I heard mixed reviews about Cloverfield, including complaints that the handheld camerawork caused nausea, or that it was unconvincing that the character operating the camera would have the presence of mind to keep videotaping throughout the whole saga.
Well, I never got nauseous, and I thought they did a good job explaining the cameraman’s drive to keep videotaping in order “to document” what was happening because “people will want to know.”
Even if you’re not convinced, once look passed the issue of the handheld camera perspective, it’s exciting to watch, and I left the theatre wanting more. You can’t help wanting to know more. The movie is presented as videotape evidence recovered by the Department of Defense from Central Park following an attack on the city by some creature. It starts from the planning of a going away party Rob Hawkins, who is about to leave New York City for a job in Japan. The attack happens during the party and you follow him, his brother and his girlfriend, his best friend and another party attendee throughout the attack.
The virtual realtime experience of the attack is extraordinarily effective, as it was for The Blair Witch Project (which I haven’t seen but I’ve heard enough about). The interesting thing about Cloverfield is that it has been described as Godzilla meets The Blair Witch Project. Probably a very fair description, only, had Cloverfield been done more like a tradition action movie, it may not have done so well… Considering remakes of Godzilla and King Kong didn’t seem to do as well as hoped. They certainly weren’t memorable movies, and I can’t say I had a strong desire to see either of them. Cloverfield‘s appeal had a lot to do with the presentation as a continuous story from the point of view of a character’s handheld camera.
All you are given in the movie is the “evidence” of the recovered videotape. So, while I was absolutely satisfied by the movie, I found myself wanting to know more about the aftermath: What was the creature that attacked New York? I’d like to believe that once Cloverfield is released on DVD there will some great bonus features explaining all the things we want to know about “what happened” that we weren’t going to find out in the movie, as it was presented.
Cloverfield is definitely worth seeing.