B-D reviewer Slice has moved his way out here to Los Angeles so expect many more reviews from the movie aficionado from Chicago, but today we kick off his west coast adventure with his official review of the hotly anticipated Cloverfield, which you’ll all finally get to see this Friday. How did it par up? He loved it, I loved it -and the usually silent press all clapped (a very rare moment). Inside you’ll find Slice’s official review with mine coming in an hour or so. This weekend some thing has found us… and its complete awesomeness. Don’t forget to click here for our must see giant monster movie list.
Review BY: Slice
The movie captured my and everyone else’s attention when the ominous teaser ran before Transformers. My immediate reaction was “Awesome!” but in the months leading up to the film’s release, I became skeptical. I thought I had the film completely figured out and that it wouldn’t hold much surprise when I finally got to see it. Luckily, as it unfolded before my eyes, I was very wrong. If you’ve read anything about the movie, you know what it’s about, but you don’t know just how well it’s executed. I think a movie that this is going to get compared to a lot is Jurassic Park. It’s definitely not as good as that classic, but it succeeds in capturing suspense in the same way. I can see kids and teenagers watching Cloverfield in the theater today and having a similar experience to mine watching Jurassic Park 15 years ago.
The found footage angle of the film allows for a very fast pace and a very audience-involved journey. The film begins with just enough of a set up that we develop some goodwill towards our characters–it’s not overlong and it’s filled with some great comic moments. We meet a lot of people at Rob’s going away party (he’s moving to Japan!) but the most important of all of these intros is the time we spend with Hud, the fratboy-ish everyman who gets stuck videotaping the going-ons of the event. While the choice to make the character delightfully foolish might seem obvious, it ends up being brilliant because while we might not all be this character, we all know him. I also found myself thinking that if any other character type were making the kind of statements he was making, it would come off as trite, but in this case, he serves as a perfect guide. The other characters are all good in their own rights too. Perhaps the best aspect of them is that their fates are, for the most part, unpredictable. I sat there watching in actual suspense because I felt like anything could happen to these people.
This unpredictability is ultimately what really makes the film work. Cloverfield is a ride with more “holy s***” moments than any film in recent memory. But what about the monster(s)? You see more of them than you’d expect but less than any other similar movie. They are pretty frightening when they are on screen, but the mystery that surrounds them is what gives them their real strength.
Part of my skepticism coming into this film was that it was going to be one of those movies about the people, not the catastrophic action surrounding them. That’s not a bad concept but it’s been done a lot lately. Luckily, the film succeeds in both arenas and adds up to a monster of a ride (pun alert). Go see it now! In a theater with good sound!