20140518

A film review: 'Cloverfield'

Origin: USA
Language: English
Director: Matt Reeves
Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
Writer: Drew Goddard
Genres:
Thriller / science fiction
Casts: Lizzy Caplan, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel
Release: January 18, 2008
Studio: Bad Robot Productions
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Okay. This is also not the film I said I'd review, but rather the latest film I've watched off of my hard drive quite recently.

I just feel like this film needs to be reviewed in a proper manner like this and... I really wanted to say this about Cloverfield; this is just a very average creature feature, despite its presentation. Fuck the hype of this film, man. Doesn't mean jack.

This film, back in the day, apparently was like TV-hyped, Internet-hyped, and even friend-hyped... at least, that's how I remembered it. The gimmick was so intense, I recalled feeling so bad for not catching it in the cinemas and experience its supposed bad-assery and fake authenticity (by that I mean, its presentation; a "found footage," a style in film that got re-popularised and milked till it's sour by the Paranormal Activity franchise and many other struggling American horror films that uses this style in order to force scares out of the moviegoers [except for Sinister; that one's good!]... that was revived by The Blair Witch Project [I really should watch it when I feel like it], which in turn, I think, got inspired by the notorious Cannibal Holocaust).

Premise wise, it follows an initially innocent footage recovered by the United States Department of Defense of a recording by Hud (T.J. Miller) of a farewell party for his friend Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who has a crush on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), in which his intrusive behaviours on meddling with Rob's relationship with his friend-turned-crush Beth (Odette Yustman) annoys the heck out of Lily (Jessica Lucas), the girlfriend of Rob's brother, Jason (Mike Vogel) which turns into a documentation of the destruction of New York City orchestrated by a mysterious creature that came out of nowhere, where the said characters can be seen trying to survive the horrors of the attack. Wow... that's a mouthful, when in fact the plot is just basically about an innocent party night gone horribly wrong on an epic scale 'cause some monster fucks it up.

Okay. On with the review. I don't really give a crap about Beth and Rob or whatever problems or inner conflicts any of the characters have. Heck, I don't even think whatever happened between them was the cause of the creature's arrival. All I really care about is the monster; where it came from and why does it want to attack New York all of a sudden, and more importantly... why the codename 'Cloverfield'? Since this is a personal footage that was recovered, none of that stuff were explained, as Hud, the camera's original owner, and the focused survivors are just average New Yorkers and not part of the team that tries to investigate/tackle this phenomenon. Just by having them rendezvous with the US Defense team who treats remaining citizens that are either dead, badly injured, or infected by Cloverfield's spawns in order to explain what the hell just happened to New York doesn't really do much; they're just there to show the audience what the monster can do to them and that's it. I guess no one shall ever know what the creature really wants... unless... the studio execs actually do know about it, but they want us to buy the tie-in products first should we want to actually know about Cloverfield's origins and motives instead of putting it directly into the film's narrative. If that's the case, then fuck you guys, you capitalist pricks!

On the film's approach to its storytelling, I think what the filmmakers attempted to pull here is that they tried so hard to make a social commentary on modern society's 'need' to document every little thing that happens around them even in the brink despair without even thinking of any consequences rather than giving the audience an actual story to get involved in. That itself is a major no-no. And making Hud screaming and shouting in fascination and fear doesn't make his documentation genuine, but rather forced.

In conclusion, Cloverfield IS trying to be different in some respect, but it doesn't really work for me (or anyone else that agrees with me). Maybe the visual effects are astounding and all (it is important for this to be top-notch in order to make it a believable 'found footage'), but in a film about gigantic monsters, it's really all about these assholes' massacres and ways to keep them at bay that matters most. I'd rather off wait for the Godzilla reboot (which I HOPE I get to see in cinemas very soon) if I wanted a creature feature with a narrative and human drama that is actually means something and related to each other rather than simply put a human drama just for human drama sake, like what Cloverfield had done.

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