Cloverfield
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for violence, terror and disturbing images)
Genre
Directed By
Matt Reeves
Run Time
1 hour 25 minutes
Cast
Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David
Theatre Release
January 18, 2008 by Paramount

Most monster or disaster films tend to have a story scale about the size of Godzilla himself. They chronicle their stories on the extreme macro level—from the perspective of scientists uncovering the origins of the situation, of military officers debating response strategy, of political leaders being briefed, and of the hero saving the day. You're the omniscient viewer seeing all sides.

Meanwhile, random extras scream and run while buildings topple and landmarks explode.

In contrast, Cloverfield could exist within one of those giant, multi-dimensional Godzilla-type movies. You'd just have to give a video camera to a random running-and-screaming extra. That guy doesn't know about any scientists. He doesn't know if this is only happening in his city. He doesn't even know what is happening to his city. He doesn't know what's doing it—or where it came from. He doesn't really care. He just wants to survive.

By filming a normally grand-scaled monster movie with the intimate and limited viewpoint of The Blair Witch Project, this J. J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) produced film brings intensity, freshness and a sense of personal danger to a genre that needed a kick start. In fact, this $30 million film (with surprisingly good special effects) could be a tutorial to big-budget action directors who create removed, distant and sterile big-scale movies with characters you don't care about. (I'm talking to you, Michael Bay.)

The movie begins with a Department of Defense tagline identifying the following footage as a case designated "Cloverfield." It apparently came from a camera found in U.S. 442, the area formerly known as New York's Central Park. The shaky amateur video starts as random home movies and a going-away party for Rob Hawkins ...

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