Thursday, 15 October 2015

My Film Reviews - Cloverfield

This isn't a new film, it was released back in 2008. However, for me, its still great! Its a monster film - think Godzilla, Jurassic Park but with a different angle.

Its set in New York, which gives it a great back drop. It starts off with some young hip New Yorkers having a party, and one of them, a guy called Hud, is videoing it all on camcorder.

The party is a leaving do for another guy, Rob, who is leaving to move to Japan. The party was organised by his brother Jason, who is there with his girlfriend, Lily. Rob has previously slept with Beth, who comes to his party but she leaves early and goes home.

Soon there is a power blackout, and they think its an earthquake. Little do they know! The news reports that an oil tanker has overturned near Liberty Island. In the confusion, they all leave the building, thinking thats the safest thing to do. As they leave the building, the head of the Statue of Liberty flies past them, smashing into the ground.

Hud continues filming, and in doing so sees what appears to be a monster some blocks away from them. The Woolworth building is destroyed, and then the Brooklyn Bridge, which kills Jason.

The news shows troops trying to bring the creature down, but small monsters fall from it as they battle. These turn out to be just as dangerous and start to attack people.

Rob gets a message on his phone from Beth. She has reached her apartment, but is trapped in it. Rob is determined to go and rescue her, but it means heading into the path of the monster. Hud and Lily agree to go with him, and also Marlena who was also at the party. Everyone else heads away to safety, and they have to push through the people to try and reach Beth.

The closer they get, the more caught up they are, and eventually with the troops on one side and the monsters on the other, they have to escape into a tube station. Some of the small monsters, that are parasites are inside though, and they have to battle with them. Marlena gets bitten, but survives.

They reach a command centre and field hospital at the exit, and Marlena is taken away for tests. Her eyes are bleeding as she leaves them. She is taken behind a plastic screen, but clearly all is not well as soon blood explodes onto the screen. Marlena is dead.

The army tells them that they must leave the area, as the Hammer Down Protocol is to be executed, which will destroy the whole of the Manhattan area. Determined, Rob, Lily and Hud continue on to Beth's building against the advice of the troops.

As they near the building, they can see its badly damaged and is leaning badly - only held upright because its propped up by another building next to it. There is no way in. Hud jokingly suggests going up the undamaged building and climbing across, not being serious. Rob however, thinks its a plan and they go for it.

They reach the floor where Beth's building is touching it, and climb precariously over into her building. They find Beth's room and find her inside, impaled on a metal bar. They rescue her and climb back into the undamaged building. As they do, they see the monster rampaging and the military firing on it. They know they have to leave and fast.

They reach the evacuation site, and Lily is put into a helicopter. Rob, Beth and Hud are put in a second helicopter. As it takes off, they see the monster being blasted by a bomb. It drops down, but then lunges up and bites the helicopter. The helicopter then spirals out of control and crashes down.

You then hear a voice saying Hammer Down will commence in 15 minutes. Some time must have passed. Beth, Rob and Hud survive the crash, but the monster appears again as they escape from the wreckage into Central Park. Hud is still on the floor but keeps filming. You see the monster properly for the first time. Its head has pouches that expand as it breathes, and it looks mean. It sees Hud and bites him in half killing him.

Rob and Beth take the camera, and run under one of the bridges in Central Park. Air Raid sirens start to go off and as they shelter under the bridge, the bombing starts. Hammer Down has begun. Rob and Beth talk to the camera as the noise around them builds. They tell each other that they love one another, then rubble starts to fall. The last thing you hear is them screaming then it goes black.

All through the film, its footage that's been filmed, but occasionally you see glimpses of the video Hud taped over which was of Rob and Beth. The last scene is Rob and Beth on a sunny day. Beth says to the camera " I had a good day". The screen goes black.

There are no big stars in this one. It was produced by J.J. Abrams though, who is well known for, amongst others, TV series Lost, Alias and Revolution, and the film Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Cloverfield was kept under wraps when it was being made, as he apparently didn't want anyone to know anything about it beforehand. Quite exciting really!

All in all, this is a brill film. Its enjoyable, a bit scary, makes you jump, and doesn't have surviving against ridiculous odds to contend with. They die - nothing cheesy there! The way its filmed makes it seem more real, there is no gloss or glamour to this one. Its just a story, and told from a new perspective.

Now, that said, its not epic acting and there is no deep emotional connection. It is quite light on back plot, but its simplicity is effective. If you like sci fi and monster flicks, you will enjoy it. I watched it again this weekend, having not done so for some years now, and its still great. It still made me jump and I still love it.

Go have a watch of it and let me know what you think. I think you will enjoy it either if you haven't seen it before, or if you haven't seen it for a while. Happy watching :)