “horror” flicks). I still have a soft spot for the first Godzilla film I ever saw, “Gojira tai Hedorâ” (“Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster”).

    I’ve since “grown up” a bit, and have built up a nice collection of DVDs of the “Millenium Series,” a few of the Heisei Series, and of course, Shusuke Kaneko’s groundbreaking “Gamera” trilogy from the late ’90s.

    So I guess my big response here is “9/11? What 9/11? Was that in Cloverfield? Where? When?”

    Honestly, I never once saw it. I was far too sucked in by the fact that after watching people scurry down the streets of one Japanese city or another for more than 50 years (the original “Godzilla” was released in 1954), somebody finally wised up and said “HEY!! Wouldn’t it be great if we gave one of the evacuees a HANDICAM?”

    There are little splashes of comic relief splashed throughout the movie, but they dry up @ 20 minutes from the end of the movie; it was about 10 minutes from the end when I had a brief realization, “Wow, it sure has gotten quite in here!”

    I still haven’t really convinced my wife to take the plunge (shaky cameras tend to bring on the barf), but I’m sure she’ll weather the storm once it comes out on DVD.

    For the rest of you, don’t wait for home theater… go see this one on the BIG SCREEN!

  2. Joshua Says:

    More than one blogger has referred to this movie along the lines of “Godzilla meets Blair Witch Project“. That sounds about right. Spectacular, intense, and short – only about 90 minutes or so. No bloated eye-candy marathon like so many other movies of this genre are.

    As for Lovecraft, you may recall a lot of speculation that the monster in this film was going to be none other than The Big C himself. Even the film’s generic title (and lack of an official title at all until around November) and mystery-shrouded marketing campaign subtly allude to this. (In Lovecraftian lore, just mentioning the creature by name is a big no-no, which is why so many alternate spellings have appeared over the years.)

    It should also be noted that Cloverfield has attached the first trailer for J.J. Abrams’ next film, the upcoming Star Trek “reboot” movie, so called because it will reportedly eschew the massive cumulative backstory developed over the years and begin basically anew – a smart move considering how uninspired the last couple of series and movies have been. (Some bloggers have reported a trailer for 10,000 B.C. being shown in place of the Star Trek trailer. If that’s what you got, the Trek trailer, which is arguably even more cryptic than the ones for Cloverfield, can be seen here.

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