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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie review: ‘Cloverfield’ shakes up premise

    If “”Independence Day”” and “”The Blair Witch Project”” had a romantic tryst, “”Cloverfield”” would be the resulting love child. Taking on the classic “”alien-wreaks-havoc on New York City”” theme, Cloverfield uses camera angles to offer a modern twist.

    The film begins with what appears to be classified government documents. While it sounds boring, it was a creepy set up. It reads a “”film found in the area formerly known as Central Park,”” and we learn that the entire ordeal has been named “”Cloverfield”” by the government.

    Immediately following, the audience is introduced to the ridiculously hot, young and relatively unknown group of actors we will be following around the island of Manhattan. Director Matt Reeves takes a surprising 30 minute build up before any action actually occurs, leaving the audience enough time to learn the characters’ names and maybe even figure out the confusing love affairs flying around.

    The group gathers to surprise Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) with a going-away party before he hops on a plane to Japan. As the characters have had enough alcohol to make the party interesting, then disaster strikes and we meet Cloverfield.

    Cloverfield, although never explained in the movie, is what we are left to presume is the huge, Godzilla-like monster stomping around the city. Unlike Godzilla, however, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the hell the monster is. Basically, it’s gigantic, destructive and merciless. Cloverfield is not a solo act either; it has minions in the shape of steroid-enhanced tarantulas that do some of the dirty work, including biting humans who later bleed to death from every orifice in their body.

    The government is called in, but is helpless against the monster and eventually decides to “”level”” Manhattan, which only creates more problems for its citizens.

    The entire film is “”documented”” by Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) on his camcorder. This offers a more intimate look at the action, but in order to keep it authentic, the audience is forced to endure the shaky and sometimes vomit-inducing camera work.

    The money saved on hiring an actual cameraman must have been used toward special effects because there are a lot of them. Before the audience even catches a glimpse of Cloverfield, they are able to view his destruction, which includes an intense Brooklyn Bridge collapse and the Statue of Liberty’s head rolling around. Also impressive is a drawn-out scene through the winding, dark tunnels of the subway system.

    The rest of the movie focuses on trying to save the main characters as they run around the city, attempting to avoid Cloverfield’s wake o’ destruction. It’s loud, dark, suspenseful and pretty scary.

    If you’re looking for a feel-good movie, this isn’t it, and the ending is reminiscent of “”The Sopranos”” series finale. But overall “”Cloverfield”” offers an exciting take on the monster-movie genre.

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