Posted by Paul
I went to the cinema to watch Cloverfield last night. I was reeled in by the marketing which was terrific, well, apart from the title – it sounds more like a new low-fat spread than a scary movie.
The film doesn’t start well at all. In fact, I nearly walked out after 20 minutes. The excessively jerky camera movements are almost as nauseating as the moneyed American teenagers whose vocabularies consists of "awesome", "dude" and "cool", and whose looks were clearly more important during casting than their acting ability.
But then, there is the most almighty crashing sound and the lights go out across the city. An eerie silence envelops the scene, before a cacophony of terrified voices can be heard. The impact is extraordinary.
The next 60 minutes or so sees us ripped back and forth between the ludicrous plot – can you really hop out of a helicopter after it has come violently crashing down into Central Park? – and truly gripping scenes of despair and tension as New York attempts to deal with its adversary.
It is a rollercoaster ride, which is great fun at times, even if the film seems to have been created by committee with every idea pilfered from another source. We’ve got Blair Witch in a tunnel, we’ve got several scenes taken straight out of the 9/11 documentary footage (few would deny that Cloverfield trades on our emotions of that disaster throughout) , we’ve got the monsters from Starship Troopers and the Ghostbusters-style ogre trampling the city, not to mention the Vietnam war section as soldiers and tanks rampage down 42nd Street. Unfortunately, nothing has been drawn from the ultimate monster movie Alien.
If you can overcome the insipid characters, banal dialogue and lame story, there is plenty to enjoy. Go see it, but take a sick bag for the opening scenes and leave your brain at the popcorn stall.
Read my colleague Patrick’s rather more comprehensive and complimentary review or see a stunning clip from the film.