Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
Cloverfield: Can it live up to its hype? (Paramount)
When Transformers opened last July 3 it was almost overshadowed by the trailer that preceded it. The trailer boasted no title, just the release date of 01-18-08 and some shaky, handheld camera shots that included the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down a Manhattan street. Since the film being touted came from J. J. Abrams (creator of Alias and Lost ), it created a massive buzz. Abrams wouldn't even reveal the film's title at the Comic-Con later that July. There was a teaser poster unveiled that showed the Statue of Liberty without a head and a wake in the water heading to New York that implied a big creature. All Abrams would fess up to at the pop culture con-fab was the fact that while promoting Mission Impossible III in Japan, he and his son came across a store with shelf after shelf of Godzilla toys. That's when he realized that the U.S. needed a monster movie like that. I love King Kong, he confessed at his Comic-Con panel, he's adorable, but I wanted something that was just insane.
Abrams did get something insane. Insane viral marketing for his film months before it even came out. Wild speculation ran rampant on the Internet, people proposed that it was a new Godzilla movie, an H.P.Lovercraft creature, even Voltron! Rumors spread about the title, the story, everything. Not until late October did Abrams confirm that the title was Cloverfield (opening January 18 throughout San Diego), but his refusal to provide any additional information about the film, and specifically about the monster, just kept the Internet a buzz.
January 18, 2008 at 11:20 PM
It's "palate" cleanser. Not "palette", which is something that holds paint. -----
January 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM
Thanks spell-checker rinks! I will correct my mistake.
January 18, 2008 at 11:47 PM
That's the monster? Ew...
January 19, 2008 at 12:04 AM
Beth, you nailed it. I asked the 2 other guys who sat through the end credits with me when the rest of the movie would be shown. Had they provided a backstory for the creature it might have been a far different movie. In Abrams' defense I'll say that the atmosphere of horror was as effective as any movie I can recall (less is more...) and monster exposition might have ruined that - not to mention if the monster cannot be destroyed, how do you end the movie?
January 19, 2008 at 12:10 AM
P.S. Marlena's fate was shocking and very well written. "We have a bite!" --- "We have a bite!" Instead of the cliche of the clueless, cowboys-on-steroids military, the staff of the makeshift clinic had, in just an hour or two, determined exactly what a "bite" entailed and took direct, unwavering and effective, if tragic, action. I also noticed that all the army people were capable, focused and fearless in the face of utter futility and not one of them uttered a cliche or got into histrionics.
January 19, 2008 at 02:55 AM
Dave G, Yeah, I'll agree that the "bite" scene was good. But couldn't we have had more of that and less of the party farewells? I think I would have liked the film better if it started with everyone on the roof wondering what had happened, and just skipped everything that came before.
January 19, 2008 at 02:59 AM
I have read quite a lot of reviews and it seems divided amongst people who enjoyed a little tweak on a creature feature, and people who wanted to know everything. WHY? Why must everything be answered for you? So the entire movie blows because they didn't sit the audience down with a scientist character and a general character and explain point for point what the monster is, where it came from, etc. I don't always want to know EVERYTHING! That way, I get to put the pieces together in my own mind, and I keep thinking about the movie for a long time. That's satisfying to me. Cloverfield was a highly satisfying flick.
January 19, 2008 at 03:41 AM
Your review sounds like you wanted the movie to be something it wasn't rather than accept it for what it is.
January 19, 2008 at 04:48 AM
You're right. I mean, if we don't see the monster in the first ten minutes, then something's wrong. I mean...why would you want to spend time developing a scene around a party, getting to know characters and exploring their relationships, when all you care about is the monster? Maybe it was J.J. Abrams idea of misdirecting you with the subtle things that made the first big moment truly terrifying. I don't know, that's just me. Maybe he should have just set the camera on a tripod and panned back and forth between two guys in suits cuddling on model sets of NYC.
January 19, 2008 at 04:52 AM
A well-written review, but I think it was refreshing that this WASN'T the cliche monster movie. I mean, look at the perspective it's told from. It's the people in the street, those running civilians screaming "Gojira!" They don't care where it comes from, why it's here, what it can do. All they care about is getting away from it. This isn't your typical monster movie. "Host" is a typical monster movie, and it's a good movie, granted. Abrams created "Cloverfield" to go against the mold of monster movies, and that's something that needs to be taken into account before you see it.
January 19, 2008 at 05:16 AM
Well written but perhaps you missed the entire point of the movie. I don't understand how you bash the fact they introduce us to characters and then say no one cares about them. But that's almost an aside. This wasn't a monster movie. This was a survival movie. The event was a monster attack. The concept of Cloverfield was to portray the most terrifying night imaginable. It wasn't to document a monster attack, or show a government analysis of what the monster is, where it came from, etc... Abrams wanted us to see what it would be like from the eyes of someone there. You're not supposed to know where the beast came from. You're not supposed to know why it attacked. Those aren't things someone caught in the middle of at as it's happening would know. Sure it was silly for them to go back for Beth. It's also silly to think a monster would fall from the sky into the ocean off NYC (you did catch that in the end right?) and go on a violent rampage. The characters weren't unlikable at all. Hud was a bit obnoxious, but we all have friends like that. Every character there was pretty typical of friends most of us have. I'm not surprised you didn't like the movie. It's obvious you missed the entire concept of the movie. You probably thought Signs was about aliens too. I think most people will dislike Cloverfield because, like you, they're expecting an action packed typical monster film. The Host was great, but it's not even the same type of movie Cloverfield is. Sorry, you were just way off with this one...
January 19, 2008 at 05:32 AM
In the end of the movie, they said "It's still alive" (In reverse) so there will be a sequel. Also I found this movie very new and refreshing, also a bit scary. I don't see how anyone could not like this movie other then the fact that the camera was too shaky.
January 19, 2008 at 05:51 AM
i just came from this movie ,my friends and i and a good number of other people walked out after 40 miunties,the camera work made a lot of us sick,i thought i was going to heave,i think my friend said it best i just want those 40 minutes of my life back,i guess the makers of this film,did not learn from the blair witch project,that is people DO NOT LIKE SHAKY CAMERA WORK,its not fun to watch so why put it in a major motion picture,and it was all there for the 40 minutes i stayed,i guess i cant judge this movie ,as a whole ,but i think one should enjoy a film not enough to walk out of it.what i did see could of and should been done so much differnty,nuff said
January 19, 2008 at 06:05 AM
A monster movie about a bunch of dumb Gen Y types running for their lives for 60 minutes. Movie should have been a lot more about the monster, and far less about the dumb Gen Y "hipsters."
January 19, 2008 at 06:13 AM
"A well-written review, but I think it was refreshing that this WASNT the cliche monster movie. I mean, look at the perspective its told from. Its the people in the street, those running civilians screaming Gojira! Disagree totally - this was a totally cliche film dressed up with hip held-held camera moves. Heck the subway scene where they turn on the night vision revealing the crawling smaller monsters was ripped from about 10 other sci-fi films. So many genre conventions, so little character development (I didn't care about a single character). Sorry, this was over-hyped rubbish and I didn't even buy into the hype.
January 19, 2008 at 06:18 AM
You say they didn't provide a back story for the monster, huh? Well, go look through the viral marketing made before the movie. It basically says: Japanese man discovers creatures eggs that his mom found. Mom dies. Japanese man puts eggs into soft drink, makes it healthy, delicious and addicting. Rob gets hired to go to japan as VP of the corporation. Japanese man ships secret ingredient for drink trial in New York Creature discovers ship, having those eggs being It's eggs. Destroys ship. Attacks city. I think the shaky camera work was very good. It did bug me once or twice, taking me out of the moment, but the rest made you feel there. You saw it through the eyes of these main characters, which I thought was very clever (Even if it had been done in other movies) To "David", I don't see whats unlikeable about these "Gen Y hipsters" other than the one girl (Whom I forget her name) that dies from the biter, who I thought was very annoying. Also, I find it funny that you can't respond to Jared's response, even to admit he completely owned you.
January 19, 2008 at 06:19 AM
I agree with Jared above me here, the real issue most people are having with the movie is plain and simply the view being taken when they walk into the theaters which is the number one factor in people hating most movies really. It seems that when you came in you expected to see a monster movie and nothing less would do. So of course you won't like the movie. I however read up on what little was told and since I knew that the movie would be entirely on the hand cam, I assumed instead that this movie was like any good zombie movie in that the monsters are a backdrop to the actual story. In a zombie movie, the question isn't "Why are there zombies?" Is any stupid reason they give you going to be a good enough reason to make you like the movie better? It's irrelevant to the plot which is how people react to the entire world going to hell. In this movie although it wasn't the world going to hell, it was their world going to hell and if you were told that the monster was a whale fetus which incubated inside the body of it's dead mother who was severely irradiated during nuclear testing during the cold war will that make it any better? Would the movie be any better if we spent 20 minutes having a scientist played by Pierce Brosnan pointing out how it flinches when it is hit by rockets and thus feels pain just like every other vertebrate creature in the world? Of course he would do so very emotionally only the general would insist that it must be destroyed not "understood" because it is a threat only to have Brosnan find out that it had run out of food in the ocean due to overfishing in the Atlantic and thus went up on land in order to try and find more. Add in any other cliches you would like and boom you have your monster movie that was probably what was expected, except that this wasn't a monster movie. This was a story of survival, of what happened to a few of the other million or so people in the area who aren't played by Pierce Brosnan, whoever would play his love interest and perhaps Gary Coleman as the unwavering general (They were working on a budget after all). If you really want an explanation for where it came from and what it is doing, feel free to ask and I will tell you as many as you would like to hear, and then as you read have it explained in your head by anyone you want in a lab coat while suspending your disbelief at how they happen to know anything about it. The perspective? Yes, that can be an issue and that, is mostly opinion. I for one thought it a stroke of genius to do the entire film in that way and loved how they were filming over top of another tape which cut in every now and then as a way to add more story behind the main couple but this is entirely opinion and there is no reason for me to disagree with any objections anyone has regarding it. But calling this a bad monster movie is much like calling it a bad romantic movie or a bad Animal House sequel because although it may have a monster, a bit of romance and a party with an obnoxious buddy trying to get laid, that's not the whole of the movie nor the kind of movie it was ever intended to be.
January 19, 2008 at 06:29 AM
This is one of the worst movies I have ever watched. Trying to portray a sense of realism through shaky camera effects is nauseating at best. The story ended abruptly (we do not even know what happened to the monster and to America) and all the non relevant crap in the beginning took its toll. I sweared I yawned more than 5 times during the nonsense at the beginning and had to rest my eyes so often in order to prevent myself from throwing up on my friend next to me. I am positively spooked as to how such a raw product can be turned into a film. Seldom do I feel so compelled to write a negative review for a trashy film but this was the last straw.
January 19, 2008 at 06:39 AM
Hmmm, just saw it and came back like an hour ago, I really felt moved by this movie. Why? you ask. Because it was completely different than any other film I've seen. This movie had characters that you DID care about, and the movie is NOT about a monster. It's about a group of people dealing with crisis. Of course there isn't going to be perfect shots. Even at a party, because even before chaos erupted, it shows that you are a decent human being rather than shoving the lens in someones face. There were ZERO cliches I've found, except for the main guy saying "if your gonna stop me, shoot me". But at a time where simple choices are few and far between, where a guy and his girl are separated, the guy's cell phone's battery is dying, there are bombs and such going off. An overload of sense. Who can make a clear cut, logical decision? because if I had that shit happen to me, I sure wouldn't pull out a magical plan off sheets of paper and direct my friends like some random commando. C'mon you guys, this review, as I DO respect other people's opinions, simply nitpicks at a movie that provided what I personally thought cloverfield to be ultimately satisfying experience, where the realm of human emotion and the onslaught of events assail and beside any opinion or prediction previously held. Where a monster movie strives to show a different, more personal story and perspective and kicking off cliches and/or gimmicks. The monster who dived into the ocean at the beach scene at the last shot I haven't seen before, As well the lack of completion or details of the monster's whereabouts. I heard they are hinting a sequel which might change my thoughts on this film. But I am happy that didn't say "It was an alien from mars!!!" or some military room, where people sitting at a large round table, talking about the "release of experiment 1293 on sector 4, base 3 had escaped". Now that, ladies and gentlemen, would be a cliche experience.
January 19, 2008 at 07:03 AM
Are you kidding me? The Host didnt even have a direction, it was a complete mess. Keep your 'everything foreign is better' snobbery to yourself and just write a review without these stupid comparisons.
January 19, 2008 at 07:16 AM
It's "preceded" not "proceeded"
January 19, 2008 at 07:24 AM
The prior (added below) four comments says it all. Yes the beginning left you wondering "Ok, when are we getting to the good stuff?" but it was neccessary to set the scene for what was to become a horrific night. This movie rocks! It was fun and frustrating at the same time because it puts you in the action as you would have seen it unfolding if you had been one of the party-goers. You want to know more but since you are there, you only know what is immediately going on around you, as it would be in real life. Granted some of the actions of the main character are just plain nuts but come on, this movie is obviously not realistic. This movie was ingenius in its use of the first person/documentary view point of a crisis going on around you and makes you feel like you are there with the characters. Cloverfield January 18th, 2008 by Beth Accomando Cloverfield: Can it live up to its hype? (Paramount) When Transformers opened last July 3 it was almost overshadowed by the trailer that proceeded it. The trailer boasted no title, just the release date of 01-18-08 and some shaky, handheld camera shots that included the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down a Manhattan street. Since the film being touted came from J. J. Abrams (creator of Alias and Lost), it created a massive buzz. Abrams wouldnt even reveal the films title at the Comic-Con later that July. There was a teaser poster unveiled that showed the Statue of Liberty without a head and a wake in the water heading to New York that implied a big creature. All Abrams would fess up to at the pop culture con-fab was the fact that while promoting Mission Impossible III in Japan, he and his son came across a store with shelf after shelf of Godzilla toys. Thats when he realized that the U.S. needed monster movie like that. I love King Kong, he confessed at his Comic-Con panel, hes adorable, but I wanted something that was just insane. Abrams did get something insane insane viral marketing for his film months before it even came out. Wild speculation ran rampant on the Internet, people proposed that it was a new Godzilla movie, an H.P.Lovercraft creature, even Voltron! Rumors spread about the title, the story, everything. Not until late October did Abrams confirm that the title was Cloverfield (opening January 18 throughout San Diego), but his refusal to provide any additional information about the film, and specifically about the monster, just kept the Internet a buzz. Now the danger of so much buzz is that it builds a lot of audience excitement and expectation, which, if not satisfied, can lead to a heightened sense of disappointment. As my son and I waited for the preview screening to start, you could hear people still speculating on what the film would be would it be a creature or a robot? Would it be another American Godzilla? Would it be King Kong? My son and I speculated too. I asked him, In a Godzilla or Gamera movie, how long before we see the creature? Ten minutes, he said. That prompted me to make a bet with him If Cloverfield reveals its creature in ten minutes, it will be great. If it waits longer than that it will probably suck. Okay, not exactly scientific methodology but as a diehard fan of monster movies (from Universal horror to the classic man in a rubber suit Japanese kaiju movies to the recent South Korean The Host), this was a valid prediction to make. So as the lights dimmed, we squirmed anxiously in our seats, hoping to be impressed by a new monster. Yes, our expectations were high and we were hopeful. We are both suckers for a good monster movie (after all I do have a 3-foot tall Godzilla and Gamera in my home) Michael Stahl-David and Odette Yustman in Cloverfield (Paramount) The film begins like The Blair Witch Project with an explanation that what we are about to see is found footage of some terrifying event. The titles imply that Cloverfield is some government code name for the site of the destruction we were about to witness. A tape begins to play. The date burned onto the image tells us its April 27. Rob (Michael Stahl Stahl-David) is videotaping the morning after with his new girlfriend. After a few cute shots, the tape jumps to May 22. Now its Robs going away party. Hes leaving for Japan. (This made me hopeful, the reference to Japan meant that maybe the film would pay appropriate homage to the great monster movies from the land of the rising sun.) Robs friend Hud (T.J. Miller) has been tasked with videotaping reactions and good-byes from everyone. Hud takes his job seriously, and its a good thing because hes the one who is about to diligently document the terror to come. When something like an earthquake hits Manhattan, Hud runs out to film the chaos, including the now famous Statue of Liberty headshot. Something is tearing up the city but no one can figure out what. All Hud catches on camera is a glimpse of something big moving through the city. And how far into the movie are we? Some twenty minutes and still no sense of what the creature is. All we know is its big and destructive. It will take quite some time before we get a good glimpse of the creature. SPOLIER ALERT I am about to describe Abrams answer to Big G so skip this graph if you dont want to know The creature looks an amalgamation of beasts created by Ray Harryhausen taking a little from the Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (in which a creature rose from the sea and terrorized New York), 20 Million Miles to Earth and even a little from Clash of the Titans. The film seems to be deliberately trying to pay homage to our classic American monsters rather than trying to rip off the design of Japans towering titans, which I have to say is a nice touch. Its also nice to see an American monster movie in which the U.S. military is helpless to defeat. The American Godzilla movie was ridiculous and failed because it gave us a monster than could be easily subdued by man and technology. Anyway, back to Cloverfields. Its monster is on a definite rampage through the city for no apparent reason and the small band of characters were hooked up with is trying to escape its path. But they make a stupid detour so Rob and try and find the girl he slept with but had dumped. Of course she lives way atop a 40-story building that just happens to be in the middle of all the destruction. But since we dont care much about the characters or their fates, theres not much tension built up along the way. So, the monster did not appear in the first ten minutes, and yes, ultimately, Cloverfield sucked. When it ended, a bare 80 minutes after it began, you could hear a collective sigh of disappointment from the audience. One person even yelled out it was a rip off. The couple next to me seemed so deflated that they turned to me to ask if I had the same reaction. Many of us even waited until the last end credit rolled by in hopes of some post credit kicker that would redeem the mess. But no. All we got was some heavy breathing, possibly implying that not everyone was as dead as we thought. Cloverfield (Paramount) Not only did it take half the film before we got to see the creature but the many minutes leading up to the reveal were painful. The shaky-cam was not only annoying but it called so much attention to the contrivance of the device that it pulled us out of the story. Handheld camerawork can be effective in small doses and when used for effect. Paul Greengrass made excellent use of the shaky-cam in Bloody Sunday and to lesser effect in United 93. he used it to give a sense of immediacy. But as used in Cloverfield, the handheld camera conveys less a sense of immediacy and more a sense of this being a realty TV take on the monster genre. That means it feels like no one is writing and no one is in control of the material. Its just being thrown out there uncut. And oh boy does this film need some editing and the sense that someone is in control. Just because its meant to look like home video doesnt mean it has to look like crap! Some people, even drunk ones, can actually hold the camera still and get someone within the frame. Plus we dont buy that Hud would shoot as hes trying to climb from one sky scraper to another or as the girl hes been hot for is attacked and in need of help. At least The Blair Witch Project was a genuine low budget movie and its rinky-dink look was justified. But Cloverfield had money and could have made the film look better. The only redeeming factor here is that Hud sometimes provides amusing running commentary. Its like having Harold and Kumar or Seth Rogen dropping into a horror film to provide comic relief to the proceedings. Abrams (best known for creating Alias and Lost) came up with the idea for Cloverfield and serves as the films producer. He handed over the actual task of making the film to Matt Reeves and Drew Goddard. All three of them coming from TV successes. Director Matt Reeves created Felicity with Abrams, and writer Drew Goddard wrote for Buffy before working with Abrams on Alias and Lost. Now Lost has dabbled in monster land, serving up a black smoke creature terrorizing the island survivors. And the jury may still be out as to whether the dwindling viewers of that show have bought into that creation. So maybe Cloverfield is an attempt to make the monster formula work better. If so the experiment has failed. For Cloverfield, this creative team spends way too much time setting up characters that we dont really care about, and far too little time with the creature and its destruction. Personally, I liked the creature far more than the humans. The monster looked very cool and it seemed able to spawn little winged creatures (bat-like tarantulas with lethal bites) that provided the film with one truly scary attack in the subway. But we are given no information about what the creature is, where it might be from, or any speculation at all about it. Abrams has said that he wanted to create an American monster movie that would provide a legendary figure like Godzilla and be a metaphor for our times. Well his nameless beast does neither. Godzilla had personality! You can make fun of the fact that he was a man in a rubber suit, but that man in the rubber suit gave Godzilla a personality, just like King Kong had a personality. A monster without some kind of identity will never become legendary. As for the notion of a metaphor what, America is destroying itself? A metaphor for 9/11? Okay, maybe that works, but not very well. This film seems so designed for an audience thats plugged into the web, electronics and itself that theres no humanity in sight. Those who liked the film were probably texting their friends while the movie was still going on. But for me, Cloverfield has about as much human interest and suspense as an episode of survivor. Skip Cloverfield and see The Host (pictured here), which is better (Magnolia) After seeing Cloverfield, I was so frustrated and disappointed that I felt like I needed a palate cleanser. I wanted to immediately go home and watch South Koreas The Host. Now theres a great, new monster movie. We see the creature early on and in broad daylight. It serves as a potent social and political metaphor for Korea. We come to care deeply for the characters. And through the course of the film we learn how the creature came about, what it is doing, and how it lives. If you love monster movies and start to feel the urge to see Cloverfield, I urge you to go rent The Host instead. Or at the very least, have The Host waiting for you at home for when you come back from Cloverfield feeling let down. Cloverfield (rated PG-13 for violence, terror, and disturbing images) gets a 10 for its monster but a 2 for everything else. The subway attack and a few revealing scenes of the creature (especially as he moves in for a kill) got my hopes up that the film would be better. But the filmmakers kept going back to their stupid humans and bad camerawork. The film would have been much more clever if it had gathered a number of videos from different people in the city, plus some from the military, and maybe even a few surveillance cameras in the city. Then it could be like someone going through these tapes to gather information for a report. Then we could have fast-forwarded through all the crap at the beginning and all those drunken good byes from the party. Nobody wants to sit through that kind of home movie. Diehard Abrams fans may still find a way to like this movie (as they have found a way to embrace the black smoke entity on Lost), and the frenzy of attention the film has received will probably make it the weekends top draw. But this movie is unlikely to go down in history as a classic monster movie. Companion viewing: The Host, King Kong, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Godzilla Wars, Gamera ****PLEASE NOTE**** You may not be able to post comments over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend while we make some changes to the site. If you have problems please check back on Tuesday or Wednesday. Thanks for your patience. SHARE THIS: DEL.ICIO.US | DIGG | STUMBLEUPON Comments 20 Responses to Cloverfield Pages:  2 Its palate cleanser. Not palette, which is something that holds paint. 1 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 3:18 pm by rinks Thanks spell-checker rinks! I will correct my mistake. 2 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 3:26 pm by Beth Accomando Thats the monster? Ew 3 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 3:44 pm by SuperMax Beth, you nailed it. I asked the 2 other guys who sat through the end credits with me when the rest of the movie would be shown. Had they provided a backstory for the creature it might have been a far different movie. In Abrams defense Ill say that the atmosphere of horror was as effective as any movie I can recall (less is more) and monster exposition might have ruined that - not to mention if the monster cannot be destroyed, how do you end the movie? 4 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 4:02 pm by DaveG P.S. Marlenas fate was shocking and very well written. We have a bite! We have a bite! Instead of the cliche of the clueless, cowboys-on-steroids military, the staff of the makeshift clinic had, in just an hour or two, determined exactly what a bite entailed and took direct, unwavering and effective, if tragic, action. I also noticed that all the army people were capable, focused and fearless in the face of utter futility and not one of them uttered a cliche or got into histrionics. 5 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 4:08 pm by DaveG Dave G, Yeah, Ill agree that the bite scene was good. But couldnt we have had more of that and less of the party farewells? I think I would have liked the film better if it started with everyone on the roof wondering what had happened, and just skipped everything that came before. 6 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 6:53 pm by Beth Accomando I have read quite a lot of reviews and it seems divided amongst people who enjoyed a little tweak on a creature feature, and people who wanted to know everything. WHY? Why must everything be answered for you? So the entire movie blows because they didnt sit the audience down with a scientist character and a general character and explain point for point what the monster is, where it came from, etc. I dont always want to know EVERYTHING! That way, I get to put the pieces together in my own mind, and I keep thinking about the movie for a long time. Thats satisfying to me. Cloverfield was a highly satisfying flick. 7 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 6:56 pm by V. Smith Your review sounds like you wanted the movie to be something it wasnt rather than accept it for what it is. 8 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 7:38 pm by jonmarck Youre right. I mean, if we dont see the monster in the first ten minutes, then somethings wrong. I meanwhy would you want to spend time developing a scene around a party, getting to know characters and exploring their relationships, when all you care about is the monster? Maybe it was J.J. Abrams idea of misdirecting you with the subtle things that made the first big moment truly terrifying. I dont know, thats just me. Maybe he should have just set the camera on a tripod and panned back and forth between two guys in suits cuddling on model sets of NYC. 9 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 8:45 pm by michael A well-written review, but I think it was refreshing that this WASNT the cliche monster movie. I mean, look at the perspective its told from. Its the people in the street, those running civilians screaming Gojira! They dont care where it comes from, why its here, what it can do. All they care about is getting away from it. This isnt your typical monster movie. Host is a typical monster movie, and its a good movie, granted. Abrams created Cloverfield to go against the mold of monster movies, and thats something that needs to be taken into account before you see it. 10 Posted on January 18th, 2008 at 8:49 pm by Alex
January 19, 2008 at 07:48 AM
If you watched closely at the final scene you can see all need to know about the monster. It fell from the sky so it is very likely it came from somewhere other than earth.
January 19, 2008 at 07:55 AM
SORRY TO RAIN ON EVERYONES HATE PARADE BUT THEY DID SHOW WHERE THE CREATURE CAME FROM...right at the end of the movie...just above the Yaht it false from space/ the sky. YES Everyone its a flippin Alien!!! Sometimes payin attention pays off.
January 19, 2008 at 08:06 AM
Wow, you folks must have gotten out to the early show. So much to respond to. Here are a few things. To those who are in denial that this is a monster movie, just read Abrams comments--he wanted to make a monster movie in the tradition of Godzilla, and to create a monster of legendary stature. So whether the monster is foreground or background or dropping in from the sky, this is and was intended as a monster movie. And the monster was the only good thing in it. I wanted to get to the monster sooner because the people were boring me to death. The extended party didn't develop characters and relationships--it was just poorly improvised filler. As for the monster, I don't want everything about the monster revealed or explained but when the human characters are so shallow and annoying then yes I want to know more about the monster (and I shouldn't have to go online to find out more information, it should be in the movie). The first Alien didn't explain everything but it gave you enough to keep you interested and to be credible within the fantasy world it creates. Even a B-movie like Pitch Black was better at dealing with its creatures. To Jared-- you don't know me as well you think. I did not think Signs was just about aliens. Signs was a movie about aliens but one in which the aliens were the MacGuffin (you know, the thing that distracts you from what the film is really about). The film was really about a man regaining his faith. Just as The Host is a monster movie in which the monster is the catalyst that wakes the father up from his slacker lethargy. As with all good genre films, Signs and The Host worked within a genre and then transcended it. As for my expectations of Cloverfield -- I wasn't expecting it to be action-packed, I was just expecting or hoping that it would be good. As for those who think Cloverfield is not a typical monster movie whereas The Host is, I don't think you've seen many monster movies. Cloverfield hits every cliche -- monster of unknown origin, people fleeing and repeatedly doing stupid things to endanger themselves, going back to rescue someone even though you risk everything... then there are all the films it rips off or if you want to be nice you can say it "references." From The Blair Witch Project to the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to Pitch Black to Godzilla to Towering Inferno and more. This film does not go against the mold, it's baked right into the mold. As I said in my review, it had a few stellar moments that made me hopeful but it failed to deliver. Thanks for all the comments and I appreciate the way everyone's been respectful of other people's differing opinions. The discussion is great and I probably didn't address everything I wanted but I'm sure there will be more comments to come. I hope the site revisions don't slow things down.
January 19, 2008 at 08:23 AM
I agree with this review 100%. If you spent hours researching and deciphering video clips spread out on the internet about Cloverfield then of course you're going to love it. You actually have something emotionally invested into it. Where as if you just went out to enjoy a movie, and have no previous knowledge of the Cloverfield JJ Abrams' hype machine, you're gonna find yourself watching a lackluster film with characters you couldn't care less about. Now I'm just worried about the next Star Trek.
January 19, 2008 at 08:23 AM
Two people slipped in comments while I was posting, so I just wanted to say that even if the film explains that the creature fell from the sky that doesn't change the fact that the opening was too long, the human characters are nothing more than monster fodder, and the film wasn't as good as it could have been. All this discussion did make me what to point to one film that offered a simple but totally satisfying explanation for the mayhem created by its creatures. The film was Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and when someone asked where all the zombies came from a character simply said "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." That was brilliant, simple and perfectly acceptable. No scientists pontificating, no drawn out explanations. Cloverfield could have used some of that. I'm looking forward to Romero's Diary of the Dead next month which will also employ a home video, first person perspective. It will be interesting to see what Romero does.
January 19, 2008 at 08:38 AM
Once again another review by someone who didn't understand the point of the movie. It was not about explaining everything that was happening. It was just a event that was happening to people that didn't know what was happening to them. It really was similar to 9-11 when people really didn't know what was going on , but they had to try and escape or be killed and if you noticed people did film that with their camcorders. I noticed a lot of disappointment in the audience I saw it with, but they were all people in their 20's and were expecting all the answers like you did. I found the movie very intense and the effects were amazing. It seemed like it was really happening and seeing it on a hand held camera it looked so real. How can you point out the "bad camera work" when that's the way it was supposed to be?! It wasn't from a professional filmmaker , it was supposed to be a regular person filming it. I'm very surprised by the handful of critics that point out the reasons that they didn't like the movie when that was the way it was supposed to be. I thought reviewers knew a little about what they are going to see before they see it. I'm not a critic, but I knew what the point of the movie was before I went. Cloverfield was an experience....
January 19, 2008 at 08:49 AM
....and just to add a comment. I'm not trying to be rude to you and you have the right to your opinion and if you didn't like it then I can't make you like it. It's just funny that the reasons you didn't like it are the reasons I loved it. The beginning introduced characters that I liked and taking a while to get to the monster made it more shocking when it happened and not explaining it made it more real....at least to me.
January 19, 2008 at 09:00 AM
Yes it's funny that what I hated you liked and what you liked I hated. But that's what makes the world interesting. I'm glad that you could enjoy it. But I do want to add that I have worked with teenagers who have no experience at all with cameras and they shot better footage than this movie. If Cloverfield wanted to deliver bad camerawork, then it succeeded. And as I mentioned before, I didn't want everything answered. In fact if the characters were better I wouldn't have cared if I ever saw the monster. But you gatta admit that what you saw of the creature looked damn cool and wouldn't it have been fun to have more scenes with it.
January 19, 2008 at 09:19 AM
The fact that you review is riddled with references to other monster films shows that you didn't judge it for what it actually was: a monster movie told from the perspective of normal people. The party scene was rather frustrating but their normalcy created a bridge necessary for you to connect with the characters in a short amount of time before the actual monster movie kicked in. Granted... Beth annoyed me. I know if you really love a girl that's a good reason to go back, but their connection seemed so strained and worthless that I don't know why he bothered. Jason died, Hud died, characters died like normal people would in the movie. It was a good movie, you were just too busy hoping for a Godzilla brawl fest to actually care about that.
January 19, 2008 at 09:21 AM
The movie made me feel empty, and hopeless...and that was a good thing. Throughout the movie you were given a little bit of hope, and then it was snatched away from you. I really liked that there was no background story for the monster. Do you really think they could make a background story that could logically explain what that thing was and where is came from? As far as the rational thinking behind going back for the girl. The guy just witnessed a giant monster kill his brother. I think rational thought leaves the building at that point. I am assuming it was only 80 minutes long because a mini DV camcorder tape is only 80 minutes long. I do have one HUGE complaint about the movie. It was like a long Nokia comercial. I'm surprised no one has commented on this. The flagrant advertising of nokia was horrible. All through the movies you had close up shots of nokia cell phones, prominently displaying the brand name, and even giant nokia signs behind the characters in the subway. I paid 9 bucks to watch the movie and should not be subjected to integrated advertising throughout the film. Overall I found it enjoyable.
January 19, 2008 at 09:21 AM
But Beth ,could those teenagers have better camerawork if they were running for their lives?!! I think this is gonna end up being a love it or hate it movie.....I loved it!
January 19, 2008 at 09:28 AM
Actually, What I would love to see with this movie is for a second one to be made a la Half-Life video game series. Still camcorder (Which is going to be bad when you're running for your life, realism vs watchability. I like the realism enough to get over the issues since I've seen a lot of poorly done handcam movies. Watch August Underground for that. So terrible and out of focus) but like how Half-Life presented the same event from many different perspectives during the event, I would love to see that with this movie. The second one I would envision being a news reporter and her cameraman insisting on getting the scoop of the century and trying to figure out what happened and what it is though only learning about what the bites do and what they've currently figured out in the span of 7 hours and a bit more details as to what happened after. Also we'd see a lot more of the monster and how the actual battles went. The third one if you wanted one could be done like a regular Hollywood movie and completely remove the handcam idea and do it from the military perspective until the entire situation is resolved. But I think it wouldn't be as strong as the first 2. The camera is a stylistic choice, but until you've seen really bad examples like August it may be harder to recognize the difference between poorly done and well done handcam movies.
January 19, 2008 at 09:53 AM
When Jaws was made, we didn't see the shark till half way through the movie, and it single handedly empty beaches worldwide. When Signs came out the scariest bits had to do with nothing more than a rubber glove and since of knowing that something was there. I thought the fact that we never saw the monster was the best part of the movie. Godzilla never scared me because he was clearly a man in a rubber suit. Cloverfield scared me because I couldn't tell what it was even up till the end. The one thing I really didn't like was the panic running with the camera. I'm two months pregnant and ended up missing a key scene due to becoming motion sick. And I have to say that The Host is the worst dubbed movie I have ever seen.
January 19, 2008 at 10:04 AM
i belive that most video games hav a better story than this movie. also "Host" was definently a better film.
January 19, 2008 at 10:26 AM
Obviously you haven't played games from the 8-bit era and before, many had plots read only in the first 2 pages of the instruction manual if that and even some games now are terrible beyond belief plot-wise (I'm looking at you EOE) Half-Life itself although revolutionary and one of the best selling games of all time had little plot and nothing was revealed at the end. The sequel hasn't helped with that nor the spin off games. What many of those games and this movie have in common however is a good premise and then they ran with it. There was enough of a plot to have a movie and whether it was good or not is conjecture.
January 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM
Im sorry to say that I agree with jonmarck. You make it sound like the movies greatest fault was that its not the movie you expected it to be. For me, that may have been the best part. I hate how most Americans need everything to be explained in movies. It frustrates me when people complain about foreign movies being too confusing or write off great movies like Children of Men just because all the answers werent handled to them in a neat little package. And I was actually fairly disappointed with The Host. Yes, it is clearly a well-made movie with a nice dose of relevant social commentary. But I didn't feel the urgency that this movie gives the audience. I never felt drawn into it and I actually cared less for the characters. Also, while my stomach didnt appreciate it all that much, I was incredibly impressed with how they handled the shaky-cam. Its a hard feat to even map a movie around its limitations and I thought they pulled it off brilliantly. I felt it brought the viewer in on the action.
January 19, 2008 at 11:14 AM
Wow, I have to agree with whoever said you expected this to be something it wasn't, so you decided not to like it. You say something as ignorant as the people who liked it were probably texting their friends before the movie was over. I am guessing you are over 30...I liked it, I don't even have a cell phone and I'm 22, stop generalizing. The movie wasn't so much about the monster as it was a group of people and the commotion when something happens that you don't have any information about. I agree with the person who commented that some people aren't liking this movie because of lack of information. So you are telling me in less than 24 hours you expect people to know exactly what this thing is and where it came from? You have mighty high expectations, lady. This is one of the MOST realistic monster movies I have ever seen. In regards to your statement about Hud filming while crossing to the other building...I want to be a filmmaker, plus that was such an incredible situation, I would want some proof, I totally understand everything Hud did. I would have kept filming too. You act like everyone would have their head on straight with something unknown ravaging the city... I think you completely missed the point of the movie. Maybe someone should have informed you before you went that the handheld camera work wasn't for an "effect," it was the movie. By the way, Rob didn't dump her, he was in love with her but the only job he could find was taking him away from her when for the first time their romance was blooming. So he didn't know what to do, although he was madly in love with her. You didn't seem to want to get to know the characters and that's a choice you made, not the movie's fault.
January 19, 2008 at 11:50 AM
Definitely a big disappointment. Even conceding that it's a different way to tell a Monster story, it's still not a very good movie. And all that jiggly handheld DV shots are just annoying and headache inducing. It made the movie looked more realistic but also cheap and amateurish which may be the point of the POV of the movie.
January 19, 2008 at 11:58 AM
Cloverfield blew goats! It sucked more ass than a felcher. I will never get that 80 minutes back.
January 19, 2008 at 12:25 PM
Go buy a miniDV Tape I hear you can get them pretty cheap at any electronics store XD.
January 19, 2008 at 02:28 PM
I don't regret seeing the movie just paying for it. Way to much shaky camera work, like watching a bad vacation film. Better have motrin ready following this movie.
January 19, 2008 at 03:29 PM
This review is irritating, because it condemns all the qualities that made this a much more interesting movie than The Host. The reviewer is stuck in a mindset of what is appropriate, when in fact, the movies that make a difference are those that do the inappropriate, and generate a new color of mood or emotion. This movie perfectly captured the feeling of having a huge epic nightmare (which is usually from a first person POV considering normal psychology) that unfolds in an illogical, impressionistic, horrible, and ultimately thrilling way. But of course, this reviewer feels that Hollywood movies should have an appropriate established style, and an appropriate comfortable exposition. This reviewer is claling for formula! How backwards. No. The point of the movie was to show the typical cataclysmic monster movie from the now familair style of modern home video just as we saw with 911 footage and see in war footage in this age. In doing that, it brought a human contemporary frame/context to a previously wrung dry genre and refreshed it. The gimmick of The Host was that it was the satirically dis-functional family (Royal Tennenbaums?) brought together (Seven Samarai style) to battle the cataclysmic monster rendered stunningly with modern effects. But it was a polite view of accepted cinema vocabulary, a conventional movie, and not one with a mood as original or pervading as Cloverfield. Impressionism/abstraction always makes the viewer do more work to interpret causing stronger emotional impact. I guess some people are too lazy and need to be spoonfed.
January 19, 2008 at 03:54 PM
I got what the movie was about. Regular people dealing with an unimaginable event. I didn't really care about the characters, but I don't think you were really supposed to....Other than the basic human interest we should have in each others well being. The characters with the video camera could have been anybody, and the initial event they were filming (the going away party) could have been any event....a 6 year olds birthday party, the opening of your first self owned business, the birth of your child....etc., and that is ok, it works well within the frame of the move. The monster was great. I even liked that you didn't get to see him really well. Made it more scary and somewhat realistic. The storyline was good. Someone found the camera after the hoopla was over, and they are using it to dissect what actually happened. Over all the movie was good, but I agree with Ken, I'm not upset I saw it, just upset I paid for it. Mostly because of the camera work. Yeah, I get that they were trying to make it look realistic, and I appreciate that, but let's be a little "realistic" ourselves. People pay money to go see a movie to be entertained. Most of us don't have the stomachs to sit through that kind of camera work for long, without having to turn away (or blow chunks..), so that means myself and many others, missed pertinent scenes in the movie, because we didn't want to do the technicolored yawn on our neighbors. In general, because the people could have been anyone (and given you the same sense of urgency about the crisis), they should have shortened the "dead weight" time at the beginning of the movie....it would not have taken anything away from the story. While keeping some of the shaky camera for effect (especially in the running scenes), they should have used a steadier hand with the camera work in the rest of the scenes (it certainly would have cut down on the nausea factor). Oh, and I did like the cut ins from the other tape underneath the main one...it gave you a real sense that they were amateurs....which is probably the biggest problem here, even with the pretty good premise for the movie, it feels like you paid money to see a three year old with a camera....and yes, I do agree, that I have friends who can get completely lubricated, and do a better job of filming....I don't think it was necessary to the story line to make HUD a complete imbecile with the camera. Definitely have the motrin and the motion sickness medicine ready if you're going to see this one.
January 19, 2008 at 04:32 PM
I too, was really looking forward to this movie, but I wasn't nearly as disappointed as you and other viewers were. While I had hoped for some sort of twist at the end, and I didn't really care too much about the characters, I DID enjoy the pace of the movie. I liked the intense hand held scenes, the subway scene had my hitting my husband's arm while I was covering my eyes, and, in general, I really enjoyed the action. Where there some plot holes? To be sure. Could we have been more invested in the characters, or have less screen time of them? Yes. But for what it was, it was enjoyable. I think it might have been more interesting to just follow their escape OUT of Manhattan, instead of following them on some incredibly stupid rescue mission INTO Manhattan. There could have been just as many thrills and it would have made more sense. BUT, in the end, I thought it was a worthy movie. If I wanted to analyze deep plot and metaphor and all that stuff, I would have gone to a different movie. This was just a thrill ride, plain and simple, and my husband, myself and our friends all enjoyed it!
January 19, 2008 at 04:42 PM
To Dustin-- I wish you had written the movie! First two ideas are great. To Lola -- Jaws and Signs were good movies, that's why not showing the monsters till later or even at all worked. The first Godzilla (without the Americanization and Raymond Burr) was scary, Godzilla was like an A-bomb and the scenes showing the wake of his destruction were like witnessing Hiroshima all over again. The later Godzillas weren't scary but Big G has personality. He's a benevolent bully who protects Japan from all intruders because he's the only one allowed to stomp Tokyo. I love him even at his cheesiest. And don't see The Host dubbed! And to all of you praising the shaky-cam because it's so realistic, why couldn't the footage at the party have been less shaky and better framed? No monster there. Or will you defend it because Hud is drunk and an idiot? If so why would anyone give him the camera! You can't have it both ways--defending the bad camerawork because Hud was running for his life and then saying but oh sure he would stop to document everything along the way. This discussion reminded me how well Shaun of the Dead delayed the reveal of its zombies yet didn't waste the opening half hour. I cared far more for Shaun and his gang than anyone in Cloverfield. I completely bought that he would go back to try and rescue his ex. Even though it was a comedy, I thought Shaun was a more believable character than Rob. And that film never bothered to explain the zombies, it just offered some fun speculation. For me, Clovberfield was like getting a date with a guy you don't know but think is hot -- you have high hopes but then feel let down when he turns out to be vacuous and boring. I will give Abrams and crew credit for making a movie event that kept people hooked months before it opened and made them line up for its opening. We need more of that excitement and buzz around films.
January 19, 2008 at 04:50 PM
So, the monster basically sucked-- "A monster without some kind of identity will never become legendary,"-- but you gave it a 10, anyway, huh? As far as detailed origins go, what did you think of No Country For Old Men, or Pan's Labyrinth? Were you disappointed that the filmmakers didn't pander to your ABC intellect? And what did you think when you first saw Star Wars in 1977? Did you say, "How come these guys aren't being very clear about Vader's origins or motivations?" Film critics will say what they will, but at the very least, they ought to "get" the subject matter before knocking it. You, lady, obviously don't get it, and it has nothing to do with the fact that you own "a 3-foot tall Godzilla and Gamera." (I have a Norman Rockwell collector plate. Does that make me an authority on anything? Fuck Norman Rockwell.) I have a friend named Beth, and I am going to punch her in the face today, just because she shares your name.
January 19, 2008 at 04:58 PM
My take is this....if you want Godzilla or your prescious "Host" movie, then go watch it. Don't try to bring "Cloverfield" down just because its not a remake of a typical B movie that your parading around. Your review sounds like nonsense, crying about how its not The Host. Cloverfield will be Cloverfield, and it can stand on its own. I'm also sorry if your one of those people who needs everything explained to you and hand written. its a monster...attacking New York....why? We don't need to know why, just get the hell outta there. Plus I'd like to see how well you'd do with your fantastic camera work, if you were put into this situation, plus trying to document it all so people would know how it went down. Your review holds no weight, and your just mad cuz its not "The Host", which in my opinion, and thats all i have, sucks.
January 19, 2008 at 04:58 PM
To ufoclub-- Praise Cloverfield all you want but there's nothing fresh here. And most of what you praise it for was specifically done in Blair Witch--shaky cam, first person POV, impressionism/abstraction and for way less money. If you want something really impressionistic and abstract see David Lynch's Inland Empire. That requires real work on the part of the viewer. Or for a real first person POV see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. And for shakycam that works see Bloody Sunday or United 93.
January 19, 2008 at 05:05 PM
Just for your info, No Country for Old Men was on my Ten Best list (tied at number one with There Will Be Blood); Pan's Labyrinth made my Ten Best list the year before. And I saw Star Wars 14 times the year it came out and had no complaints. And I gave Cloverfield's monster a ten because he was cool but a monster that gets a ten in a film that gets a two won't become legendary and won't be an action figure that fills shelves 50 years after the film opened (that's what Abrams said inspired him, the Godzilla toys still filling Japan's stores today. Abrams is the one who has invited the comparisons to Big G.) I feel sorry for your friend Beth.
January 19, 2008 at 05:41 PM
u know, if u spend the duration of the movie looking for things that are wrong with it, you're never going to be able to enjoy it. For example, you used the word "good" four times in your entire description. Why not tell us why we SHOULD see the movie? If every movie that comes out is going to be attacked by people who have nothing better to do than sift through piles of dirt looking for something that you don't even know if it is there, then why should we watch movies at all? The way you enjoy movies is by watching them, not jotting down every last detail about the movie that you can use to tell people why you thought it was bad because you didn't actually watch it. You didn't watch it, you analyzed it. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, because I wasn't looking for things that were wrong with it. I saw it yesterday. I understand the concept of "to each his (or her) own"; don't try to preach me. I just wish that you had included some things about it that were good. This is a one-sided report, one view on something that has many views. It's like a round ball- you're stationing yourself at one end of the ball, and staring at it until you notice something intriguing about that certain face of the ball. What you should do in the future is look on every side of the ball and see everything that's there. If not, you're going to have a hard time liking any movie at all. You also mentioned that you didn't like any of the characters. Why? Because they weren't famous actors? That's good, because then you get to know them as themselves, and not as "that woman who played Janet in some other movie". You mention that there's too much of the beginning scenes; that's because we don't know any of the characters yet. If it really had started with everyone on the roof wondering what had happened, we would also be wondering what had happened. We would also be clueless as to what to think about the characters' personalities, and be confused whenever they made a decision. If they hadn't had the party, we would not have known about the woman sleeping with Rob or her leaving. So we would have no background to build from. If I had been sifting through every last pixel in the movie looking for something to nag about, I would not have enjoyed it. And right there is the reason why there's nothing good about the movie in your review. Next time, show all sides of the round ball. You're not two-dimensional, you know. I'm fourteen and even I can enjoy a good monster movie. What happened to you so that you can't?
January 19, 2008 at 05:53 PM
What I have noticed in all the discourse is that there are diametrically opposed opinions of this film. What I have derived from this is that the younger people love it and the older people hate it. The reason....we have lives, we've lived longer, seen more things, more films and we have real crap to deal with everyday, going to the movies is an escape from it. The perspective will always be different because we have seen MUCH MUCH more. There is nothing you can do about that. When you are 40 talk to me then.
January 19, 2008 at 06:06 PM
I am 40 and I loved it.
January 19, 2008 at 06:07 PM
Andrew, You say that the review was one sided, yet you point out that I did have good things to say about the film -- just not enough to your liking. I did point out that I liked the monster, and I liked some of the early scenes of attacks. I didn't like the characters because they were poorly drawn and developed not because they were unknown, that was probably a good thing. I left it to the intelligence of the reader to weigh what I said and decide for themselves if it's a film they want to see. As a film critic I both watch and analyze a film, that's my job. What I write is my opinion and reflects my subjective point of view. If you just want an objective plot summary, read the press kit. I'm not trying to convince people to agree with me, that's not the point of a review. I see reviews as starting points for discussion -- like what's going on here. I want to hear different opinions because sometimes (as in the comments for No Country for Old Men) people offer great insights. I can enjoy a monster movie when it's good but I didn't like Cloverfield as either a monster movie or a thriller or a horror film or a portrait of terror. Just like I don't enjoy pineapple on my pizza, it's not to my taste. I'm glad Cloverfield was to your liking and I love the fact that you're fourteen and posting well thought out comments.
January 19, 2008 at 06:07 PM
To Beth, I said many things that could have been ideas but my first one was a mockery of what the film would have been as a cliche'd Hollywood movie, I hope that's not what you meant when you said you wish I wrote the movie, because although I would see that movie (Which isn't saying much, I watch movies by the hundreds and hunt down not only the best but the worst I can find) I sure as hell wouldn't pay to see that crap I made up in theaters, my ideas for sequels I would however, though the third one would be out of brand loyalty. Even though Hud has shaky cam throughout the entire film, I still call it good camera work because we can see what we're meant to see and what was important to see. When they put it down and it slid somewhere it always showed everything we needed to see, it was rarely out of focus and when it was, there was nothing to see because of an explosion or the like which would give the impression of "It was all just a blur". Even the lighting was good which was very unrealistic for shaky cam. I hate to keep mentioning it's name because it shouldn't be supported in any way but August Underground is a shining example of terrible shaky cam, out of focus, no lighting, off camera action, terrible zoom-ins. Add in no plot and you get a recipe for crap. I too would have filmed everything and I would have stuck with my best friend as he did something stupid like try to save the woman he loved which I too would have done too unless I believed she would be saved otherwise. Maybe that's why I liked the characters (mostly Hud since I'd also annoy people by cracking wise, I'm the kind of guy who would joke at a funeral) But if you don't feel for the characters maybe you just don't see yourself or people you know in them, which seems to be how you would connect with a character, if you could see yourself in their shoes, even a little bit. It's weird to see people say "They could have been just anybody" as though that's a bad thing. Would you prefer it was Clark Kent and his buddies Bruce Wayne and Barbarella trying to rescue Minnie Mouse? The people were too real is an odd complaint to see...
January 19, 2008 at 06:11 PM
And Beth, the Host was terrible, and I felt let down after all the great reviews. Cloverfield is a much better monster film.
January 19, 2008 at 06:47 PM
Thank you Michael....The Host is TERRIBLE!! That alone is why we cannot take this review by Miss Beth seriously.
January 19, 2008 at 06:48 PM
A poster named Else said the film was for the younger crowd, but I'm 52 and loved it and all the "younger" people in my audience hated it because they were expecting to see the same type of movie as Beth was expecting to see. I'm still surprised at all the people that didn't know about the hand held camera idea before seeing the movie. That's what made the movie great and so realistic, it's the next day and I still can't get it out of my head....
January 19, 2008 at 07:01 PM
I just resent the heck of the fact that I got dizzy watching this movie because the camera was so jumpy and out of focus. I want my money back. I got so sick. And I got no story. Yeah, yeah, we have one artsy person who believes that you should use your imagination instead of getting the movie you paid for!!
January 19, 2008 at 07:18 PM
I saw "The Host" and really disliked it. At one point early on I thought it must be some kind of bizarre dark comedy. But the laughs never came again and the movie was unsatisfying on so many levels. Cloverfield, on the other hand, delivered what I'd hoped for - suspense, surprise, scares, and even characters that I could care about. I found the end to be rather abrupt. But then this was supposed to be a found amateur video and a typical hollywood ending would not have fit the concept. All in all I liked Cloverfield and recommend it!
January 19, 2008 at 07:53 PM
There once was a movie called 'Alien' which did not give us a good glimpse of the creature for an hour or so. This can be a great device for building and maintaining suspence. Apparently, Ridley Scott is better at this than J.J. Abrams. I am disappointed to learn that the Cloverfield monster is not Lovecraft's Cthulhu, which, I believe, would have given the film not only some literary premise, but also a built-in cult following. Thanks for the tip off; I'll wait for the DVD.
January 19, 2008 at 08:34 PM
You completely missed the point of this movie. Seeing the monster in the first 10 minutes would have ruined the suspense and it would have just been ridiculous. The camera that limits what you see plus the lack of information keeps you as confused and terrified as the characters, making this movie truly powerful and intense. It sounds like this review is just comparing Cloverfield to some movie that you wanted so see instead of judging it for what it actually was, a well directed. well made original monster film.
January 19, 2008 at 09:10 PM
Unfortunately, "The Host" was a terrible, over-rated self-depreciative mess. Whatever politics it had were both overt and overtly contradictory. You seem to have thought this review of Cloverfield out, which is respectable, but damn, let's get our movies in the right pecking order. I think the substantive disagreement here is that you wanted to see more of the monster early on. But other people (like me) aren't especially enamored with the monster flick as such, and were drawn to the Lovecraftian idea of keep-it-behind-the-veil. So if you're more into horror than hard-core Monster Flick stuff, I don't think you'll find this review helpful. Of course if you hated the characters then you'd find it a bore, but that's pretty idiosyncratic. Our theatre erupted in cheers, gasps, etc., precisely because we did connect with the characters. So it goes.
January 19, 2008 at 09:49 PM
During the "bite" scene, a man was carried past the camera on a stretcher whose chest appeared to have exploded. I'm fairly certain that this plot twist was a nod to the "Aliens" series, although it comes off in my mind as more of a rip-off, especially considering the fact that "AVP:R" is still in theaters at the moment. If there's any one movie that already had the experience that "Cloverfield" tries to provide covered, it was Emmerich's 1998 "Godzilla," which I think did a fantastic job of blending humanity, full-frontal monster, survival horror (even if the baby Godzilla's felt out of place, they're inclusion was no more pointless than adding the "baby spiders" to "Cloverfield"), and the kind of thrill-ride experience that you can only get from cinema and NOT from home movies (flying through Manhattan in the Apache helo, for example). Although I agree that the monster in "Cloverfield" was a nod to Harryhausen, I think the monster looked especially weak, like a giant naked bat or some zombie creature out of "Silent Hill." Japanese Kaiju look cooler than most American monsters because, to put it simply, most American monsters are not as tall as buildings, and if they are, they need massive, bulky, muscular bodies with thick, scaly and even armored bodies to shield them from human attack. The fact that this particular American monster survived a stealth bomber attack where the American Godzilla was taken down with a few F/A-18 missiles is improbably given the scrawny build of this monster. Finally, I am not lying when I say that I kept my fingers crossed throughout the movie hoping to see Godzilla make a cameo appearance and challenge the monster. It's the least the filmmakers could have done to SATISFY the audience, especially considering the fact that Toho Co. has stopped making its own Gojira films but is open to licensing the character...
January 19, 2008 at 11:02 PM
Hmmmm.....this was a movie I couldn't wait to see but I agree with every word of Beth's review. I did love 'The Host' because of the wonderful way it introduced the monster as well as the characters. It had some of the overacted campyness that is traditional with monster movies but it worked. I remember feeling alot of the "magic" I felt as a kid watching the original Godzilla. Conversely, Cloverfield's characters were not well developed despite the fact that they occupied most of the movie.The acting was good but I felt like I was watching a designer Vodka ad gone bad with some monster in the background that didn't seem to offer much in terms of the suspense level in the movie. When we hear the military firing of rounds in the background we never hear the monster roar as well. Plus, as most of us know, it is hard to feel two things at the same time which is why, when you're nauseated from camera movement, you can't be scared. I liked the idea of the personal camera filming the movie but the execution just didn't live up to the idea. Also the monster did not have a definable form like Godzilla or a nickname someone in the movie came up with so this monster has no identity nor does it even look like it has water capabilities. But, I suspended those beliefs because, in my opinion, any monster is better than none. The monster was in so few scenes, though, that I kept thinking of the Jeff Goldblum line in Jurassic Park, "Are you going to have any Dinosaurs in your Dinosaur park?". All in all I did like this movie becuase it is a monster movie and because it may be the spark that reignites monstermaking in the cinema world again. Hopefully not with shakycams though.
January 19, 2008 at 11:25 PM
I have to agree with the above - it sounds like the reviewer expected a certain kind of film, didn't get it, and was disappointed. "We" didn't care about the characters - why not? Because you were too distracted by waiting for the monster, perhaps? Myself, I did like the characters. I thought the method of having "flashbacks" was clever. The handheld camera, while occasionally annoying, gave everything and intense, immediate feel (not to mention the lack of soundtrack music which I think is always creepy...great sound design on this film to fill the space instead). The monster wasn't explained in part because clearly they were trying to show us what it's like when you're partyign one minute and in the middle of psychoville the next. That's what it would be like if a giant monster started stomping your yard out of the blue. We learned nothing about the creature, just like the characters. I thought it was an immensely effective movie. Perfect, no. Fun, yep.
January 20, 2008 at 12:18 AM
Your theory that a good monster movie has to show the monster in the first 10 minutes is so wrong! The best monster movies DON'T show the monster right away (my 2 favorites being Alien and The Descent). Hack movies (like Godzilla and Gamera) have nothing else but the monster, so they have to show it in the first 10 minutes. And you really think if some unthinkable creature starting tearing up your town and killing your friends that you would be curious about where it came from before wanting to run as far away as possible? What planet are you from? Oh yeah, planet moron.
January 20, 2008 at 01:21 AM
In response to the above... If you actually read my review then you would have known that I did NOT say a good monster movie has to show the monster in the first ten minutes. I simply said I made a bet with my son that if this particular movie showed the monster in the first 10 minutes it would probably be good. Since there was so much speculation being thrown around before the movie started, that was just one of the things we discussed. And in this case it turned out to be right. There are plenty of good movies (Jaws, Alien, King Kong, Shaun of the Dead, and yes The Descent was great) that smartly delay showing anything. The difference was those films were good. And if some unthinkable creature starting tearing up your town and killing your friends would you be stopping and videotaping the whole thing? Who the heck was he going to show it to his grandchildren? The government? The characters in Cloverfield come from planet moron and that's why I didn't like the film. I only wish the creature could have eaten them sooner. But then the creature didn't actually eat Hud -- he chewed on him and spit him out. I guess the characters weren't to the creature's taste either.
January 20, 2008 at 01:36 AM
To DonYJ-- That's the spirit--more monster movies!
January 20, 2008 at 01:46 AM
I didn't like the movie any more than you did, but felt exactly the opposite regarding the creature and the humans' backstory. The monster was stupid looking and I wish they had never completely revealed it. What I imagined it looked like was far more frightening than the FPS reject that it actually was. I also thought that the characters were believable and their story effective. To each their own. I am glad you revealed the breathing sequence at the end, as I didn't sit through the credits.
January 20, 2008 at 02:48 AM
The film was fine. It's not Night of the Living Dead earth-shaking, but it was far superior to most monster movies in the past decade. It was a fresh and invigorating look at the big monster subgenre that hasn't had a decent entry since what, the sixties? Sure the Host had it's moments, but the scale isn't remotely comparable. The hand-held, first person narrative of the film recaptures that "Age of Documentation" feel we're all inundated with on the nightly news. To compare it to the Blair Witch Project and say Cloverfield rips it off would be like saying just about every movie in the past fifty years rips off Breathless for using jump cuts.
January 20, 2008 at 03:27 AM
The movie wasn't about the monster, it was about the group of friends trying to survive the attack. This was normal everyday Joe's and Jane's NOT scientists. What'd you want to happen Rob say "Oh yeah, I know what that thing is, it's a blah. It has been living under the water for millions of years and no one knows about it... except me." Or would you have liked the military to know exactly what it was only a few hours after it attacked? You gotta take it from the point of view that IF this really happened(which it won't don't worry) that's probably how it would go down. No one would know what happened or what it was(including the military and your top scientists of the world)until after the thing was dead, assuming they even kill it.
January 20, 2008 at 04:09 AM
Beth you said, "And if some unthinkable creature starting tearing up your town and killing your friends would you be stopping and videotaping the whole thing?" .....how do you think we got most of the footage from 9-11 and other disasters?! People stopped and took it! So yes, I believe people would stop and videotape it. Beth, just admit it, you were expecting a straight narrative, not a slice of life and that's not the type of movie you like. That's the norm for the masses, but this film tried to be different and it seems that the people who could appreciate this type of film liked or even loved it.... 95 critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked the film and 30 didn't, that doesn't make them right, but it says something...I think you are in the minority.
January 20, 2008 at 04:27 AM
The movie is what it is. The director and writer chose that point of view for a reason. How would regular civilians know exactly what this creature was or where it came from? It would take away from the confusion and chaos the movie tries to emphasize. There are plenty of monster movies that focus on the monster and not on the people that get crushed and eaten every five seconds. This gave it a touch of humanism. Sadly that made people FEEL and THINK and made them uncomfortable because it is "OBVIOUSLY" an allusion to 9/11. Throughout movie history, movie makers have taken the generations current fears to make a movie more emotional, just like the red scare, nuclear war, WWII, Vietnam, Nixon. We need to stop being so egocentric and stop thinking we are the only generation in history. I'm sure most of those whinny people have no problem sitting through an overly gruesome interpretation of WWII and never take into account the feelings of WWII veterans. Either way I think this movie is fine just as is. It is corny because their characters portray how corny 20 somethings are today.
January 20, 2008 at 04:49 AM
I think that the movie did give some cues to the origin of the monster. It is impossible that something so big could have come from the sky, so this was a creature that lived in the crust of the earth, under the ocean. This probably explains why weapons could not kill it, as its hide and body was used to enormous amounts of pressure and heat. I really disagree about the back story. I really cared about the characters and thought that the "used tape" (or SD card) was a incredibility interesting way to convey a backstory of a friendship turned to love. The love story wasn't as developed as, I don't know, the Notebook, but it was good enough for a monster movie. Their love was redeemed, and that was it important in the movie. Also, I don't think that the "final solution" worked in the movie. I think the monster moved on and destroyed the United States. Hence, the tape was found in former central park. "Cloverfield". Maybe, this was found by a society trying to rebuild. I freaking wish that girl could have turned into a zombie, or have a bug pop out of her. That would have been supremely awesome. But that is the price you pay when you watch a movie that deals in partial information. Last Insight: The Host was the worst movie I have ever seen. It seemed like it was made for 4 year olds. All of a sudden, the family turns into the powerrangers? That loser of a guy is able to stop the escape of the monster with only his strength and a pole. You critics are so wrong sometimes. I mean, Juno? Really? --Joey
January 20, 2008 at 04:55 AM
I saw The Host and you can't compare the two movies. Sure they are both monster movies but Cloverfield is in a completely different genre because of it's filming style. I disagree with your review, without the drunken scene at the beginning there wouldnt be any character development and we wouldnt give a shit about them being in danger. Cloverfield's filming perspective was extremely creative and made you feel like you were in the heart of Manhattan while it got ripped the shreds. Although you have your own opinion, the majority of reviews are positive for this movie.
January 20, 2008 at 04:59 AM
this film made me very angry. The two people next to me summed it up very well by saying that suicide rates would sky rocket after seeing this movie. 1. WHY IS IT CALLED CLOVERFIELD?!?!? hmmm? 2. hudismylover.
January 20, 2008 at 05:58 AM
I had my eyes closed for 85% of the movie. Not because it was that scary, but if I hadn't I would have puked all over the person in front of me from motion sickness. I forced myself to watch the monster scenes, which is all I truly cared about. If you have a hard time with motion sickness and home movies, you simply won't be able to get thru it. In my book, the movie was about 10 minutes long and pretty good.
January 20, 2008 at 06:18 AM
I knew that this review was going to be bad when I read "The titles imply that Cloverfield is some government code name for the site of the destruction we were about to witness." No the title does not imply this, the title SAYS this. Using the term Kaiju doesn't really make me think you are qualified to review this so much as it implies you are impressed with yourself for using the term.
January 20, 2008 at 06:19 AM
MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!!!! I felt the same way! I am truly disappointed. If they would've kept the monster and just gave it a background, changed the way it was filmed and focused on the actual monster more it would've been awesome!
January 20, 2008 at 06:52 AM
It sounds like you wanted the late Paul Frees to explain the monster to us. The movie doesn't try to explain anything, which I feel adds to the experience.
January 20, 2008 at 07:21 AM
The camera had to be unsteady like the way it was or else the whole perspective of the movie would be ruined(you try holding a camera steady when your heart is racing and so are you and everyone is dying). Also it is possible that HUD would leave the camera on and videotape Marlena exploding because when people are scared they get attached to certain things, so to him the camera became almost as natural as his eye. Also I have no idea how you expected to see the monster more as it was made clear from the internet and the trailers that this was about some friends who wanted nothing to do with the monster or its terror. These people are not monster chasers and they sure as hell are not trying to destroy it. I for one was smart enough to realize this was more about the "humans" than the "monster".
January 20, 2008 at 07:35 AM
I wouldn't even give this movie points for Hud's 'funny' commentary. It got laughs because we were all so desperate to like it. Great review. Shaky cam was overdone. Didn't care what happened to the characters. J.J., the mist monster better be good. The bite explosion was cool, but what was the purpose other than to shake up the monotony?
January 20, 2008 at 08:09 AM
I could not disagree with you more about Cloverfield. It rocked my socks off, for exactly the reasons that you thought it sucked. I loved how real and unscripted it felt (even though it clearly wasn't). I feel like you missed the whole point of the film. It's as if all you wanted was money shots of the monster. I was actually surprised that we saw it as much as we did. "But as used in Cloverfield, the handheld camera conveys less a sense of immediacy and more a sense of this being a realty TV take on the monster genre" Umm. Yeah? That is the whole concept of the movie. How could you possibly have been excited about this movie for so long and not even known the BASIC PREMISE? Maybe you would have actually come to like the characters if you hadn't been counting down on your stopwatch waiting for the monster to be seen. I sure did. In fact, I was surprised by how invested I was in them. And how can you call trying to save the life of the person you love a "Stupid detour?" Are you human? After listening to the message she left on his voicemail, the only thing choice he could have made and still been a redeemable character was to go and rescue her. Also, if you don't think that Hud would have continued to hold onto the camera the whole time you obviously haven't watched many of the videos that came out of the 2004 tsunami.
January 20, 2008 at 08:15 AM
Darn it. The lack of an "edit post" button really hurts. Please pretend that the punctuation and grammar in my previous post are not as bad as they actually are. I would fix it, but I can't.
January 20, 2008 at 08:16 AM
If you want severe humanism at its finest, go see THE MIST. Well developed characters abound and how we react when we are faced with life and death situations. Watch out for those crazed evangelists!
January 20, 2008 at 08:28 AM
First off, great review. Very accurate for the opinionated majority. I just saw it and like many, I was extrememly disappointed. On the way home we all, instead of going over the coolest or most riveting parts of the movie, we hilariously laughed about it all. Although, the little nut-looking creatures with legs were kinda scary they were also very funny if you were with a large group of friends. The best part of the movie in relation to suspense and shock was the scene of "the bite" and the literally explosive death of the victim from the subway. None of us laughed when that shit went down. The monster itself ceased to scare us, because 20 mins into the movie we already knew what it was capable of and had already briefly seen the much more terrifying small spider-like creatures that fell off of it. So, with a lack of fear of the monster, that was consistently rampaging all around the human characters, and a concentrated human rescue objecive set out by the main character who was leading the film into a ridiculous attempt, we could take most entertainment from Hud. Hud nearly made every guy in the audience under the age of 40 piss his pants. He truly turned a sci-fi horror into a sci-fi comedy. His funniest comments were made when the monster and the monster's little babies appeared. Hud didn't even give us time to think about what the characters could do after they were attacked and in a safe-zone, because he had jokes to tell about the monster and its little babies and effectively humored the entire situation. Then at the end of the movie, our most entertaining character of the film died and left us with nothing but worthless human characters and confusion or wonder about the monster's motives and whereabouts. I think one of the biggest mistakes the movie-makers made was adding too much comic-relief. A little bit would have been nice, but intense "wow my stomach's hurting" laughter was not what I was expecting, however joyful. I think most girls were terrified during some of parts of the movie, but most are terrified in horors or sci-fis anyway and it seems that the majority of the audience was male, who are a bit tougher to scare than a female audience and tend to be the real challenge. Most of the male audience were occupied controlling their breathing from the non-stop or fairly frequent laughing.
January 20, 2008 at 08:40 AM
I thought Cloverfield was great and extremely intense once the action started. I would have liked to see a very good picture of the creature so I could determine what it was that I was looking at. I did not see that the creature had any claws, just tentacles and if I am correct, how did the statue of liberty get raked by massive claws? By the way, I thought 'The Host was a TERRIBLE movie! Thanks.
January 20, 2008 at 08:49 AM
this movie is a big bunch of shit. waste of time & not worth watching.
January 20, 2008 at 08:51 AM
Oh, sorry to post again, but I just had to talk about The Host for a second. If ever there was a monster movie that failed to live up to its hype, The Host was it. I liked the first monster attack ok but nothing in the rest of the film ever lived up to that moment. It actually took me three tries to make it to the end of that movie, I hated the characters so much. I kept going back to it because I had heard such great things and felt like somehow I must have been missing something, but even though I did eventually make it all the way through, I never did figure out what it was people liked about it. The main character was such a repellent, annoying, simpering idiot it actually made me physically uncomfortable to watch him. His family was hardly any better, being either hateful bullies or idiot-apologists. I really wanted them all to die. Arrgh. I can't even THINK about The Host without getting worked up. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. My name is Brad, and I hated The Host. I know that makes me lose a few hipster points, but so be it. Oh, also, since it has been mentioned, despite the character arc, Signs actually IS a movie about Aliens. Aliens who travel across the vast reaches of space but can't figure out how to use a door knob and who can be killed by water and yet chose to invade a planet made primarily of water. What would have happened if it had rained? Signs is an idiotic movie. (That said, I still enjoyed it, thanks to the characters and performances) Ok, I am done, I promise.
January 20, 2008 at 08:53 AM
OMG you hit it right on the head!! Not only were the stupid shaky cam effects annoying they were also NAUSEATING! I had to leave halfway through the movie to go breathe deep outside in order to not throw up. I really did love that they made our military not the usually assholes in ACU's but brave and knowledgeable even while facing something they couldnt defeat, I just wish there had been characters I gave even ONE care about instead of these annoying ppl that PURPOSEFULLY put themselves in harms way. I found myself praying that the stupid characters would hurry up and die so I could get out of the theater and my stomach would stop churning and my head would stop spinning. I was very disappointed. I dont get to see too many movies in the theater now that I have kids and I felt like it was one big rip off :(
January 20, 2008 at 08:58 AM
Uhhhhhhhm, V. Smith......We are not as "lucky" as you are that have time to think about every movies you have seen for DAYS, to us: "Have a day off, enjoy!, get over it after feeling refreshed and back to work in the very next day until the next weekend or day off" or should I say like: May be you'll understand someday when you have been out of school and more importantly your parent's house & everything else from them
January 20, 2008 at 11:03 AM
You people are all nuts. The movie was insane and beyond heart throbbing. You really have to think of it in the way that it really happened to enjoy it. It's not just a normal movie. In real life if you were running for your very life would you think you would be worried about how still the shot was and how good of a angle you can get on the creature. It has to be REAL or no one is buying. You have to feel that it happened and you are now watching the document of why we don't have new york any more. They did an outstanding job on the film that is all I need to say. Oh and about the ending It was well done. The one problem was that they felt they needed one more shot of the creature which I thought was ridiculous. They should have ended it at the helicopter crash, that would have been the best stop of the film.They were pretty high up at the time and I thought it was dumb that they got out with scraps and bruises but the pilots were dead. that is what I thought of the film.
January 20, 2008 at 11:10 AM
I think many you didn't like the movie are missing the whole point of the movie. It's not about the monster, it's about the 1st person view of a disaster, which happens to me a monster. If it happened in real life, you would never get a good view of the monster because of the chaos situation. The movie is about only seeing so much... people are so used to movies being the camera above a situation so you can see everything (3rd person view). It's just like the Pianist, where you only see what the character can see and not foresee anything.
January 20, 2008 at 02:27 PM
The person I feel sorry for is the reviewers son. Hopefully the kid will be able to break the cycle of closed mindedness being perpetrated in his household. I could understand a child being disappointed that they didn't see the big CGI monster immediately, but an adult?
January 20, 2008 at 04:48 PM
Watching this movie is a nightmare!!! Honestly..I to persuade myself to watch the story till the end but i cant because nausea is hitting me..I stormed out from the theater and vomit..why..because of the bad camerawork!
January 20, 2008 at 05:23 PM
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Cloverfield, and take issue with some of the points of the main review here. 1. Not seeing the monster for ten minutes is not a weakness of the film. Was it a weakness for Jaws? For Aliens? Assuming something like this could happen, the average citizen caught in the middle of things wouldn't realize right away what was happening. The fear was of the unknown... and then it continued when they saw what was attacking them. 2. You clearly wanted this to be another movie. Most monster films provide all the answers. That itself is a cliche; how often in real life do the answers for everything fall into our lap? Perhaps the military would figure out what this thing was, perhaps someone would piece together the clues fromother sources, but this movie was about the people on the ground, running for their lives, and catching glimpses that implied answers. 3. Someone here put it really well: Some people just wanted the movie to open with a scientist and government agent, giving a heavy-handed explanation for things. Cloverfield was a different animal. It offered a very realistic look in which all the answers are available, but we have to fend for ourselves and draw our own conclusions. Personally, I respected that. 4. I have to admit that I did NOT like The Host. The effects were excellent, and the broad daylight appeaance of the monster was fine. But I thought it was draggy, poorly acted (the funeral scene was horrendous, with her family falling all over erach other like the Keystone Kops.) 5. I am always suspicious when a bad review comes across as so emotional. I get it; you hated the movie. But your hatred of it seems to arise from your wanting it to fit a preconceived mold. Your flippant comment that anyone who liked it was probably texting their friends is strangely juvenile. I sat engrossed through the movie, finding it easy to imagine that I was viewing a recovered "first-hand account" of a horrifying mystery.
January 20, 2008 at 07:36 PM
Don't you think having all the thoughts of blair witch project, Abram, all the hype about the movie, the korean movie, and all the other examples confused you and made you not enjoy the movie? Man, do you really need to find a metaphor. I think its better that the monster shows up later on so it builds up the "WTF does that think look like" feeling. But man beth shoulda died. that was stupid. and how the hell did they survive a damh helicopter crash.
January 20, 2008 at 09:06 PM
The Host? Are you serious? I didn't care one lick for the characters because the film was gibberish. The first 20 minutes are all you need to see of The Host. And only then to satiate what clearly is a modern need to see everything instead of USING YOUR IMAGINATION and fearing what you can't see.
January 20, 2008 at 10:07 PM
I agree with the above review. Knowing about the monster is not important. Knowledge dosent make a good movie, good actors and scripts do. Altho Cloverfield had it's faults, at least J.J. had the balls to try something new and inventive. Do we really need another Godzilla movie? Story telling is about shaping original ideas, not taking a cookie cutter and producing mediocre movies that sell. Good (not great) movie, end of story.
January 20, 2008 at 10:18 PM
Well, Beth, you'll be pleased to know that my friend, Beth, is surprisingly agile, and managed not only to deflect the blow but also to kick my ass just a little bit. I think your problem with the film is that you wanted to view it as a story, when it is actually no more a story than Pink Floyd's "Echoes" is a song. Think about is as a burst of memes. In this way, it is a revolutionary work of art. (In an age when we lament the lack of innovation in film, I am surprised that this movie did not garner 100% praise.) Who can honestly say that the skewed skyscraper scene and subsequent rescue of (yet another) Beth wasn't plucked from their deepest and most surreal nightmare? I have dreamed this scenario, and doubtless, a million others have, too. THAT is why Cloverfield rocks.
January 20, 2008 at 10:37 PM
you ppl are idiots! She GOT the point of the movie how many times does she have to say it!! she got the damn point! The point of the review is, is that it is a bad movie that could have been so much better. And all of you saying how we have to look at it like it is a disaster that really happened, how insane is THAT?!! With all the invoking of 9/11 imagery they would have been better to just do a movie about 9/11 where some survivors were running around with a handy cam! Then yall make excuses for the nauseating camera jumps because the guy is running for his life?! What kind of idiot runs away for his life while still documenting not only his best friend's brother dying but also the chick that he has the hots for exploding in a spray of blood. That makes NO sense!! All of yall defending this movie are the types that would just defend something simply because you want to say "oh well they just didnt get it cause they dont want to think when they go to the movies...thank goodness I am so superior!" WE GOT IT!! we got the damn point of the movie!! we thought it was poorly done!!!
January 20, 2008 at 10:52 PM
Ok first off, whoever wrote this review is retarded. I just got back from seeing it and I thought it wuz superb. The whole point of the movie was to show that nobody knew what was going on. Of course we don't know why the creature attacked or where it came from. Nobody did. Some kids were throwing a party for their friend and all of a sudden the earth trembles and the lights go out. Nobody knows why. That's the point. It's a documentary. You're not supposed to know. That's what made the movie so good. I was on edge the entire time wondering what's going to happen next. And the thing about the camera shaking, that was good. If you watched the movie right, it felt like you were watching something that had actually happened. I was really impressed with the movie. The monster was cool, the little monsters were cool. It wasn't some "typically American" movie where a few nobodys see a monster and grab guns and rocket launchers and save the world. No, instead it was about some people who tried to survive the horror of a lifetime. I would give the movie a 10 out of 10.
January 20, 2008 at 11:55 PM
You're reaction to the movie is understandable--given your callous disregard for the characters themselves. All you wanted to see was the monster. You're like a NASCAR fan who just wants to see a crash. You miss the point of the entire race.
January 20, 2008 at 11:59 PM
rissa, I think that you just proved that you are the idiot.
January 21, 2008 at 12:14 AM
beth, you are an idiot. you missed the entire point of this movie. it definitely lived up to the hype and was better then i expected.
January 21, 2008 at 12:17 AM
and you are not an idiot? talking about how we had all these videos from 9/11? while that may be true no one who was in immediate danger (like when the smaller creatures were attacking the chars) were recording not just the attacks but the actual deaths of ppl they supposedly cared about? please all of this talk about how the jerkiness of the camera is supposed to make it more realistic is ridiculous considering it was about a creature that was a rip off from just about every creature movie out there. It wasnt a fresh idea and the jerkiness of the camera angles and the absurdity of the "plot" were really the two things that really brought this movie down. However there you go again once again "oh these ppl are just so stupid because they didnt want to THINK!" well buddy you arent superior you are just pretentious and unwilling to concede that for most the jerkiness of the camera angles were not just nauseating but that the only reason it will have a good opening weekend is because of the brilliant ad campaign.
January 21, 2008 at 01:23 AM
So people don't film things when they're in immediate danger? What about the guy who filmed 2004's tsunami right up until it washed him away and he drowned? Or how about the student who filmed the Virginia Tech shooting? And how can you say that a narrative style that is supposed to create a realistic effect is ridiculous when dealing with something fantastic? That's the whole point of the movie (which you actually did miss)! So please, don't pontificate about people whom you perceive are "pretentious" just because a certain narrative effect escapes your understanding. It's one thing to say you didn't like the effect of a handheld camera and the restrictions that it brings to a film. But to say the movie was bad as a result is assinine. The movie accomplished what it set out to do masterfully.
January 21, 2008 at 01:34 AM
Beth, spot on with your review. I was so excited about this movie ever since "Transformers", waited all this time just to respond with, "That's it?" I saw a plot summary online today and it had said that the final scene at Coney Island, I guess there was something splashing in the water in the background...I guess I zoned out by that point. I also would not recommendanyone who gets motion sickness to see this film, because it actually made my wife sick from the bouncing camera work. Great Review! I'm going to see "The Host" now.
January 21, 2008 at 01:36 AM
You'll probably say "that's it?" and zone out again. Seriously, just because you agreed with her review, I wouldn't recommend that movie.
January 21, 2008 at 01:44 AM
Dear Rissa, You might want to look into something called Suspension of Disbelief. Every movie you have ever seen, every film that has ever been made, requires it. Why would Hud film his friends dying? You might as well ask, Why did Han Solo speak English? Why did Captain Kirk easily use time travel to save the day in The Voyage Home, but not at any other time? How did Clark Kent and Lois Lane get home from the arctic in Superman II? Why did Clark Griswald's children look different in every Vacation film? Why did Jack Skellington feel the urge to burst into song every ten minutes or so? Why do little words pop up at the bottom of the screen when Japanese people talk? Or even, why are characters seemingly never aware of the multiple cameras trained on them?
January 21, 2008 at 01:58 AM
rissa said, "and you are not an idiot? talking about how we had all these videos from 9/11? while that may be true no one who was in immediate danger" I guess you forgot the videos of the buildings falling right in front of the people while the debris swept through the streets right towards the camera....how were those taken?! ..back to the other idiot
January 21, 2008 at 03:09 AM
The hand-held camera is a great idea on paper... in reality it made me a bit dizzy. Movie seemed to be longer than it should be. What if they had gone real time? That would have been something.
January 21, 2008 at 03:11 AM
I don't understand you people! I'll be the first one to say it (Godzilla sucked!) I know I am gonna get ripped apart for that one but it is worth it to fight for what i believe. King Kong sucked something that rhymed with King Kong. All these movies served to do was create an avalanche of sappy love stories with a hint of monster that is still tumbling down this mountain of recycled garbage that is Hollywood. Cloverfield was a great, suspenseful, well put together film. I liked the fact that they don't tell you what the monster is or where it's from. At least he wasn't created from a nuclear blast or from planet Zeblaneria 6. This movie had an entirely different approach and i'm not talking about the blair witch camera style. I personally loved the way almost everyone dies and the realism of the military response . P.S screw the 911 crap if you were offended because this reminded you of that than you obviously are a pu****
January 21, 2008 at 04:27 AM
ummm ... you guys are kidding right? I know you are so smart and creative and don't want to insult your god that made Lost and all that other "you don't get it b/c you're not in the know" garbage. The movie sucked. I was so insulted. I'm sure it was mad sick for all you Midwesterners to watch NYC get blown to bits. Let me tell you from a New Yorker's point of view, I was sickened. It was really cheap to take images that everyone knows invokes certain feelings and then add in your bad guy. I get nervous everytime I see footage of buildings collapsing, smoke clouds, mass panic etc. etc. Mr. Abrams knows that and exploited it to his advantage for his movie. Yeah, yeah it effected all Americans. New Yorkers feel a lot more when they see those images. Don't try and tell me any different. Unfortunately, not even a cheap tactic like that could create a quality movie. I hated those "we're so trendy and cool" characters. I wanted them all to die and quickly, at that. The movie had so many holes in it. Let's review: -Our villian was a predator-like/evil squirrel giant monster that came out of the water that dripped evil spiders? Yeah. Okay. Well thought out on that one. -Dude's brother died and they're like "aww man, that sucks, but let's concentrate on finding this chick that's so barely our friend that we didn't even know if she was coming to our party tonite." That would definitely be my priority too! -Cell phones work. Cell phones don't work. Cell phones work. Cell phones don't work. I know! Let's make them work whenever it's to our benefit. P.S. Giant tragedy in NY with power shortages, your cell phones won't work ESPECIALLY when you are underground by the subway...... -Chick gets IMPALED through the chest ..... and then runs Jackie Joyner Kercey style to the helicopter. Don't people usually bleed out ... or at least get shortness of breath? -They kept living! Impalement. No biggie. Those spiders that kicked our gov'ts asses? Our heroes could fight them with metal sticks they apparently had. Even after the bombing, they were alive long enough to say their I love you's. And the list goes on.... Usually I wouldn't post about anything b/c I don't care. But this movie was an insult, beyond shaky camera techniques. J.J. Abrams should stick to making tv shows that people can't wait to end.
January 21, 2008 at 05:03 AM
Omigod, I can't believe some of you guys trying to find so much fault with a movie. Some of us loved it and some of us hated it, so what?! It's just that the reasons you guys pick for hating it don't make sense(except I understand not liking some of the shaky cam). Trying to rationalize a fictional monster movie is ridiculous. The cell phones, the look of the monster,hating the characters,battery life of the cam, filming as buildings are falling ,the girl running with a hole in her....who the f**k cares! That's what made the movie entertaining for those of us who liked it. Quit picking it apart for stupid reasons. I am only defending comments that aren't true, such as saying that people wouldn't film when their life is in danger, we have proof that that isn't true. The other comments being that the movie was bad because it was all camcorder and the beginning was too long.....that was the way it was supposed to be! If you didn't know that ahead of time then that's your problem, but don't say everyone else is wrong because we understood the concept. That doesn't make us smart and you dumb, some of us were just prepared for what we were going to see and some of you wouldn't have gone if you knew that was how it was going to go down.
January 21, 2008 at 05:57 AM
"Our villian was a predator-like/evil squirrel giant monster that came out of the water that dripped evil spiders? Yeah. Okay. Well thought out on that one." "Dudes brother died and theyre like aww man, that sucks, but lets concentrate on finding this chick thats so barely our friend that we didnt even know if she was coming to our party tonite. That would definitely be my priority too!" "spiders that kicked our govts asses? Our heroes could fight them with metal sticks they apparently had. Even after the bombing, they were alive long enough to say their I love yous. And the list goes on." Fox, you're the biggest fucking idiot ever. The villian was a "giant squirrel monster?" ya ok, cuz it definitely looked like a squirrel. And if you watched the movie properly, the guy Rob, was mourning over his brother. he had to tell his mom that his bro did and he wuz bawling, along with his bro's girlfriend. and the girl they were trying to save, was the main character's "love." u kno the girl that kept appearing on the tape that wuz recorded over? or did u not watch properly? R u fucking stupid? She was at the party dumbass, and she played a huge part in the movie. And when the gov't was supposedly "getting their asses kicked," if u were watching properly, a ton of creatures swarmed from the beast and the army killed some, but also, some of the army guys got killed. and its not like the main characters were carrying around the metal poles, they were in a subway so of course stuff like that is lying around. your review made no sense. next time you go see a movie, actually watch it. fucking moron...
January 21, 2008 at 07:27 AM
To the original reviewer, I was reading through the comments, and you mentioned a point that if anyone wanted to read an impartial plot summary, they should go get the press kit. Now, I'm not sure whether you read the production notes or not, but I have, and there was a quote I hoped you had read: "Abrams conceived the idea of making a movie involving a new monster, though he realized it would require a substantially different approach from the original Godzilla and its numerous sequels and remakes. 'I began thinking, what if you were to see a monster the size of a skyscraper, but through the point of view of someone, relatively speaking, the size of a grain of sand? To see it not from Gods eye or a directors or from an omnipotent point of view.'" If you had read the production notes, you would have already known what the director's intent was. It wasn't to make a creature like Godzilla, it was to make something radically different. You went in with a preconceived notion for a formulaic film, and you chastise it for not following conventions. That's not a hinderance, it's an asset. Yes, the supporting characters were a little stupid. Yes, there were a couple moments I thought were retarded...but it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Sure, the handheld work is supposed to be like that. If Hud kept the camera at his side or in his pocket for the entire film, then there would be no movie, would there? It's a stylized view of the human reaction to a cataclysmic event like a monster attack. You stated as much when you said, "So, the monster did not appear in the first ten minutes, and yes, ultimately, Cloverfield sucked." Yes, you're a Godzilla fan. I get it. That doesn't mean you have to limit your enjoyment of a film that tries to buck the trend by offering something different. Practically every movie nowadays takes plot elements from older films. Cloverfield is no different, but it's the execution of those elements that differentiates from everything else. I had heard a theory on another message board that the entire film itself is being archived not for the footage that takes place over the duration of the film, but for the few seconds at the end of the movie where Rob inadvertantly filmed an object hitting the water near Coney Island. Just my two thoughts.
January 21, 2008 at 08:09 AM
January 21, 2008 at 08:13 AM
I totally have to agree. this reminded me of the host and lost at the same time. its not like i wanted to know everything but some more information would of been good. and the whole plot going to save this girl that he dumped was ridiclous. perhaps i different way of showing teh mission would of been better. btw i had a massive headache after the monster showed up cause of all the shaky camera work.
January 21, 2008 at 08:20 AM
crazyrabbits, that was great post! The press kit has spoken! ....and did people REALLY get dizzy and headaches from this film or are they just being dramatic? I'm partial to motion sickness and none of it bothered me at all. I would think you would have to be sitting really close as I saw some audience members doing to get that type of effect.
January 21, 2008 at 12:49 PM
People really did get headaches from this film - I'm not at all susceptible to motion sickness and I felt a bit ill halfway through the movie and my friend felt ill about twenty minutes in. Admittedly we were sitting in the front row and that probably played a big role in such affairs, but any movie that nauseates you kind of sucks. Also, I wouldn't knock the movie for trying something different. That's okay, go ahead and characterise the pawns that are going to be inevitably crushed by the monster later, but I can't say they were at all sympathetic to me - then again, I hate twentysomethings and most of their associated doings with 20-40% of my hate reserves so I was probably biased there. I was really feeling bored and felt that the scenes just dragged on with the random clips of Beth and Rob and the whole of the party - spare us the "he's, like, your main dude" and awkward flirting and just get to the wanton destruction. The monster was kind of neat, I guess, but I wish the movie were more about the monster and less about mediocre characters who suck. I go to a monster flick to see monsters, I do not go to a monster flick to see people I don't care about. A similar thing happened with Transformers - it advertised itself as being a movie about giant robots from space but wound up being mostly about some stupid teenager being the magical robot explorer prince. Also, in regards to pulling the "suspension of disbelief" card that occured earlier, that's all fine and dandy, but does that really have a place in a movie that's purporting to be all hells of realistic by being filmed and then edited to look like it's on a terrible handheld camera without SteadyCam? All in all, Cloverfield was merely okay and blessedly short.
January 21, 2008 at 01:59 PM
it's so disappointing to grow up and become a grown woman just to find that 90% of your peers are dumb uneducated hillbillies who can't spell or display critical thinking skills...it's a bad movie about a fucking overgrown seamonkey you stupid crackers get over it..it got hyped up and we got played...jj got his money and is laughing his ass off at all you dumb ass hillbillies who can't accept that folks with DNA more superior to your own may not have liked the movie.
January 21, 2008 at 02:38 PM
I sat near the front of the theatre (four rows away from the front row), wearing glasses, and I barely felt anything, save for a few moments when the camera is shaking all over the place as they're running in the subway. I don't doubt the claims of motion sickness, but the theatre I went to told audiences upfront at the ticket purchase desk that it may cause motion sickness. Don't get me started on "The Host" either. That film was woefully inconsistent, with one of the worst endings I've seen to a film in years.
January 21, 2008 at 06:02 PM
Interesting and well-thought out review. And I respectfully disagree with it entirely. It appears you are looking for a traditional horror/creature movie. That's fine, but I am tired of the same old schtick. I was gripped by this film. I didn't feel ripped off at all. Quite the contrary; I was excited by letting my imagination fill in the rest of the film. Over and over again, when I see monsters in movies, I am disappointed. Remember the end of Alien, when we finally see the entire creature outside the spaceship? What was a mysterious mass of leathery skin, dripping saliva and strange appendages glimpsed in the murky darkness now turns out to be a man in a rubber suit. I was 14 when I saw that and even then recognized that the real power of a great horror movie is what they don't show. And for me Cloverfield provided that.
January 21, 2008 at 06:26 PM
I have to disagree about The Host. I felt it suffered the same fate as Cloverfield due mainly in part to the hype. The reviewers for The Host all made the same comparison - Jaws. Holding this comparison in mind I was quite disappointed when I saw the monster in the first five minutes and never found myself clinging to my boyfriend in horror. The hype surrounding Cloverfield was to be expected from JJ Abrams as well as the delivery. All questions and no answers is just what he does. But for a change, he does answer the origin of the monster in the only way JJ can. In the final shot of the movie where our "heroes" look out over the water in Coney Island you can faintly see something fall from the sky and crash into the water. Good luck forming your own conclusions like we tried with the smoke monster in Lost.
January 21, 2008 at 07:09 PM
the movie was very good, nice to see you're up for something different, simpleton.
j from btown
January 24, 2008 at 04:16 AM
Um, I immediately thought the host, just by watching the trailer. As a matter of fact me and my friends had a conversation about it before I saw the movie. Yet, it took some of what the host had to offfer as inspiration, and said this is what could have been done. I loved the host, but this movie took it to another level. I totally disagree with the critic, and think this was a wonderful movie. Every character in the movie that you follow dies, and New York goes out with an atomic bomb. What can be better than that? This movie will stand the test of time I can assure you.
noelle from jersey city
January 24, 2008 at 07:50 PM
I have to add my 2 cents - I can't believe how many people think this movie is "new" and "refreshing" "believable" and has " characters that you do care about" - WHAT??? I hated this movie - not for the same reason as our reviewer. I hated it because it so obviously stole from Blair witch Project (which I love) and also from actual 9/11 footage. it's not only not original but it is also in very bad taste. The characters were so obnoxious it made the movie almost unbearable. You think thier journey was believable and realistic???? You think they are the only ones in NY who would venture down into the subway? You think you just lose your brother/boyfriend and you react so non-chalantly.You think you are up on the 40th floor crossing over to another buliding and theres no wind.. I could go on and on about how UNbelievable this movie is! AND they didn't gratify me by killing off these people in a gruesome fashion! I was annoyed through the whole thing. I hate "Hollywood" really stylized films so I thought I would love this, but nope it was just plain bad.
January 24, 2008 at 11:06 PM
To Noelle: 1-I guess when building fall for excavation that will be compared to 9-11 too 2-their journey may have not been believable but it was very realistic, the special effects looked like they were actually happening 3-everyone freaked out when Jason was killed, but they still had to try and survive 4-there was wind on the top of the building, didn't you hear it? You could see everything blowing in Beth's apt 5-I cared for all the characters 6-are you sure you saw the right movie? ....I love it when comments are made on here that are so false, if you didn't like the movie I can understand, but these comments you are using as a basis are not all true.
Vicki from San Francisco Bay Area
January 25, 2008 at 01:34 AM
I think this review does a disservice to those that have NOT seen the flick. It wasn't that the story or monster sucked. It was the PEOPLE in the movie that had me groaning and wanting to tear my hair out of my head. It was WORSE than Blair Witch in that regard. All the idiotic behaviors by the characters made me cheer for the monster. The screaming and running around worrying about that Rob character was not remotely realistic. I'm sorry, if any of my family members, let alone a friend, ran toward the monster rampaging the city, they'd be left on their own. NO ONE in the audience bought that or cared for that matter. This was one of the most irritating movies I've ever seen. The sign of an awful movie is the complete silence of the audience when the movie ends. After viewing Cloverfield, you could hear a pin drop.
Vicki from San Francisco Bay Area
January 25, 2008 at 01:38 AM
BTW, one of the posters reminded me about the shaky camera shots. It made me so nauseous that I was glad I hadn't bought any popcorn or had anything to eat before the movie. When I left I saw that someone had heaved on the floor near the exit. I guess they couldn't get out of the screening room fast enough. I wish I had thought to bolt out before wasting over an hour of my life.
January 25, 2008 at 09:16 PM
I hated it. Period.
AAD from Massachusetts
January 26, 2008 at 05:41 AM
I was wondering why you felt The Host was such a good movie? Believe me this is no attack on how you feel about the movie, but I felt that the movie had a great start, but when it hit the middle it became really a great bore. Could you explain why you liked it so much? I am very curious about this.
January 26, 2008 at 06:04 AM
To AAD - Here's my review of The Host, maybe that will explain why I liked it. http://www.kpbs.org/blogs2/movies/2007/03/09/the-hostinterview-with-bong-joon-ho/ I thought it was Little Miss Sunshine gene sliced with Alien, and loved the wild mix of genres. I liked the characters, thought the monster was great and appreciated the social commentary. Yes I think it could have been tightened up but it's still a favorite of mine. Hope that helps to clarify.
January 27, 2008 at 05:30 AM
Waitaminute--you have a 3-foot tall Godzilla and Gamera in your home!? Marry me. ;-P For real, I'm about to see this movie with some fellow kaiju fans tomorrow night. It's gonna be tough NOT to compare this film with The Host (which I enjoyed immensely)...but I'm trying to go into this viewing with the perspective that--despite the creators' intentions--this film seems more traditionally to fit in with the disaster genre, rather than the giant monster one. Still, insipid human drama often ruins films for me too...so I've set me expectations accordingly low. Good luck to me. ... Seriously...marry me!
January 28, 2008 at 12:36 PM
Excellent review Beth. I had no expectations going in and had avoided any marketing or gimmicks, so I found it enjoyable. However, the end turned up waaay too quickly and I also agree about your 'baked into the mold' comment. Unfortunately that scene in the tunnel with the night vision, a moment which should have given a good scare, was nicked from ' The Descent' - a far superior scene from a far superior movie.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
January 28, 2008 at 04:46 PM
To Sanjeev -- Well this is my first marriage proposal on the blog. Do you want to marry me or just get the Godzilla and Gamera? I think you are dead on in saying Cloverfield is more in the disaster mold than the monster mold. Upon reflection I wish I had pointed that out as well. I think you will like the creature. Let me know what you think. And to Timmay -- Yes Descent was better and the subway scene was reminiscent of the claustrophobic scenes in that film. But my more immediate impression was that it was referencing Pitch Black. And belatedly to Simman-- I'm glad your friend was agile and that you do seem to have a sense of humor. Hope I'm as fast as she is if we ever meet. Thanks to all for posting comments despite the bugginess of the site as we make some changes.
January 28, 2008 at 06:49 PM
Hey Beth, With a name like Sanjeev I think you might have to get his parents approval first. I don't want to marry you cause I'm still frustrated at the comments you made about this movie that I loved.....and because I'm Gay too....do you have a brother?
Beth Accomando from San Diego
January 28, 2008 at 07:15 PM
Gee, I'm touched that you're looking out for me... or were you looking out for Sanjeev. But based on his comments, he sounds like he does his own thinking and doesn't need his parents' approval. Yes I have a brother but he's a fan of The Host and Godzilla. I haven't asked if he liked Cloverfield. So he may not be a good match for you either. I'm glad that you seemed to have moved from hate to mere frustration over my opinion. If you keep posting, I might have to give you your own blog space here.
January 29, 2008 at 12:11 AM
This review is based mostly upon the fact that you found it dumb. I'm sorry to say a good critic does not just say a movie sucked. People like you ruin movies. Please make your own movie if you think you could make such a better one. Its so interesting that people can bash a movie for being different experimental. Critics hold back new ideas from surfacing because of their old time thoughts on "how it should be". Please do not act as if you could have done better. Reviewing a movie to make it sound like it sucked to make you look like a genius is pretty easy my friend. Don't waste your time.
January 29, 2008 at 02:11 AM
Yes I found it dumb and I specified the reasons. I didn't bash it to feel superior but to hopefully save others from the disappointment I felt after seeing it. Plus I didn't bash it for being experimental but rather for NOT being experimental enough. And people are obviously losing interest in the film since it had a huge 68% drop off this weekend in box office and fell to number four. It got beat out by two films that are even dumber -- Meet the Spartans and Rambo. But at least Meet the Spartans knows it's dumb. Go see Inland Empire or Youth Without Youth if you want to see filmmakers who are really experimenting with the medium. Or check out any of the films by Aaron Soto or Cathy Alberich that I have shown at my student festival Film School Confidential. Rather than holding back ideas I am actively helping young filmmakers to get their experimental works shown.
Heather from Macon, GA
January 29, 2008 at 03:24 AM
Overall, I actually liked the movie. I enjoyed the perspective, and while I DO agree that the party scene went on WAY too long, I disagree about caring for the characters. I saw just enough of their lives to be kinda curious about more, and to be a tad bit sad when they died. My biggest problem was sheer motion sickness. They should not let pregnant women watch this flick... I seriously had to get up and go throw up right before they showed the monster for the first time. I really enjoyed it, even if I wasn't able to look directly at the screen much of the time... the way the movie was shot actually made it possible to NOT look and still keep up with the story. I won't call it refreshing or innovative (it is neither. It's been done - even the snotty nosed woman crying at the end) but I will say I enjoyed it.
January 29, 2008 at 04:47 AM
All right, Ms. Accomando, ya caught me. At first, my only interest was the Godzilla and Gamera toys. But, hey, it's not everyday a brotha meets (albeit online!) a lady into such things! Furthermore, after seeing the movie last night armed with a bottle of double-strength Pepto, I pretty much agree with your assessment of the movie. Hey, that's something else in common, right?? ;) Oh, and by the way, NoVaDJ, if you have...thoughts...about someone's heritage, it may be best to post them in the form of a question addressing that person directly. By all means, ask. I won't mind! Yes, I'm South Asian, but automatically making assumptions about my way of life based merely on what--for all you know--could be nothing more than a randomly-chosen internet handle is a form of racism. This public service announcement brought to you by...Michael Bay's Transformers: More Racial Stereotypes Than Meets The Eye! Now back to Cloverfield... Okay, first, I didn't *hate* it. I mean, it was pretty bad, but I had a good time with good friends, so the overall experience was cool...and remember, my expectations were pretty low, so the net result was pleasant enough. As far as the raw movie went, however, I was pretty underwhelmed. Anyway, the film's gimmick--depicting the traditional monster attack from the POV (shaky-cam!) of your average Mo--was a brave move...and visually, it was executed well enough, I suppose. Still, I have zero desire to see it again. Or see such a gimmick repeated in any other film. I didn't find the humans to be quite as insipid as you did, Beth...but, again, as insipid as they certainly were, the effect was diminished for me because I was prepared by your review! Still, they were annoying enough to make me roll my eyes and shake my head more than a few times. Again, reason enough not to want a second viewing...ever. Okay, let's talk monster. First, I found the little parasites horrendously derivative. Insert pretty much any human-ish-sized buglike alien here. Oh, you blow up after they bite you? Um...who cares? As for the main monster, I thought it's fundamental design was fairly uninteresting. It was pretty much *exactly* what I expected--something "different" enough from existing giant monsters...and yet "generic" in that Hollywood CG creature sense. Some have argued that it's tough to be original in designing a giant monster for the screen, and that the filmmakers here have pulled off a suitably alien-looking creature that ACTUALLY looks like a living thing. Sure, the CG is well done and the creature *looks* alive, but it's just not a "cool-looking monster" to me. Ironically enough, after lambasting the designers for the worn-out look given to the parasites, I actually would have *preferred* some derivation in the main monster! As long as it just looked good. Really, was that too much to ask? I collect kaiju toys and write about them for a website (hence my proposal!), so monster design is something I pay pretty close attention to. Hasbro is releasing a deluxe toy of the main creature next Fall that I'm sure my boss'll make one of us review...but after seeing the movie, I have absolutely no desire to pick one up. Anyhoo...as infrequent as they were, I DID like the action sequences concerning the main monster...they blended nicely with the shaky cam. I think my favorite shot was the B2 carpet-bombing the thing. There just wasn't enough such visual creativity consistently through the film. [Oh, as you can probably guess, I found the sequences with the parasites were terribly hackneyed.] Ultimately, I think the film lacked enough interesting human drama or creative action (whether you liked the designs or not) to keep me interested. Again, cute gimmick overall--and I think Abrams deserves some credit for having the hutzpah to give it a shot--but I just didn't care enough about the humans and their struggle. The Host didn't need the you-are-there shaky cam to draw in its audience. Yeah, I hate to keep comparing Cloverfield to The Host, but it seems unavoidable! I thought The Host was VASTLY superior. The monster design in The Host made me yawn too, but as you mentioned, the audience gets to see more of it and its behavior, so it ends up having more personality than the Cloverfield monster. The critical difference, however, is clearly the people. While I was prepared for the pissants in Cloverfield...they were still pissants. The family in The Host, on the other hand, was absolutely wonderful! I'd go deeper, but I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it. Do yourself a favor and pick that one up! Beth, I took your advice and had The Host ready to roll as soon as we got back last night. All I can say is GOOD CALL! ;)
January 29, 2008 at 05:46 AM
Hey Sanjeev, I was hesitant about making that comment in the first place, but thought I was being humorous, not hateful or racist. I am so far from racist it's not funny....most of the films I watch are Hindi,Telugu and Tamil and so are my friends so I thought I was familiar with the name and the culture . Sorry if you took it to have a deeper meaning.....if you weren't so hung up on Beth I would be interested in that marriage proposal! ...and Beth, I enjoyed THE HOST, but when I watched it a second time with some friends I noticed how slow it was.....
Beth Accomando from San Diego
January 29, 2008 at 04:44 PM
As I have learned, humor does not always come through when it's just text on a screen. Irony and sarcasm are even harder to convey and I know I've said things that people take as dead serious and I meant it as a joke. So I'm learning. And to Sanjeev -- what's your website where you review toys? I also have a plush Godzilla collection including a Cousin It looking Smog Monster. Thanks for making my day with your comments.
January 30, 2008 at 06:36 PM
Does anyone else find it funny that Accomando refers to "South Korea's 'The Host'", as if said film was somehow a product of the country itself, and not that of director and co-screenwriter Bong Joon-ho among others?
January 30, 2008 at 06:57 PM
Odd...my comment yesterday seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace... Well anyway, NoVaDJ, it's all good, bruh! Like Beth said, the subtleties of real human communication are often lost on the internets. I just wanted to make that comment to be clear to other readers. And, hey, I may be hung up on Beth, but by all means, if ya find yourself in Boston, we can still get a beer! Beth, I write for CollectionDX.com, a site that covers vintage and contemporary Japanese (and some US) robot and monster toys. One of my more recent articles, in fact, was a domestic Godzilla collectible: http://www.collectiondx.com/node/1966 Heh...I know that Cousin It-esque Hedorah plushie you're talking about! That's great. I'm not really a plush collector, but the Destroyah in that series is pretty killer. Anyway, before this discussion gets *too* derailed(!), I wanted to mention a couple more things about Cloverfield. First, I didn't want to give the impression that I think The Host is the greatest thing since model animation, folks in rubber suits, or sliced bread. In a lot of ways, however, I think comparing it to Cloverfield makes sense. Both films approach the classic giant monster genre from a contemporary, "realistic" angle, focusing more on sophisticated portrayals human drama than on the monster, itself. This comparison fits much better than, say, Cloverfield and Godzilla: Final Wars. At the end of the day, though, I'd take Godzilla vs The Smog Monster over any of these! There's plenty of serious stuff in the real world for me to worry about! I can therefore really appreciate the simplicity and fun of older monster films (giant, Japanese or otherwise). Also, I just wanted to make an observation...it's funny how some folks get *really* bent out of shape when one reviews a film they like negatively. It never fails to fascinate me. I figure, if one is going to take the time to post publicly about his or her opinion, then one should take the time to explain that opinion thoroughly. If that's successfully done, how can people complain? By all means, agree or disagree, but what sense is it to get upset about a differing take from someone whom you've probably never met, nor ever will? I'm reminded of a heated debate we got into on CollectionDX about the ugly racial stereotypes in Bay's Transformers. It was a great discussion, but it was amazing at how quickly fans of the movie got upset! Of course, that's a more extreme example as racism is such a hot-button topic, but you can still see the same effect in some of the previous comments on this review...
Beth Accomando from San Diego
January 30, 2008 at 07:22 PM
I referred to The Host as South Korea's The Host not to deny credit to Bong Joon-ho and company but because I felt that most readers would not know the director's name. And the film is a product of South Korea and the film's country of origin has significant meaning in the way the story plays out. If you bothered to click on the link you would have realized that I took the time to seek out an interview with Bong Joon-ho and post a feature on him. Plus, I like to give props to a small country that has managed to make films that beat Hollywood fare at its own local box office. But if you want to take offense at the fact that I identify a foreign film by its country of origin, go right ahead. And for fans of Bong's The Host (there, is that better?) HanCinema posted that Chungeoram Film has revealed that the sequel will actually be a prequel, set in 2003, and is to feature multiple monsters: " Writer Kang Do-yoon, a popular Internet cartoonist known by his pen-name Kang-full (Kang Doo), is said to have completed the screenplay for the blockbuster project which plans to go into production this summer. While a new director and cast have yet to be announced, the 'prequel' will this time feature monsters appearing from the Cheonggyecheon, a newly developed stream and leisure area running through central Seoul." And Sanjeev-- thanks for the link and the comments!
jonas from california
February 01, 2008 at 04:13 PM
I saw the "Cloverfield" a couple of weeks ago and still thinking about it. I did immediately inject 9/11 as I viewed it. Cooments about no caring about the characters means nothing, I mean I didn't know anyone who died on 9/11 but I did still care. I liked this movie very much because it seemed real enough for such a far-fetch idea to occur. Maybe as far fetched as people hijacking airplanes and then flying them into buildings. I did look around the theater to see how people were reacting to "Cloverfield " and everyone that I could see was looking straight at the screen, and attentive. Occasional whispers to someone in thenext seat but eyes remained onscreen. The little spider-like spawns attacking, biting the humans left me feeling like there is no hope for Manhatten tonight. The ineffective US military, places to run but no ability to hide from certain death on such a grand scale left me feeling vulnerable for a long time, even as I sat in my car warming it up to go home after the movie. So it changed me for a day or two. Just like "Jaws" did when I was 13 years old I guess. I am not someone who needs to have all my questions answered by a movie character (like a CIA agent, 5 Star general or analyst type) how ridiculous is that to criticize a movie because of your lack opf brain power moron. Anyway loved it
February 01, 2008 at 06:18 PM
Hey Sanjeev, what a cool website! I think what has upset me about some of the negative comments about Cloverfield is that while I was watching the film I was so into it and thinking what a great movie it was and I was blown away by the ending....then I go online and read all these negative comments.... BUT, the things that people hated were all the reasons that I loved the movie! To me most of these reasons didn't make sense such as: 1-The battery life-the film was only 70 min, batteries last for 2hrs or longer 2-Dolby sound-camcorders have dolby sound 3-No one would stand there filming while in danger-we have 9-11 vids and tsunami vids that disprove this 4-The people were annoying and no one cared if they died-that's just personal opinion and I found them interesting 5-They didn't show the monster enough-the film was about people trying to stay alive in an emergency situation ,not the monster 6-The characters didn't react enough over a death-that one is just plain wrong, the characters reacted with grief,but they still had to flee for their lives 7-There was no wind blowing on top of the building-this one amazes me cause you could hear the wind and see it blowing inside of the apartment 8-There is no explanation about the monster-that one amazes me too, the film was taking place in the viewfinder of a camcorder, where is the explanation supposed to come from?! 9-No one would risk their lives to save Beth-that's the only one that maybe could be debated, but their would be no movie otherwise ...and all that motion sickness stuff...SIT FARTHER BACK!
thomas edwards from england
February 04, 2008 at 11:16 PM
I have to say I dissagree with this review, I went to see it after having only seen the trailers and came away thinking it was great! Admittedly the Host is better, no arguments there, but I don't get what the problem is about not really seeing the monster, several other horror films hardly show their monsters such as jaws and alien and are all the better for it, your imagination can often come up with something much more scary than reality, after all in jaws when you actually see the shark it looks more stupid than scary, this film is actually bettered by only showing glimpses of the beast. As for an explanation, how would they get one? wouldn't it be a bit odd if all of a sudden a scientist appears in the middle of the event and explains exactly what it is?
February 04, 2008 at 11:37 PM
Thomas-- I think I wanted more of the monster because it was the only thing I liked about the film (and I didn't necessarily need to see more of it but just that it got more screen time of some sort). And I wouldn't want a scientist to come out and "explain" the monster. What I liked about The Host was that we learned about the monster not by having anyone tell us about it but simply by getting a chance to see it in different circumstances. I'm glad you enjoyed Cloverfield -- I wish I had enjoyed because I did go in with high hopes after the Comic-Con buzz (and maybe that wasn't fair). But I'm also glad you enjoyed The Host more. Thanks for the comment.
February 05, 2008 at 12:40 AM
I think Cloverfield could have been brilliant. The host is much better because it has characters i cared about. Cloverfield gave me a bunch of pretty 30 year olds (and Hud) and stuck them in a situation that seemed like a post modern experiment gone. There are several stupid bits in the movie that dont make sense. I have seen a terrorist attack up close and although the beginning did convey this the rest of the film relied on stupid scenarios. Note to film makers.. dont injure characters badly and then have them forget terrible injuries to play hero dont have the monster have a vendetta against the pretty cast.. New York is big enough for them to only see the creature once a copter that crashes at 1000 ft will kill all on board why would the evac copter follown said monster.. I COULD GO ON... brilliant idea sadly badly done and the most overhyped film i have seen in ages
February 05, 2008 at 06:49 AM
Firstly, I loved this movie and thought that the characters were fairly likable and realistic. Sure they could have been realer, however, it is a movie. I think that many of my predecessors have already given many valid reasons this film was good, in addition to refuting arguments against this movie. Also, I sat front row, center and did not experience motion sickness. Granted I always do that, but, this was way closer a front row than most I also know that everyone is different and some get dizzy more easily than I. Anyway, despite the closeness, I felt that it enhanced the experience and made it feel more real. Now on to more pressing matters. First, let me state clearly that I did NOT follow the viral marketing prior to the film and still immensely enjoyed it, however, I did look deeply into it after having seen it and the movie feels more complete because of it. During this next section I will be referring to sources that I will not cite, as I did not foresee it as necessary to remember them, seeing as I did not think I would have to be some sort of compendium of Cloverfield knowledge and for that I apologize very much. I hope you can take what I say from this point on to be more or less true and confirmed by the viral marketing and Cloverfield creators. Everyone keeps talking about the monster having fallen from the sky, when that is not the case at all. What we see fall near Coney Island is part of a satellite belonging to someone I am far too lazy to recall. The creature itself comes from the depths of the ocean after thousands of years of being dormant and those "spiders" are parasites that are falling off of it. The monster is a baby, as confirmed by Abrams himself, rampaging because it is confused, scared, and having symptoms of separation anxiety, from its parent or parents I assume. It seems that Tagruato, a drilling corporation, started drilling near the coast of New York and its drilling rig exploded, either because of extremists against Tagruato or the monster itself. Rather than giving the history of Tagruato and its subsidiary, Slusho, I'll just say that they are an evil corporation with access to a strange secret ingredient, used in Slusho brand drinks, that produces weird side-effects when consumed. Whether or not it was their plan to set the beast loose upon New York is unknown to me. What I do know is that they are the cause of the monster attack and indeed had some sort of sinister intentions. As for the end of the credits when an unknown voice is heard speaking gibberish, it is actually saying "It's still alive" when played backwards, which was previously stated by one or two people. I only reiterate this, because it is far too widely ignored, as it is a major plot point in what is almost sure to be a spectacular series of films. I'm sure I have left out many things and have said very little about my own opinions about the movie. This is because I am lazy, good points have been made, and most of this information is really for people who enjoyed the film. I dislike people being misinformed, so I decided to spread the word.I also hope to change the minds of some and bolster the passion of others. I apologize if this seems disjointed at all, but, you know, stream of consciousness and all that jazz, plus I skipped around and edited parts as I went. Finally, let me assure you that I didn't make any of this up, as my imagination is not that great; and I urge you to spread this information throughout here and elsewhere, for there are some who don't read every post and others too lazy to read such a large block of text. Thank you for your time.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
February 05, 2008 at 04:43 PM
Thanks for the research. If you come across any of the sites and want to post links to the sites, please do so. Although I'm sure by now it's pretty easy to search the web for info.
February 06, 2008 at 06:47 AM
This movie sucked. You barely get to see the monster. We're force fed the "emotions" and problems of those fucking yuppies throughout the entire thing! I don't care about them! I couldn't care less if they all die! I wanted to se a freaking monster ripping a new one on NY. Instead we got a Glmore girls meets felicity type of movie with a monster thrown in just for kicks. I liked Emmerichs Godzilla a lot better than this crap. I give it 1/2 stars just for the so-so Special FX. (they were not that good either)
February 08, 2008 at 02:57 AM
dear beth, you contradict yourself criticising 'cloverfields' supposedly cliched script and formula whilst simultaneously wanting more monster personality, a sooner appearence of said creature and some form of explanation like that of your favourite movies within the genre. In essence, you wanted more of what you disliked. As such, your argument hasn't the best foundation. To state your distaste for the lack of common monster movie constructs is reasonable to an extent, but you cannot then call the film cliched. Yes there are cliches within 'Cloverfield', yet many films have elements common to other movies of the same genre, hence why they are identified within the boundaries of a genre in the first place. But 'Cloverfield' is not a cliched and predictable film in its entirety.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
February 08, 2008 at 04:55 AM
I did not contradict myself. You just cannot seem to accept that for the most part I found Cloverfield cliched and unimaginative. All I I wanted from Cloverfield was a good movie but in my opinion -- and that's all I am presenting is one opinion -- it failed to deliver a film that worked either within the constructs of a monster movie or by creating something fresh and new. I didn't want it to just do what other films I like did I just wanted it to be good. I only mentioned the other films for comparison, to show how other films within the genre succeeded for me. Films can work within a genre and deliver on genre expectations and be good, or they can defy expectations and be good. Shaun of the Dead is a perfect example of a film that manages to do both. I also just saw George Romero's Diary of the Dead and it does right everything that Cloverfield did wrong. Romero plays knowingly within the genre and has no pretense that he's creating something new. But what he delivers is smart, socially aware and gory to boot.
February 08, 2008 at 04:07 PM
Man this movie sucked!!! the begining sucked ass .it took too damn long for the monster to comeout. we didnt get to see the monster clearly for more that 20 sec total. and most of all I was so disappointed by the abrupt end....I should have expected it since its filmed a la blair witch. not worth all the hype.
February 08, 2008 at 10:20 PM
Thank god someone thinks that besides me. I have to admit that i liked the ending. Having everyone die at the end was cool. Specially since every freaking character was so fucking dull boring and boring... I liked Godzilla (Zilla 98) much better. At least it was a good fun movie. With some good laughs. This was too serious and what is worse, it failed at it.
February 09, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Woah, this is a biased and unobjective review if I ever saw one. You obviously like those cliched movies where CGI/rubber-suited monster crashed CGI/cardboard buildings in plain daylight while a wacky old scientist takes his time at about 2/3 of the movie explaining how the monster is actually an offspring of an irradiated chicken and a T-Rex from Alpha Centauri. Oh, and let's not forget the gun-toting wise-cracking tobacco-chewing hero killing the ugly slimy monsters with his trusty bazooka and saving the busty blond heroine in the nick of time, preferably stopping some proverbial timed bomb at 00:00:01. Good for you. I suggest checking out your local movie store, finding the B-movie shelf and going nuts. Or the A-movie shelf, providing of course you see names Michael Bay or Uwe Boll on the cover. But seriously, the review is like dissing Pan's Labyrinth because it ain't like Harry Potter. But OK, to be fair, at least you stated your own opinion, whatever it may be, unlike Roger Ebert who managed to say absolutely nothing in his "review" while effectively spoiling every single part of the movie right up to the end. And he's the one with the Pulitzer.
February 09, 2008 at 09:54 PM
Yes I am an unabashed fan of rubber-suited monster movies and if Cloverfield had followed in that tradition I would have loved it. But I also would have embraced Cloverfield if it had managed to come up with something new. Inthe end, Cloverfield felt like a B-movie masquerading as an A-movie and I think that's one of the reasons I disliked it. I loved Pan's Labyrinth and I think Guillermo Del Toro makes great "monster" movies because he sympathizes with the supposed monsters, be they vampires (Cronos), ghosts (The Devil's Backbone), or fantastical creatures (Pan's Labyrinth). He embraces the genre as well as pushes the envelope about what we expect. Thanks for your comment and for bringing up Pan's Labyrinth, hopefully that may inspire some people to go seek it out.
ryan from New York
February 11, 2008 at 07:52 AM
I just saw the cloverfield movie no more than two hours ago. i am a HUGE monster movie fan, and I can honestly tell you the for the most part....Cloverfield was incredibly annoying and a big let down. ill prove it to you. a big scary monster movie right? well...you can count the people who you actually see die from its wrath on one hand. it sucked people. do not see this film. i am so pissed off. i would honestly like my money back. some one actually yelled that they wanted a refund at the end of the movie. sure...the city was going through lots of destruction...but in my mind the point of a monster movie is two simple things. 1. to be terrified of the monster. 2. so see humans perish by the hand of the monster. yes...cloverfield did a great job of showing "some" of new york being destroyed...but in my opinion...the destruction could have been SO much worse. they should have destroyed the entire city to rubble. if a monster is so big and angry...i would like to see it decimate the entire city. remember...i just saw the movie but two hours ago...and the only buildings i can remember it destroying are the crysler building, the statue of liberty, another building that the girl characters apartment was in and a major bridge. as for annoying...the film mastered the art of annoying the crap out f the viewer. it gets to a point where you wish the movie would STOP being shown from the perspective of some schmuck with a cam corder. and it is TOTALLY unrealistic. believe me...if you were truly terrified in a situation like the one they were depicting...you would not be holding a cam corder up to your face while the city you live in is crumbling around you. its just common sense. to me...the monster looked quite pathetic and I still have a very vague idea of what it actually looked like. why would the viewer not want to see the monster in its totality? the film makers banked on obscurity and suspense and that in my opinion was a bad decision. I DID want to know at the very least what the monster looked like when it was breaking things and that moment in the film never came. I blame that fact on insufficient funds. I don't think they had enough money to animate the monster for more than 5 seconds. I honestly think that is why you never see it. they skimped on the cost of actually animating the monster or they just didn't have they funding to do the animation proper. heres one more thing worth mentioning. I don't know about you. but I want a monster that makes sense to me. one i can believe could actually exists. if the monster is going to be some mutated thing that does not look like any animal what so ever...than the origin of the monster needs to be explained. hopefully this film will inspire future monster films that get it right. i can pretty much promise you that this movie will not sell on dvd for 20 dollars. they will ask for twenty bucks...but its not gonna happen. people are not going to buy this movie at block buster and best buy. and you will see the price drop to 9.99 within a year. and even at nine dollars it still will not sell. I have spoken.
Terence from Toronto
February 26, 2008 at 10:15 PM
I have seen both the Host and Cloverfied luckily without actually knowing nearly anything about them. My opinion on the Host was it was a horrid film. My friend said it was a monster movie and he had seen it at the film festival and he thought it was amazing. I saw it a couple months later when we saw it at blockbuster and he said I should pick it up. Both other friend and I who had watched the movie with thought it was terrible. The monster was good but the characters, and the pacing for the film were not well done at all. By the end of the film I wanted every character to die especially the horrible excuse for a main character. A movie with such a basic plot can only be pushed by the characters within it, and the Host did not deliver. Cloverfield on the other hand was probably my personal favourite movie of '07 which is tied with Juno. Each of the characters was believable and great...heck I have friends like Hud, and several of the others. My friend who always has his camera on him would probably be one of those guys trying to get all he can on video. The filming style also helped the film, with the Cannibal Holocaust style of filming(Which was made famous by Blair Witch so everyone says it is a ripoff of that). It felt like I was immersed right in the action and I guess it you felt naucious then it would effect you but I didn't feel any form of motion sickness during the film. As well I like how Cloverfield didn't explain the monster for the most part. The only real clue to the monsters origin was in the end when a satellite falls into the water which would make someone assume that it was a prehistoric animal that just panicked when it awoke to see New York built around it. All in all I felt that The Host was a weak film based mostly on it's poor characters. Cloverfield did things well by having believable characters, with a filming style that complemented it. Since both films had little plot I felt it was the characters and pacing that was a large part of what made them good or not.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
February 26, 2008 at 11:15 PM
Terence, Thanks for your comments. Although I disagree, I appreciate the way you laid out your point of view and refrained from calling me an idiot for having thought the opposite. Not everyone is so kind. I think you're quite accurate in pointing out that being able to identify with characters can have a big impact on how you respond to a film. For me, I like The Host because I could identify with those characters but in Cloverfield I just wanted them all to die and the monster to win. But I do agree wholeheartedly with you on Juno. No monsters but a great film. Thanks for mentioning Cannibal Holocaust.
February 26, 2008 at 11:34 PM
Same here. All of the characters in Cloverfield are just idiotic. I can't feel anything for someone who I don't like...
March 07, 2008 at 10:22 AM
Bit late after the movie, but like most giant human stomping monster attacks, you need to let the dust settle and take in the whole picture to work it out (something most cloverfield fans did before the film's release) Cloverfield,is not a movie as such, it is an experience, the movie was just partof the overalll story as someone has already pointed out. To get cloverfield you had to do some work. There were dummy corporation sites made that depicted a scientific research group detailing an object in the ocean. A eco warrior/terrorist site that was opposing the group. A corporation called slusho, that was looking for american vendors for it's "secret ingredient drink" that came of as being a crack version of a slushy, along with flash games merchandising etc and a competition to "design" slusho's first tv ad (with a laptop as a prize) all these sites gave a clear indication of where it was from and that it was more than 99% likely not of this earth. and went right into personal safety/missing or injured workers and their families concerns at loss of contact. These sites were very professional and came of as being real internet sittes, especially the ocean biology one. On the eco terrorist sites you could even post on forum's (subject to approval, e.g no "I think it's gamera" posts) allowing those following to actually become part of the story. As for being attached to the characters, i think from the film you'd be hard pushed to become attached, yet attend their MYSPACE sites in the months leading up to it's release, watch their interactions on there with each other as well as "viewer" friends and they took on a real life. A leaked video here and there added to it, e.g one of the girls sending "lover" videos to her partner who seems to end up vanishing and strrange phone messages. the 18-01-08.com site that new interactive photo's appeared on. People even did ip traces and the work done to make it convincing was astonishing, right down to "LOST" style phone numbers you could call (i expected this in some ways to be tied to the LOST universe and expected the dharma group to pop up lol, I think this was a look for the clues LOST style experiment on a grander scale. (which in australia is still watched by many, flagging viewers? not here) JJ Abrams really brought this into the real world, not just a silver screen. I think he was trying a new medium, not mass viral marketing but a mass entertainment experiment that sadly to the mass population was missed. JJ has always demonstrated his trying to appeal to the fanboy types that look for hidden meanings everywhere, and if this fact had been made a bit more obvious to the common denomenator, cloverfield would of been a smash I think and their would be none of this head scratching and expectation of a "GODZILLA 2008 MkXXIV" b grade action flick. I think sometimes JJ's downfall is he tries to appeal to his dedicated fans too much, which would be good of more did it, hence we wouldn't have the horrendous changes to characters like spider man and batman. (e.g spider man not having web shooters but spinnerette's in his forearms and sticky hairs on his finger tips instead of sprt of telekinetically adhering "ANY" part of his body to the wall like in the comics) things the average joe movie goer wouldn't mind if it was still the same as the source. My only criticism is the camera work, no excuses there sorry, it was a proven failure with blair witch and similar movies. How many of us have seen news footage of people in warzones etc, still filming quite steady even though they are literlally crapping their pants? Most 9/11 footage was from handy cams and phones and is of excellent quality, some filmed by people comparible to HUD. I don't think it was a refence to 9/11 in any way just that elctronic civil paparazzi is on the riseand a real thing, most phones have cameras now and people carry camera's, some in the hopes of catching a real life disaster if not for fame but fortune. Just watch any news show and you see tonnes of "AMATEUR" footage e.g london subway bombings. yet still even then the grainy mobile phone footage was still steady and those people just had a bomb go off by their heads. I think the other person suggestion of, using CCTV, hndicam, news style etc footage would of been way better and effective as you can still feel involved when watching documentaries on tv at an emotional level when they are edited that way. The opening party scene could of been shortened but I think that was an (not good) attempt at getting those not bitten by the bug to try and get the characters introduced a bit better. So in my summary, Cloverfield as a stand alone movie would be lame, but with all the back story devices in place and a little research it all makes sense and Cloverfield rocks! I think the thing is, JJ should of directed it you can never pass what's in your head truly to another. If you still don't get the concept please look at these links and try not to kick yourself afterwards when it all adds up especially reviewers that should know this stuff, anyone can review a film but it doesn't mean they should because many a good movie has failed because of some self absorbed critic (not directed at the reviewer here, you just come of as being an average joe fan) please read these and enjoy the TRUE Cloverfield especially if you are yet to see the film before it comes to DVD: TAGRUATO Corp: http://www.tagruato.jp/ (guess you could say it all starts here the japanese tie in, notice promo lettering starts in japanese style and converts to english?) T.I.D.O WAVE: http://tidowave.com/ (the eco terrorists site) slusho site: www.slusho.jp (slusho appears in a few of abrams tv shows, can't beat a monster egg smoothie) cloverfield myspace pages: http://www.myspace.com/robbyhawkins (here's a good start. the characters had interacted alot) ww.youtube.com (has lots of "news clips" and more) the rest, is up too you, use your imagination and google, you may just surprise yourself. plus plenty of sites that break it down into simple to understand formats. Hope this helps the disappointed to enjoy and those yet to see it know what to expect.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
March 07, 2008 at 11:44 AM
Well thanks for the post from Down Under and for waiting for the stomping dust to settle. You have provided the best opposing opinion to my review of all the people who have posted. Thanks for your insights. I think you may be right in pointing out that Abrams wanted this to be more than just a movie experience. But even with that caveat, I still feel the film is disappointing. Thanks for the links too.
March 07, 2008 at 12:12 PM
oh p.s..... 9/11 get over it, Aliens attacking NY are a bit different to Jet's hitting the trade centre, would it be any better if the monster attacked Dallas? Maybe Sydney in Australia, if you want to attack movies that upsets you in regard to to 9/11 maybe you should try the actual movie that depicts the 9/11 attack? send death threats to nicholas cage or something? Guess we better ban Deep Impact, or The day after tomorrow? because the locals of the towns and countries that get wiped out may offend the locals. No more beach scenes because the ocean's and rolling waves will upset the dec 26th Tsunami surviors, damn get no more tidal waves in any disaster flick ever. Lets ban Terminator, all 3 as well as The Sarah Connor Chronicles because the sight of robots and nuclear explosions will upset the Japanese. =P (Jurassic park too, we know how the japanese freak from the amount of times tokyo's been leveled by reptiles) Oh and all the halloween movies or 7 or silence of the lambs, ted bundy's and charlie mansons victims families might not handle them well. 9/11 was tragic but no way comparable to this flick and if you have issues with it, you obviously need grief counselling (Geez movie has a picture of a dempolished statue of liberty and skyscapers! must be set in Alaska?) So if you are too stupid to put a poster of new york demolished and you're own fears together (1+1=2 not 8) then you deserve all the grief this may of caused you and it's a weak crutch to prop up your dislike for this film on. Guilting people is the lowest of tactics. Myabe we should ban you, I never thought 9/11 when i saw it until all the 9/11 freaks posted on sites like this and you have nauseated me more than any movie ever could. No more snipers in action movies, may remind sensitive people of JFK everytime someone scores a headshot. ANd hey what about Johnny Rambo? He goes to other peoples countries and kills them. Maybe I shouldn't enjoy those movies because I can't suspend my belief that John is a war criminal, breaking other culures laws and commiting murder because he doesn't have the the same beliefs and views they do? And oh no more schindlers list types, cos it may offend germans or jews (hey no one cares that germans and japs being bad guys might offend them) 60years later how long before we are meant to get over things and move on? America has no problem making films about the plights of others but you sure carry on when the shoes on the other foot as usual. itis pure fantasy, it is an optical illusion, and yet so many of you have made compoarisons to real life, let me guess you think freddy krueger is terrible because there is no way a person can survive being torched and climbing into peoples heads. We generally watch films and TV as a means of escaping reality other wise I'd just go sit on my corner and watch the world roll by. The Host: For christ sakes all of you drop it. 2 different films from 2 completely different cultures and mindsets, I love foreign films as well as my native english, and I must say, watch a DVD in chinese with subtitles and you'll find the the story and wording completely different to the usually poor english dubs. You have to switch your mindset to one that is alien, what a korean finds amusing probally won't be the same for a U.S citizen, it's called diversity. I love australia I think we understand other cultures better than any other. We get most forms of humor, we can laugh at our jokes as well as american or british or even japanese ones. To quote an american comedian who moved to australia "I never realised I was american until I left it and saw my home the way the world see's it" He saw how wrapped up his own country is in itself sometimes. If it aint good old U.S of A made then most of you won't even try to get it. (most not all, I have many great yank pals who get it) Once we just be humans and not Ozzie, Yank, Jap Arabic etc maybe this world will get somewhere in all aspects not just entertainment You don't like the host? that's fine, just say I don't like it. Not go on about how #%@%@% up it is or I couldn't relate. Hey What float's my boat might not float your's, it's what makes us unique, your no less a human being for percieving The host or Cloverfield or anything differently to me. I don't hate or want to harm the reviewer for holding a different opinion, I just say ok that's how you feel I acept that and move on. It makes you less of a human when you do get personal, make threats and talk like a young kid when mom and dad aren't looking. If I didn't like cloverfield I would say, not for me but you may like it. To each their own. And I think of all the posts I've read I would honestly say only about 5 people really got it, like most of JJ's fans (which strange he's the one who is attacked when he only produced? where the gunning for the director? you know the guy who actually put it all together?) Let's hope the HALO movie doesn't suck if it's ever released, I'd hate to see Peter Jackon lynched just for producing it! Hope at least one of you learns something from this. Peace and Films to you all people (not races) of earth. Oh and the best bit of advice I ever had? Read it before you post it, cos unless it has an edit button, once it's posted there's no taking it back.
March 07, 2008 at 12:48 PM
Well thanks for the post from Down Under and for waiting for the stomping dust to settle. You have provided the best opposing opinion to my review of all the people who have posted. Thanks for your insights. I think you may be right in pointing out that Abrams wanted this to be more than just a movie experience. But even with that caveat, I still feel the film is disappointing. Thanks for the links too. Posted on March 07, 2008 at 3:44 am by Beth Accomando | San Diego Thanks Beth and greets from down under. Well I got no problem with agreeing to diagree with you =) As I said, debate is good it makes the world turn, arguing is not, it just holds us back from the whole purpose of a film"REVIEW" I do hope you check out the links you may be pleasantly surprised. Heck you may even become attached to the characters. And sorry for the last post broke my own rule of reading before posting, just It should be about the movies. I stand by the staements about it being painfully obvious it was set in new york.
Beth Accomando from San Diego
March 07, 2008 at 03:58 PM
Doomed Marine-- Thanks for the additions. I think I criticized Abrams more than the director because I saw him at Comic-Con talking about the film and it really came across as being more his vision that that of the director. I think that tends to happen when a producer (who also directs) seems more of an influence on a project than a director with fewer credits under his or her belt. At Comic-Con, Abrams really took ownership of the film and presented his vision of what he was hoping it to be. That did set up certain expectations for me. I will check out the links and maybe even see the film again afterwards. As I always tell my son, it would be a pretty dull world if we all liked or hated the same films. Thanks again.
March 07, 2008 at 07:15 PM
Valid point there, maybe he should of done a Tarentino and labelled it "JJ Abrams presents" that was the point I was trying to make. That it was his idea he made it sound like it was all his, yet left the actual creation of the end product to another. It's like having a dream and trying to explain it to a friend, they'll never get a 100% depiction of how you percieved it. As it was his project, he should of directed it and if he was unable to due to prior commitments or such, shelved it until he was able to as I think history show's survival/monster flicks never go out of style so the concept wouldn't of gathered dust, but instead matured in that extra time. Great idea, good setting, very creative (if understated) tie in campaigns just poor execution. We live in an internet age which I think he was banking on. But the sad fact is the majority of people in the world don't have the internet still and he should of found ways to get the word out there more. (10 years from now this type of campaign will work way better) As here in australia we had very little in the way of advertising, I was just lucky to catch a quick glimpse of the promo once on the TV and that was the last I heard of it until I did some investigating online. It barely made a ripple here let alone a splash and I think most people I know wouldn't even realised it exsists. Lets hope when it comes out on DVD they decide to add a prolouge disc or such in a collectors edition so it makes more sense as well as being better advertised. JJ is an intelligent man it seems, but he was a bit too clever for his own good. This film needed an extra 40 minutes and to have the internet related stuff put into the story, the party for one makes more sense when you know the background leading up to it and who the people are and why they are the way they are. All movies have plot holes, keeping it too 80minutes was a mistake. People can argue about a HD camera's tape length, but what about putting another tape/disc/stick of mem in? It's what most people do when they run out of room. Thing is though, it's a movie not real life so you can have the fantasical as much as yoou want! I think this was the next step to matrix like story telling, where you have to not only see the films, but play the video games and see things like the animatrix to get the whole story. I like the idea of that and hope to see more of it in the future, but it has to be done right. Also good philosphy you're teaching your boy. ; )
NoVaDJ from Alexandria, VA
March 07, 2008 at 11:17 PM
I have to agree with the Doomed Marine comments, if you don't like something just say you don't like it. There's no reason to call it crap to others who have enjoyed it . I've already explained in an earlier post where people complained about things in certain sequences that weren't even true. The strange thing about the Host is that I originally saw it in Korean with no subtitles, then saw it again with the subtitles and saw it a 3rd time with the English dubbing. It makes for 3 weird experiences. Without the subtitles you mainly focus on the creature and the action, with the titles you get the whole family and government cover up part of the movie and with the English dubbing it just ruins the movie. The dubbing is the worst I've ever heard and the voices don't match anyone's characters and for some reason it slows the movie down. If that's the version most people have seen from renting it, then I understand why you didn't like it. Watching a film in it's original language really makes a more complete experience.
March 08, 2008 at 06:33 AM
I myself am yet to see The Host, until I came here I had only heard good things about it. But when I do it will be in the original language with subtitles! ; ) Thanks for verifying why most people complain about it NoVaDJ I see this alot with foreign films. To the person who posted about the News crew sequel, I reckon you should try emailing JJ about that. I'd love to see a part 2 made.
Crowley from Canada
June 04, 2008 at 08:43 PM
I finally got around to watching the film just today. Movies are so overhyped now days and totally unpredictable in what they offer that I always wait for the video release. It was horrible. The camera work made me nauseous. Sure, it had its good points, but my enjoyment of them was overshadowed by the bad. I couldn't care less what the movie 'was about' I don't watch a creature feature to be moved to philosophy. I read books, think, and live my day to day life in the real world for that. I watch a movie to be entertained for a couple of hours. I was not entertained. Since I didn't spend time researching the bloody flick on the web or following the mass marketing hype, any of the story that was stupidly inserted there rather than where it belongs (the movie itself) the characters and situation only seemed shallow and vapid to me. That's what I got (or didn't get) out of it. That's my two cents.
June 05, 2008 at 01:45 PM
A good two cents. I agree that you shouldn't have to go online to fill in the details left out of a film. Online can often add fun supplements but at this point in time -- and maybe filmgoing will change in the future -- a film still has to stand on its own. I've heard that there's a new Japanese movie that takes the mock documentary approach called Dainipponjin that begins like the documentary about the world's dullest man -- then you find out he's part of a Japanese experiment and they plan to grow him to Godzilla size to defend the country. That might be a fresh take on the monster movie! Thanks for the belated but appreciated comments.