Cloverfield movie review
This is a repost of a movie review I made in 2008.
The main conceit of the movie Cloverfield is that you need to suspend your disbelief in the fact that; a gigantic Godzilla-like monster could attack New York City, the average 20-something New Yorker is dumber than a toddler and that the only thing dumber than the average 20-something New Yorker is a group of average 20-something New Yorkers. Trust me, believing that a gigantic monster might one day rise out of the sea and attack New York is much easier to believe than the low level of intelligence and self-preservation on display by the characters of Cloverfield.
In Cloverfield, it’s the night before Rob (Michael Stahl-David) moves to Japan and all his friends have decided to throw him a going-away surprise party. At the party, friend “Hud” (T.J. Miller) is given the task of documenting the event with a home video camera when an earthquake followed by a gigantic explosion rocks Manhattan. What follows next is glimpses of some gigantic “thing” tearing through Manhattan, the destruction that follows and Hud documenting the event first-person on the ground.
Which, admittedly, the whole film being shot through the lens of Hud’s camera, however implausible, is quite effective. Cloverfield makes the audience feel as if they’re at the center of the action, only moments away from the terror of this gigantic monster and inches away from death.
Which is the greatest problem of the movie; while seemingly every other New Yorker wants off the island and away from this creature, the core group of the movie Cloverfield does their best to work their way back into the city to rescue a stranded friend. After seeing the monster destroy bridges, topple buildings, shrug off artillery shells and shear the head off the Statue of Liberty, I’m not sure anyone would have the wits about them to do anything but cover/run rather than actively make their way towards the creature and certain doom.