2008 January 20
by CajoleJuice

I just got my face blown off. I watched the original trailer for Cloverfield, and I think one more later on. That was about the extent of my knowledge going into the film. I didn’t pay much attention to the critic reception, and didn’t read many impressions on GAF. I’m glad I went in this fresh…

…because that was one of the most intense, original, and surprising movie theater experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine it being anywhere that awesome on repeat viewings, but that first viewing was a doozy. While No Country for Old Men had me on the edge of my seat for most of the movie due to its masterful silent suspense, Cloverfield had my blood pumping like no movie I’ve seen in a while. (Yes, I just put those two films in the same sentence, shut up they’re the last two I’ve seen in theaters) The handheld camera technique is only going to be seen in more and more films as a result. It might not be used as a plot device like in Cloverfield, but between it and Children of Men, I can see this manner of filming action becoming more and more prevalent.

I really don’t want to go into the movie that much, but I just want to say that city destruction has never been done this good. Granted, I haven’t seen too many monster films, but I can’t imagine older, lower-budget movies coming anywhere near this. I was impressed by the balls needed to destroy NYC in 9/11 fashion. (One scene that you might have seen in a trailer obviously is meant to parallel a 9/11 moment.) I really can’t say enough good things about the manner in which the monster, destruction, and madness were presented. I think the movie achieved what it set out to do perfectly.

I’ve heard complaints about the human element of the story, but I think that was pulled off more than well enough for this type of movie. I’m not expecting Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There’s tragedy, romance, and humor in a good mix. At first, I thought the guy behind the camera was a pretty bad actor, but I came to love his quips. I’m no expert on acting, but every performance seemed believable. That was enough for me.

I really can’t recommend this movie enough. Go see it in the theater. It is a ride unlike any other I’ve ever seen. I’m starting to think that J.J. Abrams knows what he’s doing (even though he only produced this). I also believe Matt Reeves deserves the majority of the credit for directing 90 minutes of awesome.

WARNING: If the last two Bourne movies gave you motion sickness, then stay the fuck away. I’m sorry that you’re weaksauce (or Asian).

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  1. Cloverfield: That Trailer Before Transformers