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Cloverfield - horror/sci-fi DVD / action adventure DVD review
CLOVERFIELD rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, T.J. Miller, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan
Director: Matt Reeves   Studio: Paramount
DVD release: 22 April 2008   Runtime: 84 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Commentary by Director Matt Reeves, "Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield," Cloverfield Visual Effects, "I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge!", Clover Fun, Deleted Scenes, Easter eggs

The easiest and quickest way to describe the formulation of Cloverfield is as one part Godzilla, plus one part Blair Witch, plus one part War of the Worlds. The 9/11 allegory here is to this generation as the allegory to Hiroshima in Godzilla was to that generation. Directed by Matt Reeves and produced by J.J.Abrams (creator of Lost), Cloverfield is a monster movie shot in cinema verité style, a filmmaking gimmick used to great effect in promotion of The Blair Witch Project (1999). It's the kind of thing that can work once per generation (as evidenced by Cloverfield taking in most of its domestic box office within the first week), but it's been used several times over the last couple years. In addition to this film, there have been Brian Depalma's Redacted (2007), and more recently George Romero's Diary of the Dead (2008). In this film, it really wasn't necessary, as they had a multimillion-dollar budget and massive use of CGI to recreate New York City and the monster attacking it.

The plot is an Achilles heel for the film. It opens up with home video footage of Rob Hawkins waking Beth McIntyre up - they are going to Coney Island that day - but it quickly shifts to the going-away party for Rob, who's gotten a job in Japan, and his insanely beautiful friends: every girl is the hot girl, and almost every guy is the well-to-do yuppie with the cleft chin. Of course, soon enough the monster energes and everyone is running for cover. Beth at this point has taken off from the party, and Rob (along with his troop) has this immense desire to rescue her.

And that's basically it: a long trek through the city. You may or may not care where the monster came from and why its destroying the city. You might also care or not care (I know I didn't) about the characters. This isn't a movie that answers a lot of questions, and it would be prudent you didn't ask any - especially how they walk from the Brooklyn Bridge to Columbus Circle then up fifty-seven flights of stairs without being out of breath, Lily doing it in high heels. At the end of the day, its about the special effects: they are very well-done, and that's the shame of it all. The shaky cam trick is nauseating at times, but it didn't tick me off enough to stop watching. It did, however, make me wish this had been shot in a traditional manner, because the gimmick adds no authenticity to it at all.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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