Cloverfield… It’s Godzilla meets Lonelygirl15… or The Blair Witch Project… whichever you prefer. The difference is that it is infinitely better than all of those.

Cloverfield is about this dude, Rob, who gets this Vice President job position in Japan, so his friends and his brother, Jason, throw him this going away party. Jason is supposed to film everybody in the party and have them say their goodbyes and congrats and such to the camera (like at a wedding), but passes it off to Rob’s best friend, Hud. Well, Rob and Beth, his long-time friend, hooked up about a month prior but he never followed up due to his leaving, which causes a bunch of drama. On top of that, a giant monster decides now would be a good time to attack New York and destroy everything. Damn monster! So anyway, a small group of the party-goers run around while Hud films everything (“I think people should know how it all went down”).

I’ll stop it there, because any more would spoil it. There is a plot (or mission, really), and it isn’t just them running around freaking out. The characters are fully developed and you really care for each one of them (though some more than others). You don’t want anything to happen to them. It’s not like other horror movies where the movie focuses on the gimmick instead of the characters. No, this is a monster movie where the characters are the forefront and the monster is just kinda there messing everything else up. And yes, you do get to see the monster from numerous angles and quite a few times, though you get some really nice close-ups near the end.

As for the characters, Rob is obviously meant to be the main character or whatnot… but I think that title should go to Hud. You only see him maybe like… 5 times the entire movie, as he’s behind the camera the whole time, but you always know he’s there and he has great personality. The whole movie is literally in his hands. And I don’t know about anybody else, but even though you barely even see the guy, he was the character I became most attached to.

But what’s a monster movie without suspense or action? This movie has both, and loads of it. This movie is so incredibly suspenseful and engaging that after the monster attack began (it takes about 20 minutes or so, as the beginning is all character development), I never even looked at my watch once. One of my favorite scenes probably would have to be the subway tunnel scene.

And the monster itself? Well, it looks awesome, to put it simply. It’s creepy and random looking. And the CGI in this movie couldn’t be better. The monster and its little mini-creature things are very realistic (I’m sure the shadows help, too). And some of the sets and stuff looked awesome, too, like the leaning building they have to cross into.

I just really don’t want to stop talking about this movie. I think it’s easily one of the best of 2008 thus far (granted, it’s only January, but still. It will probably stay on the list for a long time). The only downside might be that there’s no real closure. You really aren’t sure what happens to those left or anything. But part of me wants to say that that almost makes it even more intriguing.

Cloverfield gets a Royale with Cheese.

(P.S. I kinda feel bad for the director, because J.J. Abrams is getting all the credit, and almost nobody has mentioned the poor director).

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