MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:24 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to throw up with the shaky cam.
Date Movie: Sit close to the screen if you want them to throw up.
Gratuitous Sex: Sadly, no.
Gratuitous Violence: People get eaten and the military shoots at a monster.
Action: People run from the monster.
Laughs: The movie is pretty funny if you don’t take it seriously.
Memorable Scene: I wish Marlena’s final scene wasn’t hidden in quarantine.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Matt Reeves

Do you remember how you got suckered into the hype of “The Blair Witch Project,” saw it, and then realized it was actually kind of stupid? Thankfully there hasn’t been the hype about “Cloverfield,” because it, also, is all kinds of stupid. At least it was never purported to be the scariest movie ever. Let’s get to it…

“Cloverfield” gives us a movie where a strange monster attacks Manhattan, that’s part of New York City for you people who don’t know your geography, and it’s one hell of a monster, only we see the attack through the video camera held by Hud (T.J. Miller). He’s holding the camera because he is delegated as the person to document, i.e. videotape, the going-away party of his buddy Rob (Michael Stahl-David).

Wait a minute; I suppose I should really start from the beginning.

As the movie opens the screen tells us that the following video was recovered from government operation Cloverfield, and should not be copied. We see Rob and his woman, Beth (Odette Yustman), beginning to enjoy a day together. They seem to be lovers. “Yay” for them! Then the video switches to what develops into Rob’s going-away party where we find that Hud has the hots for Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), and things between Rob and Beth aren’t as simple as we were led to believe. As parties go Rob’s is okay, especially as people start drinking and saying things they probably shouldn’t. Suddenly there is a rumble, like an earthquake, people are scared, they do like all people should do when there might be an earthquake – they head to the roof of their building – only parts of other buildings start flying their way, so now they head for the streets, along comes the head off of the Statue of Liberty, and suddenly the movie looks a hell of a lot like the footage from 9/11 attacks (buildings crumble, there is white dust rumbling through the streets, papers are drifting through the air from buildings, and people are walking around, covered in the white dust, shell-shocked). But this isn’t a terror attack, nope, this time a crazy lizard-monster is terrorizing the city, and we get to see it all through the camera being held by Hud.

So as Hud continues to document the evening, our crew, which also includes Rob’s brother Jason (Mike Vogel) and a dudette named Lily (Jessica Lucas), at first attempt to get off of the island (yes, Manhattan is an island), only to lose one of them when the Brooklyn Bridge gets taken out by the monster. Meanwhile, in all of the mayhem, Rob gets a call from Beth who is trapped and hurt in her apartment. Rob, because he is in love, throws all common sense to the wind, decides he must rescue Beth, and of course, the rest of the crew follows along. In doing so we find out a few more things, thanks again to the shaky video Hud is taking, about the monster, like the subway isn’t really a good way to get from point A to point B in the city when a crazy lizard-monster attacks, and whatever happens, don’t get bit.

I will give “Cloverfield” a whole ton of credit for the originality for what, at its core, could have simply been a “Godzilla Takes Manhattan” movie. Instead of giving us the outside view of the terror, the movie gives us the view of five/four/three/four/two people as they try to stay alive and save Rob’s girlfriend. I will also give the movie folks credit for adding the element of more than just one giant monster terrorizing the city. I will say that as much as love is grand, well, our crew is stupid, and in the end, and although a whole ton of folks seem to be loving this movie, I’m only giving “Cloverfield” 2 ½ stars out of 5. The shaky, hand-held perspective was necessary for this movie to work, the monster element was necessary for the movie to work, but mostly I just laughed at the stupidness of our crew.

It’s a popcorn movie; see it if you must, just be thankful there isn’t the wacky hype convincing you that you must see this movie and just try to have fun.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!