That’s the question I got asked last week when I would tell my friends, “I’m excited for Cloverfield this weekend.”
I couldn’t believe that they weren’t in on everything. I couldn’t believe this one has slipped by them. I would explain, “Big monster….trashes New York….handycam?”
Then they would say, “Oh yeah…not too sure about that one.”
So, I knew that it was off to the movies by myself to check out the latest in geek phenomena.
I wasn’t really aware of this movie until the teaser before Transformers last Summer. But that teaser got me hooked. I began to buy in to all of the marketing, all of the rumors, and all of the pictures, and I loved that when I walked into the movie theatre all I knew for sure was what I had seen in the trailers and movie clips that had been released.
If you haven’t seen Cloverfield, don’t worry, I won’t spoil too much here. This is an experience that doesn’t need to be spoiled. The less you know going in, the better. Why? Because this movie is all about discovery. The discovery that New York is being destroyed and what it’s being destroyed by. The discovery that everybody isn’t getting to safety. The discovery of…well, I don’t want to spoil it.
Suffice to say that the scares work. The effects work. The monster works. The characters work. This movie just works. Period.
The success of this movie, though, is not in the monster, the marketing, or even the story. The success of this movie is the characters. There’s not a single character that you don’t recognize. We all have that friend that is the organizer. We all have the friend that never takes anything seriously. We’re all friends with that couple that’s not together, but should be together. We’ve all been in that situation where everyone should be having fun but two people start arguing and it becomes a tense evening. We’ve all got that one friend who is the glue to the other friends. The “main dude.”
So, when things start to get nasty in New York, you’re actually pulling for these people. You want them to succeed at what they’re doing, and you want them to survive. You hurt for every character that dies and you hurt for every character personally affected by the death of another.
There is an eerie feeling to the film as it puts you right in the middle of a circumstance that we literally cannot imagine other than seeing it on the big screen.
This is not THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. You aren’t constantly hoping to get a glimpse of the witch. The actors aren’t running around overacting and ad libbing.
This in not GODZILLA. The focal point of this movie is not the monster. You don’t think this monster is cool. You want to see it stopped. You don’t want the army to have to pull out all the stops and accept whatever collateral damages they have to accept.
This is not WAR OF THE WORLDS. You don’t know if this is happening everywhere or just New York.
This is something similar to all of these movies, but at the same time nothing like them at all. There are inspirations from everything from ALIEN to OUTBREAK to ET the classic Godzilla movies and other obivous genre films.
Go see this movie. Even if you don’t flip for it the way it seems so many people are, it’s worth seeing on the big screen. Do I think it’s a genre defining (or redefining – however you look at it) movie? I don’t know about that. Is this movie this generation’s Star Wars? No. It may be this generation’s Godzilla, but I doubt it will have the cultural impact of Star Wars. Is this the greatest movie ever made? No, Citizen Kane will probably always hold that title. Is it a great movie. Yes…yes it is.
This is that movie that people will be talking about for weeks. In fact, Rambo may get overlooked to an extent this Friday because there are so many people talking about CLOVERFIELD. I can’t wait to sit and watch this movie again. I can’t wait to be able to see it over and over again on DVD if for no other reason than to pick apart every scene and see the story that is unfolding around our characters. So, I say again, if you haven’t seen it go check it out. Let me know what you think.