Bullet Points: Cloverfield
In the wee hours of the night, as the New England Patriots were busy crying about their most recent loss/counting their Super Bowl earnings, a new addition to the growing Cloverfield Universe titled The Cloverfield Paradox was added to Netflix. It was pretty well known that something was in the process of being made but it wasn’t clear which studio was doing it or when it was coming out. Well, now that puppy is on Netflix for all the world to see and I’m reminded that I need to go back and re-watch the original.
Synopsis: A group of friends venture deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.
- What the Hell is going on?: Cloverfield is the kind of movie that would have worked amazingly well before Google. The film was so secretive about its plot and what exactly a “Cloverfield” was that many people who went into the theater still didn’t have a great idea of what they were about to see. JJ Abrams is all about keeping people in the dark to his projects. Maybe that is why he surprised us all with remaking Star Wars: A New Hope a few years ago.
- New Yorkers: The movie introduces us to the group of characters we’ll be spending the rest of the movie with while they’re all at a going away party for Rob. His brother and his girlfriend, his best friend and comic relief T.J. Miller, a random chick that T.J. has the hots for, and his sorta-kinda EX are all among the group. The party is full of attractive 26 year olds, which is how I imagine all parties to be in Manhattan, when an earthquake-like event sends everyone to the roof for a better look. Let’s just say… that ain’t no quake, baby.
- Creature from somewhere: It’s pretty clear early on that they are under attack by some massive Godzilla creature. We’re never given a really good look at the thing but it doesn’t help that the entire movie is done with the little handheld that T.J. Miller carries around. It’s like watching Muhammed Ali’s Instagram video feed. Sorry…
- Crash and Burn: The city is slowly falling apart around the group. Rob, who is totally in love with the gorgeous Beth, puts all his friends lives at risk by chasing after her all the way across town. His friends probably should have just let him run off after her by himself. You could say that it doesn’t turn out well for them by falling him. The style of filming gives us a really good idea of what the group is going through but we’re still totally in the dark about what is happening in general. From the first shots to the final shots, there is very little information about what this thing is and why it’s stomping its way through NY City. Tourists…
- Send in the Military: Within minutes of this thing touching ground, soldiers are running all over the streets firing Javelins and blasting away at this thing with tanks. It’s very reminiscent of the ending of War of the Worlds to me. Cloverfield feels like a very different movie because it’s not about a group of survivors fighting back against the creature or trying to discover its weakness. They’re literally just trying not to get killed. I think it works better that way because that is what 99.999% of people would be doing in that situation. Except for me. Come get these hands, monster!
We may not know what it wants but it wouldn’t hurt to give it some bonus Bullet Points:
- T.J. Miller is good at acting pathetic and annoying. I wonder if that’s a testament to his acting ability or a detriment to his character?
- I can’t imagine seeing this movie in 3-D. Talk about a nauseating experience.
- T.J. Miller randomly turns into the Chris Farley SNL skit where he interviews celebrities.
- I like that these characters are still trying to hook up with each other even though there is a massive monster eating everyone and tearing down the city. Oh to be 26 again.
The Verdict: I think I like Cloverfield more now than I did when it originally came out. My biggest fear when it came out was that there would be nothing but POV movies after it and I absolutely hated that idea. There were definitely a few that came out afterwards, but none that I really gave a shit about. Watching it again some years later I can appreciate it much more for what it was. I like that the movie is almost a continuous telling of what this small group of New Yorkers are going through during such a massive event. The entire movie is essentially them trying to get from point A to point B. It’s like someone just made a movie of Chutes & Ladders but threw in a massive building-sized monster to destroy the ladders at random. T.J. Miller is probably the most unrealistic character if this is happening in 2008 but in 2018 there would be about 4 million people standing around filming this thing with their phones. I’m sure there would also be way more cursing. Am I supposed to watch that John Goodman one now too?