Weeksy Investigates “Cloverfield”

The footage found in Central Park has been seen

Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan, Odette Yustman, Chris Mulkey

The first time I saw a film that I knew nothing about going into it was when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I remember being in Adelaide, and seeing this enormous line of people that were coming out of the old Hoyts twin on Hindley St. in the heart of the city, that extended the couple hundred metres down to the main shopping district. Being an already huge movie fan by that point, my Dad & I got in line – it didn’t even occur to me that I should be concerned about the strange looks I was getting from the predominantly Adult crowd, all I knew is that this must be something good. Eventually I got to the lobby, and saw it filled with big fake Palm Trees, and I finally saw what was playing – “Beverly Hills Cop”.

Not surprisingly, my Father refused to take me into the Rated “R” movie, but I remember how exciting that was to me, even at that young age – that feeling of not knowing what the hell was going on with this flick – but the world of spoilers, whether it be through Magazines like “Rolling Stone”, “Official Novelizations” of upcoming films, Behind-the-scenes big glossy mags, or even old fashioned Newspaper reports – came crashing into my life, and I’ve never really had the same experience again – that is until tonight, when I saw the “Top-Secret” disaster flick – “Cloverfield”.

I’ve gotta say – it was exciting to be in that position again, and I understand how hypocritical that may be for someone like me to say, but it was such a huge rush, and such an “Into It” kind of crowd, that it was a great event – but that being said, while the movie itself is overall a decent flick, it is probably something that will fall prey to the hype that it has received – sight unseen or not.

I believe that most people have a general idea of what the film is about, but to give you maybe a touch more info – as the film starts out, we are in an apartment, looking through a hand-held camera operated by Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David), with who we assume is his “Special” lady-friend, Beth (Odette Yustman). A quick series of cuts and flashes brings us forward around 2 months, where a farewell party is taking place for Rob, who is leaving the next morning for a job in Japan.

The new Camera-Man, Hud (T.J. Miller) is getting testimonials from all of Rob’s pals, including brother Jason (Mike Vogel), and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), along with peripheral acquaintance Marlena (Lizzy Caplan). In the middle of a conversation about Rob & Beth’s current dating situation, there is an explosion, and reports of an Oil Tanker capsizing near the Statue of Liberty. The gang get the bright idea of heading up to the roof to see if they can get a better look at what is happening – and as you all know by now from the previews – all sorts of nasty stuff begins to go down in Manhattan, when it becomes obvious that some kind of “Creature” is loose on the island, and destroying everything in its path.

What follows is the group of friends being constantly on the run from the chaos breaking out, and avoiding being killed in the cross-fire of the Army, which has been dispatched in full force to try and take the Big Bad down – but of course, Rob receives a call from Beth, who is trapped & bleeding in her apartment, and the group sets off to rescue her.

So – there’s the general story, but there is a bunch of cool shit that happens along the way, which looks incredible when told through a novel perspective like this. I have no doubt whatsoever that “Cloverfield” is going to make several bucket-loads of cash, and given the reported budget for the flick – I’ll go on record now as saying that I believe “Cloverfield” may even break a few records in the profitability camp. But the truth of the matter is – I’ve gotta come back to that word – “Novel” as in “Novelty”, as in think “Blair Witch Project”, and how cool that was to see for the first time. If “Blair Witch” still holds up for you now, maybe “Cloverfield” will truly exceed all of your expectations in the years to come and remain a firm favourite – and as some other reviewers have done already – you may label it as “Brilliant”.

But my take on “Cloverfield” is that it basically boils down to a good old fashioned “Disaster Flick”, which is well made – and well-acted as well, but ultimately is really as exciting or innovative to me as it was seeing “Independence Day” for the first time – an exciting, ultimately enjoyable picture that I’ll grab on DVD for sure, but not that re-defining genre pick that you may have been expecting to see.

Rating :
Reviewer : Adam Weeks

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