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DVD Review: Cloverfield


To get ready for this monstrous DVD release, Paramount and Director Matt Reeves have decided to hold a contest to find out who has the best recently recovered Cloverfield footage! If you think you're up to the task, head on over to WhenCloverfieldHit.com to find out how you can enter for a chance to win $4,500 and a Paramount DVD Prize Pack!


The promo trailers for Cloverfield were all done in first-person perspective, as if you were viewing everything through a camcorder that someone was holding. No monster was shown, only that some kind of destruction was taking place, and you were right there watching it unfold. This was absolutely amazing, and made it very mysterious and alluring. Great for a promotion, but lousy for a feature length film. Watching everything from one single (and always shaky) perspective for 84 minutes long just gets very tiring. It was annoying in the Blair Witch Project, and it's annoying here. C'mon film dudes, there is a very good reason that movies are shot from multiple angles and then inter-cut... it's because one single perspective sucks!!

Of course, I didn't know it was going to be like this when I started watching the movie. The opening shot is like some classified government notice that they're about some top secret footage, to which they then start playing this camcorder footage. This footage begins in a bedroom where a dude is filming his girlfriend's bedroom while she is just waking up in bed. Eventually we end up at a surprise party for a guy who is moving to Japan for a job. Okay, so we are like ten minutes in thus far and so far all we've seen is some boring home videos. If I wanted to be bored by home videos I could do that at home! Almost twenty minutes in and still no monster. There's some kind of minor relationship drama, but so far it's still BORING. Why did the government feel it was necessary to waste 18 minutes of everyone's time? Is watching these people's relationships going to somehow help provide insight into the Cloverfield monster?

Nope, it's because the movie-making dudes figured we needed to know these characters before we cared whether they lived or died in a monster attack. And they're right, but I don't think we needed 18 minutes worth. Which brings me to the other reason they probably did this... they needed to fill time. Without it, the movie would only be about 70 minutes long. At any rate, as we approach the 20 minute mark, we finally get our first hint of a disturbance, the earth quakes and all the lights in the city go out. Confusion ensues, people head to the roof to see if they can get a look at what the news reported to be a capsized oil tanker, and while there we all witness a giant explosion from the center of the city.

I've gotta say, the effects here are pretty fantastic. The explosion look genuine, as did the flying scorching debris that rained down like fire balls from heaven. And the boredom finally ends! About time, too, as I really don't think I could've taken much more of watching boring home videos. So yeah, now there's a mad panic to get outside and I'm finally interested in what's going on, but this doesn't just erase the mind-numbing first 20 minutes I was subjected to. From here on out the movie stays at a pretty steady pace, with a few outlying slow spots and a few adrenaline pumping moments.

I'm sure you already know by now that the basic idea behind the movie is a monster attacking the city. Definitely sounds like a great idea, except that we don't get to find out hardly anything about the creature. We never learn where it came from, why it's here, or how it can be destroyed. Alien? Mutant? Government experiment gone wrong? Does it want revenge? Is it just bored? Are there more of them? What are its weaknesses? Can it be killed? The answers to all of those questions are never revealed! By the end, we know almost nothing more than we did at the beginning. So what's the point? We just get to watch a small group of friends push their way into the city where the monster is attacking so that one of the guys can save his ex-girlfriend.

The DVD promises "new secrets revealed". Well, the deleted scenes didn't provide any secrets. And the "alternate endings" just felt like a gimmick to sell DVDs. Both were pretty much the same ending as the original. The only difference in the first alternate ending is the last scene, which isn't actually a conclusion to anything. The last scene is just after the camcorder stops recording, and you see the happy couple before all this disaster stuff started happening. Big whoop. I couldn't even tell you what the difference was in the second ending, as it looked identical to the original ending. Maybe it lingered on falling rubble a bit more before cutting to the last scene?

So overall, it was disappointing. I didn't get the kickass monster movie that I was hoping for, but there was definitely some good stuff in there. I probably would have liked it a lot more had I just fast forwarded though the first 18 minutes, so just keep that in mind if you start watching it and get that dreaded "what have I got myself into" mindset after the first 3 minutes. Oh, and I also wasn't a big fan of the creature's design, but we really didn't get to see him that much anyway so it wasn't too big of a deal. I highly doubt he'll become a huge icon like that of Godzilla.

Cloverfield, released by Paramount, is available starting April 22, 2008.

Press Release: Cloverfield

Discover more clues and unravel the mystery of producer J.J. Abrams’ and director Matt Reeves’ monster hit when CLOVERFIELD smashes its way onto DVD April 22, 2008 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Earning over $80 million at the domestic box office, CLOVERFIELD thrilled critics and audiences alike with its shocking, first-person video account of a horrifying attack on Manhattan by an unknown—and seemingly unstoppable—force. Called “a true milestone” (Harry Knowles, Aint It Cool News), “a real jolt” (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune) and “a giant shot of adrenaline” (Leonard Maltin, “Entertainment Tonight”), CLOVERFIELD delivers “a terrific movie, filled with spectacle” (Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle). The CLOVERFIELD DVD features revealing bonus material including alternate endings, deleted scenes, “The Making of CLOVERFIELD”, a look at the visual effects, commentary by director Matt Reeves and more.

CLOVERFIELD DVD

The CLOVERFIELD DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround and Spanish 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish subtitles. The DVD includes the following special features:

  • Commentary by director Matt Reeves
  • The Making of CLOVERFIELD
  • CLOVERFIELD Visual Effects
  • I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge!
  • Clover Fun
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • Alternate Endings with Optional Commentary

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