Author Topic: Cloverfield  (Read 6069 times)

Najemikon

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Cloverfield
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:27:05 AM »
Cloverfield
5 out of 5


This is supposedly a tape found in what was "formerly Central Park" and details the attempts of a small group of people to rescue their friend after a mysterious and sustained attack on New York by a mysterious something. Or you could just say Monster Movie. Like every other monster movie you can think of. So it could be predictable and boring, but director Matt Reeves has done something incredible for modern cinematic entertainment. He's lifted the bar, just a little. This should be considered a milestone.

It starts off in a party and after ten minutes, I was fed-up of the, yes, predictable and boring soap opera unfolding. But this has to be by design to lull the viewer into a false sense of security because then we get the noise and the panic. From then, much of the film is a pure assault on the senses and one of the most original movies to come from Hollywood for a few years. Every now and again it drifts back to the soap opera, and the basic conceit of the camcorder stretches credibility frequently (conveniently films everything required; one heck of a battery, etc), but it always manages to snap back and make you jump and/or squirm (Statue of Liberty! Night vision!).

Hidden in the chaos is a brilliant piece of direction and editing that harks back to old fashioned movie making. CGI in recent years has become lazy, or perhaps because it's expensive, they insist on showing everything. But Matt Reeves positively refuses to show us much more than a tantalising glimpse here or there, bravely making his creature almost shy. This is the sort of audience manipulation that directors like Hitchcock and Spielberg built careers on. Yes, I think it's good enough to stand that comparison. That said the core story is far to simple and old to withstand such a comparison for long. Maybe there's a subtext if you want to find it, but narrative structure is an impossible dream! A lack of backstory obviously builds tension, but also makes for a simpler script.

Visually though, this film is triumphant and stands as testament to the longevity of cinema as viable entertainment in the face of video games. Phew. A few bits actually reminded me of Half-Life
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, but video games have a long way to go to look this good. With 3D just around the corner and directors with a vision like this to use it, Hollywood is in good hands.

But then the same could have once been said about The Matrix which also benefited from new ideas with no backstory. So please, no sequel. Unless it's bloody good.

lyonsden5

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 02:30:00 AM »
From what I read (have no idea where it was) there was talks of a sequel that wouldn't be a sequel. As I understood it the sequel was going to take place during the same time as the original movie only it would be from the government's POV (the ones who have the tape).

Not sure but it seems as though that would simply be an OK monster movie. Nothing like the original.

Has anyone else heard or read the same thing or something similar?

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2008, 03:40:45 AM »
Has anyone else heard or read the same thing or something similar?
You have not imagining it.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cloverfield/news/1706543/

But everyone remember what happen with the Blair Witch sequel? Even if I've find it much better I'm a rare exception...

Offline Achim

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008, 05:46:44 AM »
But everyone remember what happen with the Blair Witch sequel? Even if I've find it much better I'm a rare exception...
I think that is a good comparison right there.

I didn't think Blair Witch 2 was a great film, but it was passable at the least. The one thing one has to acknowledge that they did change the style entirely and didn't just try to do "more of the same". If Cloverfield 2 goes a similar way then there is potential.

I read one review about Cloverfield, whioch gave the film a 5/5 but said at the end: If they even do a sequel we'll reduce this to 4/5. :laugh:

Najemikon

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 10:16:52 AM »
I read one review about Cloverfield, whioch gave the film a 5/5 but said at the end: If they even do a sequel we'll reduce this to 4/5. :laugh:

That might have been Empire. They said, do a sequel, we're taking back two stars! :laugh:

But everyone remember what happen with the Blair Witch sequel? Even if I've find it much better I'm a rare exception...

The fact is, a sequel to this will be very difficult. Same approach using someone with a camera will stretch it past credibility, while doing it like a regular film (perhaps the only way of building a backstory) will betray the first one as a gimmick. Which is exactly what happened with The Matrix. That was a much better film until they had to explain how it worked and what should happen next. At that point, all the cool bullet-time atmosphere was shown to be nothing more than a magician's illusion.

I suppose if they follow the military, they could do it like Aliens with multiple camera feeds. They'll be accused of ripping off a classic, but no-ones done it in the 20+ years since anywhere near as well, so they could ride it.

I forgot to say in my first post, my praise for this film has to be put in context as a Hollywood film. The Host is just as good and also found a few original ways to tell the story of a monster. In fact, they both concentrate on a small group of people looking for one of their own instead of running with the crowd. 

Offline Achim

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 02:13:23 PM »
I read one review about Cloverfield, whioch gave the film a 5/5 but said at the end: If they even do a sequel we'll reduce this to 4/5. :laugh:

That might have been Empire. They said, do a sequel, we're taking back two stars! :laugh:
Yep, that was it! (I always buy Empire (I may be able to get it in Taiwan, but actually never even bothered to check) when I fly to Germany and for the return. Makes for great in-flight reading.)

Quote
I forgot to say in my first post, my praise for this film has to be put in context as a Hollywood film. The Host is just as good and also found a few original ways to tell the story of a monster. In fact, they both concentrate on a small group of people looking for one of their own instead of running with the crowd. 
:o Doh! I never even seen the parallel (calling it similraity would even be an understatement) to The Host: which is indeed a great film too.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 05:35:11 AM »
But then the same could have once been said about The Matrix which also benefited from new ideas with no backstory.

So, Cloverfield is the new Matrix? I still have a hard time to believe that. But even so, I do wonder what you would consider the new Dark City? Now that might be a movie I want to watch.

:whistle:
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 12:00:17 PM »
Well, only in the sense that The Matrix is widely considered one the milestones which tried something new and influenced movies ever since. I do agree with that and I do like it as film in its own right, but always found it to be over-hyped and lacking substance. The sequels proved there never was any substance. If (more when!) Cloverfield 2 is released, maybe the same will be proved. I hope not though.

What the heck is "Cloverfield" anyway? I'm really hoping that it means something that the writers already know about. I love it when authors in any medium write a whole story, know all the angles from day one, but only release one viewpoint. Like Star Wars starting on episode 4, or Tarantino knowing how Reservoir Dogs links to Pulp Fiction, but has never spelled it out...

Najemikon

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2010, 10:12:48 PM »
Just watched this again, probably third or fourth time, but on Blu-Ray now. The movie itself is weakened by repeat viewings, like noticing the camera man is a bigger pain in the arse or the myriad problems with the camera conceit idea, and wouldn't it be nice if it could be a bit more horror than thriller, etc, but it's also strengthened. The crappy soap opera start is a lot more clever than I first gave it credit for, especially the timing of the cuts into old recordings, and it hasn't lost any of its raw exciting power. It's still a high watermark for the "real footage found" idea.

Blu-Ray offers the same story. Obviously it's visually much better and the sound... well, I'll come to that in a moment. But it suffers slightly in hi-def because it reveals a few cheap effects moments. Most of the bridge sequence is a backdrop and noting that takes you out of the story for a moment.

Ah, but the sound! I've recently bought a new receiver (Onkyo 607, bargain in May Day sale) and a friend has given me his sub-woofer for a pittance, despite my protests he should ask for more because it turns out it's a much loved and highly respected flagship model, that despite being a few years old, more than holds its own (Rel Strata III). It's a massive improvement on my previous Panasonic model (I've used the other speakers, but the sub was only compatible with the DVD player).

Anyway. Cloverfield is a frigging awesome test piece! I mean, really, it feels like that bloody monster is right outside, gnawing on the house. The bit with the dust cloud near the start is astonishing as the low rumble comes up the street and it starts stomping around and smashing shit.

If you have a sound system remotely worth a damn, feed it Cloverfield. You owe it that much. :thumbup:

When I first had my Panasonic set, War of the Worlds was my first impressive test. Felt like the damn tripods were coming out of my floor. I'm actually nervous about trying it again now with this new sub... I really can't afford to rebuild my house!  :fingerchew:

Offline Antares

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2010, 10:55:14 PM »
Isn't it great when you have a really good subwoofer! I have a Hsu Research HRS-12VU that is simply jaw-dropping in its performance. It's crisp and clear down to 20hz. You should hear the Ents walking in the LotR trilogy or any battle scene from that series.  :stars:

When I first bought it, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time), couldn't understand why I was parting with $1000 for just one speaker. I finally got it setup and calibrated right, so I decided to test it out with Braveheart, which had just hit the rental market. When the horse charging scene came up, I thought my whole apartment was going to crumble to pieces. I look over at her and she's awestruck, she looks over at me and I say to her, That's why I spent $1000:laugh:

MEJHarrison

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2010, 11:39:52 PM »
I've seen this movie 2-3 times now.  And I've hated every viewing.  I can't stand this movie.

For me the biggest problem is:

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Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 12:09:08 AM »
I've seen this movie 2-3 times now.  And I've hated every viewing.  I can't stand this movie.

For me the biggest problem is:

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I understand that feeling...I don't care for that myself.
It also didn't help me that I got a horrid headache when watching it in the theater.  After that, I haven't wanted to see it again.

karmesinrot

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2010, 12:54:18 AM »
I have to disagree with people saying that the ending is too bleak. I think all too often movies go with the happy ever after ending and its just predictable. I

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2010, 01:36:15 AM »
I've seen this movie 2-3 times now.  And I've hated every viewing.  I can't stand this movie.

For me the biggest problem is:

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Certainly not for me, since I hate The Myst for the exact opposite reason of why you hate Cloverfield
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Critter

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Re: Cloverfield
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2010, 02:23:20 AM »
I'm surprised you gave this one 5/5 Jon, I saw it I think... 2 or 3 times at the cinema and I would give it maybe 3/5 tops. There was about 25-30 minutes in the film that I loved, and that was around the middle when they were running through the city and it was just chaos, that was perfect. I felt like I was actually in a battlefield becuase as you said, the sound was great. The start to me was almost so boring that I almost gave up, and the last half hour or so was just annoying. These people suddenly started to survive everything, even helicopter crashes and then be able to get out and run afterwards. And not to mention the final moments. I mean they were in the middle of a big open park and then suddenly the monster was behind them. Something the size of skyscrapers cannot sneek up on you!