Movie Review: Cloverfield

Since his creation of “Alias” and “Lost”, I’ve basically decided to watch whatever J.J. Abrams makes and ask questions later. No matter what you say about the product he puts out, he gives each project of life of its own, and makes it tons more fun to follow than a typical CSI: (insert a variety of cities). So when I heard he was behind a monster movie, well let’s just say, I was a little exited.

J.J is a master of viral marketing and has taken the Internet by storm for the promotion of “Cloverfield”. He has two sites fully devoted to the movie itself. All 5 main characters of the movie have MySpace pages. No, not the actors, the characters’ themselves have fake accounts. J.J created a fictional drink called Slusho that has appeared in Alias, Lost, Heroes, and in the promotion of this movie. It’s a bit much, but he did turn this movie into a runaway winner at the box office. Estimates are around 40 million.

So where do I begin with a review of this movie? Here’s the best I’ve got: It’s a cross between The Blair Witch Project; Godzilla; Saving Private Ryan; and The Day After Tomorrow. And yes, this is a good thing.

The movie uses Blair Witch’s “found footage” angle. So everything you see is from a homemade video that was found by the government and cataloged to preserve the horrific events that happened. The first 5 minutes of the movie almost made me throw up and reminded me of when 10-year-old Cousin Jimmy got a hold of the camera at Christmas.

I compare it to Godzilla simple in the monster movie context. I could have said Mothra, but only 2 or 3 of you would have known what I was talking about. Here is a drawing of the creature. It seems pretty accurate. You never get a clear focused shot of the monster in the movie, which is great.

I know it’s a little weird to compare a story of WWII and a fictional demolition derby in NYC, but I think it holds up. You don’t see the monster attack from a distance. You truly become part of the action. I can honestly say that I’ve never been more locked in to a movie in my life. There’s no way to escape the sense of danger. You know the famous Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan. It’s like that, but for ¾ of the movie. You’re as helpless as the characters. But instead of getting Matt Damon, we’re stuck with the idiot son from ABC’s Carpoolers.

Have you all seen The Day After Tomorrow? You know, the uber global warming movie. In that, Denis Quaid makes an epic, heartfelt, absurd journey to save his son in the midst of the worst disaster the world’s ever known. Well, those same thought processes drive our main character to risk his and his friends’ lives to save his true love. Immediately after the movie, I told my wife to never do anything that stupid to save me. She quickly agreed.

Anyway, I can’t give much detail without spoiling a bit. All I can say is that if you’re planning on watching this, it must be done in the theater. After it was over, about 150 sat in our theater unable to move. It was like we couldn’t process everything. I’m not even sure if I liked it. But, I let myself be taking into JJ’s world, and it was the most intense movie I’ve ever seen.

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