Cloverfield (2008)

Movie Review
photo for Cloverfield review

Rating (1-5):photo of Kid Reviewer Donut Rating

Cloverfield Review by Nick
Official Movie Site
Film Details

Starring: Mr. Grumpy Pants and his band of biting buggers
Genre: Action, Horror

If you like it, STUMBLE IT.

Summary: I saw the Cloverfield monster, and it’s huge! A huge thrill ride, too.

Okay, I know most of you want to get to the cloverfield review right away, so I’ll do that first. However, the experience of the early screening, and talking with the fans, theater folks, and Paramount reps was cool, so I’ll hit that after the Cloverfield movie review.

NOTE: HERE THERE BE CLOVERFIELD SPOILERS

Overall, I thought there was lots of excitement. At times my heart was beating very fast. It’s one thing to be in a dark tunnel full of rats, it’s quite another when those rats are running from some sick creatures that will jump your face and sink their teeth in your chest. I thought the movie was awesome as a roller coaster ride, especially as a fan of the marketing campaign since the day the trailer hit last July. However it wasn’t quite the whole theme park. The characters were realistic, but rather normal. No outstanding performances, and the movie just didn’t have the full-story feel of a classic five star release. In some scenes people were giggling, when the director may have meant for it to be serious. One amusing twist, I think HUD was the fav character in the movie, supplying nerdy humor throughout. Since he is holding the camera he’s the least seen but most heard.

The Cloverfield Monster
Of course, most ‘pre-fans’ won’t give a w00t! about character performances, it’s the action and monster they want to see, and they get plenty of looks before it’s all over. The monster was def awesome. I think it will surprise many who were trying to guess its nature. It was big, maybe several blocks long when looking down from head to tale. It could rise up skyscraper high when it wanted, crawl around on weird arthropod legs, and even pull itself along like a slug with elbows. I’m glad producer JJ Abrams and/or director Matt Reeves chose this to be the ‘American Monster’.
It wasn’t Voltron, it wasn’t a whale, it wasn’t Cthulu, but it was one big ugly mess! It was as if they took parts of sea animals, threw in some extra arms and legs, and put them in a blender 400 hundred feet tall. I saw some definite similarities between the four creatures featured on the hack of the Tagruato site. (Tanner Crab, Irukandji Jellyfish, Dumbo Octopus, and Ogre fish) I’d be comfortable if they suggested it was a mutation involving all those deep sea creatures. Because there are no photos of the monster yet, below is my second attempt to draw the monster from memory.

cloverfield monster crawling cloverfield monster standing
(click picture for full page view)

[edit: I just found the below sketch posted by Chuparex at the Unfiction forums. It is my favorite depiction of the monster so far, and I've seen it twice now and discussed it with many}
Cloverfield monster sketch

This image just posted in at NYmag.com:

MGP seemed to have the teeth of the ogre fish (known as a fangtooth), definitely something around the ears akin to the Dumbo Octopus, as they swelled, ala the ear of Grendel in the recent Beowulf. It also had grey skin along the head which was similar in texture to an octopus, as opposed to scales, fins or ridges. The ‘arms’ are much like a crab or spider. It also might have had some long tentacles it could whip out and smack things, and I think that was the part it may have gotten from the jellyfish. That could have been the tail I saw, perhaps similar to a giant squid’s tentacle, but I can’t be sure on one viewing. As a refresher, below are the four deep sea creatures cut from the Tagruato hack page: (and for those unfamiliar with the rather involved story leading up to the movie, go to CloverfieldClues and start reading from the beginning of that excellent resource.)

Critters
There are smaller creatures, lots of them, and they fall off of Mr. Grumpy Pants (MGP). I think MGP can actually choose to shake them loose when he wants to really cause problems for those pesky military assaults. The critters are crablike, (remind me of Zergs from the Starcraft video game, or the bugs in Starship Troopers). They are fast, like to spring at you, and leave a nasty bite. I think most of the pre-fans know what happens to someone when they get bitten. I won’t tell you what happens when Marlene grows 40 pant sizes in two seconds, but there will be blood.

First Person View
Watching the story through the first-person view was very realistic, and helped create a sense of panic and fear. There were also several ‘gotcha’ moments, which brought a reaction from the audience. BE WARNED, the camera is very shaky and downright dizzying at times. There were maybe half a dozen times when the characters were in a pinch, and had to take off running. HUD would forget looking through the lens and just book it with the camera running. It was the realistic thing to do, but jarring and spinning views of feet on passing pavement, blurred buildings, and taking corners, can make you dizzy. Three ladies I interviewed afterwards said they felt queasy, and I was told there was another woman in the restroom that was really nauseous/sick. Another blogger mentioned this in his
Cloverfield Sick
review. If you get motion sick easy, you might want to take some meds before going. I didn’t feel anything, but do admit the camera was all over the place at times. There was no other view during the film. It started with the tape rolling, and ended that way. However, they used a really brilliant idea to show some back-story, without interferring with the hand-held camera idea. Also, as predicted, there were a few situations where the camera looked at a tv screen, to show a wider view of what was going on in the city.

Marketing vs Movie
Just wanted to add that I didn’t see any part of the viral marketing back-story with a significant role in the movie. Yes, there’s a tanker burning that looks like it’s from Tagruato, but the company, the Chuai station, Slusho!, Myspace pages, jamielovesteddy.com, nor seabed nectar is not important in the movie. For that reason, I think the marketing campaign gives the ‘pre-fans’ a much more entertaining experience than those who haven’t checked out the history or participated in the fun. I hold out hope for a dessert on this 7 course meal: I’m hoping that after the movie has launched for a few weeks, that the producers may continue some of the story elements to wrap up loose ends with Tagruato/Chaui, so we can extend our fun. BTW, there’s no cause given for the monster’s appearance in the city, and he seems to have no purpose other than to walk around tearing stuff up and killing folks.

The Ending — well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. I do plan to see the movie again, probably several times. Cloverfield is the type of movie where I’ll probably notice quite a number of things the more I see it, especially with my heart a little calmer, and my eyes knowing just where to look next.

Recommend for: 12 years and above.

The Jan. 10 Screening and Interviews
I have plenty to say on this account. It was a super evening, but I’m waaaaay too tired tonight. I’ll add this part of the report after school. Quick shout out to interviewees Luciano, Maurine, Ryan, Logan, and Paramount reps Zach and Justin.

blogger group at Cloverfield screening photo from Cloverfield screening Venom photo from Spiderman 3 movie review

Filed under: Movie Reviews | Posted on January 10th, 2008 by Nick

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15 Responses to “Cloverfield (2008)”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    That movie was awesome. I was at the screening last night, remember me? I was one of the two spanish guys there who couldn’t stop talking about the ARG with you. I was the tall one. LOL.

  2. Nick Says:

    Yeah, I remember. You understood about the ARG game. That was frickin’ cool last night. Big ol’ ugly monster.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Is this how the monster looks?
    Cloverfield Monster

  4. Ryan Says:

    Hey, you just commented to my post on http://www.projectcloverfield.com lol. I sat next to you in the theater in gainsville and was the one who was there at 5:30 with yall, lol. I liked the movie alot. Was kinda dissapointed a bit though with the lack of cherecter development in the movie. Was also a bit dissapointed with the lack of background as well. I loved the ending. Not knowing REALLY REALLY who died and who lived. not knowing if the monster is dead or alive. The movie sadly wasn’t the type of movie though that left me thinking about it the entire way home…. and I had a 2 hour drive home. I know some movies that I have gone to see and the next morning when I wake up thats all I think about…… this movie wasn’t that way for me. I REALLY enjoyed it at the theater but didn’t really think much of it, sadly afterwards.

    keep up the good work.

  5. Nick Says:

    Ryan,

    Thanks for stopping by. It was so cool to talk with you at the screening. I still haven’t posted up my thoughts about going to the show. I’ve been too busy fiddling with the drawings of the monster. I still plan to see it again on the big screen; I’m sure I’ll notice more stuff the second time.

    Nick

  6. TeenExposure Says:

    Wow…that movie was amazing!
    My friends and I were so excited to see that movie. Afterwards they kept complaining about how gay the movie was. I for one thought it was very thrilling…i almst got kicked out because i was screaming too much….and too loud haha.
    I loved how in the begining the monster only appered in the dark or only showed it’s tail….i thought that kept the veiwers guessing. i was about to wet my jeans….honestly that movie was so good. words cannot explain.
    haha i’m such a geek lol

    -Jenny

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The movie sucked. I didn’t even watch the whole thing. The camera bobbing all around, up / down, side -to- side, dropping down to views of everyone shoes was just awful. I actually started getting motion sickness and had to leave. Aside from that, the acting was lame, too much time upfront spent on filming the stupid party….all in all the biggest waste of money…if I could get my money back, I would.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    ok, i’ve been hearing rumors that during the ferris wheel scene that the monster can be seen falling into the water in the background. is that true because i saw no such thing!!

  9. Nick Says:

    To answer your question:
    “is that true because i saw no such thing!!”

    You don’t see the monster fall into the water, but you definitely see something unusual fall into the water. I watched closely my second viewing. It’s just out near the boat on the right, but too big to be a bird.

    In fact, the director of the movie already confirmed that was a little surprise they stuck in the movie, and it’s supposed to be something from outerspace I think. Who knows, but it’s definitely in there.

  10. Topplexxfallacy Says:

    Yeah you do see something fall.
    And it IS from outerspace, my friends and I were talking about it and we thought that it could have been a alien egg that fell into the ocean and grew (really fast) into the monster you see destroying New York.

    haha….its just a guess, its probably wrong

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I have to say that I might be the only person who HATED Cloverfield. I am a normal male, with a family and have a steady job. I have not been diagnosed with any mental problems and I am a horror flick fan. That being said, I would have rather hit myself in the head with a hammer for 90 minutes than see this film!! It was the worst movie I had ever seen. For those of us that live in reality, several questions come to mind about the movie: With all the technology we possess, why could not the military kill this thing and how come the world scientists did not detect this thing earlier? I am sorry but if this really happened, it would be crushed shortly after showing itself. The first person perspective did not add to the movie at all. In fact, it made the experience worse!! By viewing this movie, I am afraid I have made myself mentally disabled and all of you are equally handicapped for posting great reviews. I hold no hope for the movie industry and it’s attempt to capture the viewing audience’s attention. More of a backstory might have helped cloverfield but that has been done to death (Godzilla and Gargantua come to mind). Old story same old shit that has people flocking in packs to throw their money into nothing. As punishment to myself, I am dressing up as the cloverfield monster and run into traffic. I will be better off that way!!!!

  12. Nick Says:

    Dear ‘Anonymous’ – I don’t believe you. I think as soon as the sequel is made, you will be in line to watch it too. I don’t say it was the best movie ever, but to trash it like you did doesn’t make sense. Too many people liked it. I think you just wanted it to be filmed without shaking, and to give you the answers to everything. It wasn’t about the battle between the ‘good guys’ and the monster, like every other monster movie made. Maybe it was hurt, or maybe it has some force field,we don’t know, becuase the movie wasn’t about killing it or it’s special powers. It was about the people caught in the middle who don’t care about the answer to those questions.

  13. jOyEnZ Says:

    OMG I JUST FINISHED WATCHING THE MOVIE AND I JUST HAD A HELLUVA CLOVERFIELD…OMGOSH FREAKING KEEPING ME STANDING AND LIKE JUMPING AROUND WHILE WATCHING….SHOOOT THIS IS SO GOOD BELIEVE ME…OR SHOULD I SAY UHMMM WOW I CAN’T FIND A WORD…IT’S THE MOST SCARIEST LOVE STORY I’VE SEEN SO FAR I THINK…NICCEEEEEE

    http:/joyenz-ordeal.blogspot.com

  14. Cloverfield Ferris Wheel Scene Picture | All Wheels Blog Says:

    [...] cloverfield ferris wheel scene picture kidreviewer.com [...]

  15. Tyo Says:

    This guy is way too funny. The whole sad joke about not finding anonye to go to the movie with. Dude, you should of just gone. It was worth it and I went twice. How long it took him to get the thing to work and when it did, it didn’t work very well. I am glad I didn’t try to buy that thing. The best part was at he ending when he held his hand up to end his video was priceless. Love both the Tron (classic) and Tron Legacy and hope they make more of them.

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