Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cloverfield

For most people, you either loved this film, or you completely despised it. As for me, there were things that I loved about this film, and things that I didn’t care for. Cloverfield follows several twenty-somethings as they try to escape a city being attacked by a giant Godzilla-like creature.
I think that this film was a landmark in motion picture history in two ways. The first landmark is how they campaigned for the film. It was brilliant. Successfully keeping this movie in the dark, they released a trailer that showed us very little and only had a date instead of a title. People who looked up this date online found a website that only had a couple pictures. From here, the advertisers used a number of techniques to publicize the film and pique audiences’ interest. The main website would be updated occasionally with pictures that gave clues about the stories. Several of the characters had MySpace pages and online video blogs. There were several fake news and business websites created to help give further background to the story. All in all, it was an amazing form of advertising that got audiences excited for the film and accounted for a great deal of profit that the studio could not have made any other way.
The second landmark is the way they filmed the movie. This is where most audience members grew to hate the film. The movie was filmed as if we saw everything from a handheld camera being used by one of the characters. This added a great deal of realism and believability to the story where we felt like we were watching a YouTube-like video of an actual event. But this also meant that there was a lot of camera-shake in the process and anyone who had motion-sickness did not make it far into the movie. While it's true that The Blair Witch Project started the hand-held technique, I believe it was this film that showed the true potential and effectiveness of filming in this form. It was this film that started the hand-held craze and later inspired other films like Quarantine and Paranormal Activity.
Aside from that, the movie itself wasn’t all that good. The movie echoed Godzilla a lot, so we felt like we had seen this film a dozen times before. There was really nothing to new to see. Another thing that bothered me was the lack of background story in the film. A lot of the background information was covered in the campaign sites for the film, but if you never looked at any of those, you were left with a lot of questions.

**Spoiler Alert**
Apparently, - and they don’t tell you this in the film anywhere – the object landing in the ocean at the end of the film was a failed satellite that crashed to the earth and awoke a monster that had been hibernating underwater for thousands of years. The monster was supposed to be a baby looking for its mother.
**End Spoiler Alert**

Overall, the movie was a good thrill ride with lots of good special effects and scares, but not good enough to be seen over and over again.

As far as questionable content:
There is some violent monster mayhem, a couple of gore moments (one person is attacked by a monster and some blood sprays on the camera; a person explodes behind a curtain; one character is chewed up in the monster’s mouth) and some profanity throughout the film.

P.S. - The image used in this post is copyrighted by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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