First of all. I get it. This movie is not about a giant monster that brings havoc to Manhattan. It's about the time in which we live. The "YouTube" era. The digital age where no matter what happens, from natural disasters to fun with fireworks; there is always someone there with a video camera or cell phone to document the event. After all, when the monster attacks, looters hit an electronic store. Which is kind of funny. Sure, a huge, evil beast is destroying our city but hey..."Free HD TV's!"
There are lots of comparisons to "The Blair Witch Project" going around. It's not quite the same. In that film the videotaping was done in hopes of documenting the events. In this film, the camera just happens to be in the right place at the right time...or I should say…almost the right place at the right time. And that is where my problems with the film begin.
On one hand I applaud the idea of the movie; tell a not so new story from a different point of view. But (especially early in the film) I got frustrated because I missed that cool explosion or just missed the monster. But again, that's the point. In the second act the best images of the unamed/unknown monster come from the camera being pointed at a TV, showing news footage of the beast attacking the city. Granted, near the end of the movie there are some great shots of the giant...thing. But, by then I was almost suffering from motion sickness, so I may have missed a couple.
It's easy to tell, as odd as it seems, 9/11 partly inspired this movie. Before that day we really didn't know what happens when a huge skycraper crumbles to the ground. Now we do...so we get to see it again. Plus, when the island is evacuated, the citizens are marched over the Brooklyn Bridge, just like that day.
As most movies today, there is little character development; but again, we're meeting all this people from an 1 and 1/2 hour videotape; so, with that, I guess "a little" is the best we get. There is a love story sub-plot. It is shown from pieces of the original videotape that is being being taped over to document this night. No major stars were cast, to add to the idea of normal people in an extrodinary story, maybe they are a little to normal. Outside of the character Lilly, no one really stands out....I can't even remember their names. For me the main character Ron or Rob...is very weak.
At the end of the film I didn't know if I liked it or not. My attention was held the entire time and there was no point where I was completely turned off. But, I left the theatre feeling a bit unfulfilled by the film. There are some great "running scared scenes" and "close calls." However, there are a lot of questions at the end.
If you haven't seen it...pay special attention to the flashback scenes near the end of the film. Apparently, you can see something fall out of the sky and into the ocean in the background (I completely missed it). This has something to do with the origin of the beast and is all that type of information you get. So, now the same camera (and video tape) that captured the very beginning of the events of this monster, captures the attack and military battle to kill it. This has to be the most magical camera since Zappruder watching the President roll by in Dallas. According to the internet you can use the flashback scene and visit the viral marketing websites and get a little background story.
At the end of the day, I feel like I didn't pay money to do internet research or watch a "really good" YouTube video. I paid to see a big Hollywood monster movie and in that since I feel cheated.
I really wanted to like this movie, the entire time I felt like I was on the verge of really getting into it and by the time I was doing that...it was over.
I didn't hate it....I didn't love it.....I give "Cloverfield" a soild C+.
On a side note I really liked the trailer for "Iron Man." There is a teaser trailer for "Star Trek" and I think I will be totally skiping "10-Thousand BC".