Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cloverfield~*

Guys... Go catch this movie!

Produced by JJ Abrams (of TV's "Alias" and "Lost), this is about a monster attack in New York as told from the point of view of a small group of people. Some of the fantastic scenes include the destruction wreaked on New York City, with the 401 Broadway Building blowing up and the severed head of the Statue of Liberty falling onto the streets!

The basic storyline of "Cloverfield" is about Rob Hawkins (Michael-Stahl Davis) and his friends on a quest to brave the streets of an apocalyptic New York City to meet his lover, Beth McIntyre (Odette Yustman), confess his love and rescue her amidst the attacks of "some thing". Some really big bad thing.

A highly durable and presumably expensive video camera becomes our ears and eyes as the events take place, rather reminiscent of "The Blair Witch Project". However, the comparisons stop there. Creators J.J. Abrams and Drew Goddard along with director Matt Reeves combine the best of the elements that made "Alias" and "Lost" and even "Felicity" such big hits.

It starts out like a potentially good love story as we are familiarised with the characters, their dimensions and their dilemmas. However, once the head of the Statue of Liberty falls, there is no more time for that.

The terror is not only in the form of something big running rampant downtown, but also other things small, fast and deadly lingering in pitch-black tunnels. What really distinguishes this film from other monster movies is its ability to evoke the trauma of being in the middle of confusion and devastation - uncomfortably reminiscent of the 9/11 New York City. Even the scenes of the military fighting off the threat manage to avoid clich├ęs by successfully capturing the suffocating impression of war zones.

It is discovered that Hud (T.J. Miller) accidentally taped the events over a previous recording, which reveals a mini-story. Snippets from the previous recording pop up intermittently and tell the love story between Rob and Beth; this also justifies him running towards the danger instead of away from it to rescue her. The footage along with the humour injected once in awhile helps lessens the feeling of being overwhelmed - almost to remind us that it's a movie lest things get too real.

Since there is no bird's eye view of anything, and no one really knows what's going on, you really feel a need for the characters to survive because you want to know what happens next.

Some might find the absence of omniscience frustrating. By breaking down the structure, many questions are intentionally never answered. However, this allows audiences to really empathise with the characters and their struggles, which gives a chance for the humanity to really be felt.

The effects were relatively run-of-the-mill by today's standards, although they were made even more believable by the camera jitters and odd panning and angles. The film relies more on the intense ambient sounds and visuals of devastation to really leave an impact.

Ultimately, this isn't just a film it is an experience. Once the ride starts, leave your thinking caps and just enjoy cause i just did~