I finally got to see my most anticipated movie of 2008: Cloverfield! And it was great! I was afraid the hype would lead to disappointment, but I really enjoyed the film. I've already seen it in theaters twice, and it holds up really well in its second viewing. It tends to happen that I like a movie but get bored during a second viewing and end up disliking/hating it (examples: the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks, LotR: Fellowship of the Ring). I think Cloverfield really benefits from a second viewing.. at least you know where you need to focus your attention. I have no problems with the camera work at all, it's just that sometimes the action happens really fast and I feel that if you blink, you'll miss something important.
I was really into the Cloverfield hype when it began. I was following the news and trying to figure out what Slusho! had to do with everything. At some point I kinda lost interest in all that. Not in the movie itself, though. I just didn't want to spoil it for myself so I didn't watch the new trailers and commercials, and didn't look at new pictures etc. I'm glad I didn't, because when I look at those things now, they do spoil a lot!
Our main dude Rob (played by the charismatic Michael Stahl-David) is moving to Japan for his fancy new job as V.P. of Marketing and Promotions for Slusho. His brother Jason (the always great Mike Vogel) and friends Hud (T.J. Miller) and Lily (Jessica Lucas) throw him a surprise goodbye-and-good-luck-in-Japan party. The fun doesn't last long when a monster attacks the city and a mandatory evacuation takes place. Rob, however, goes on a mission to rescue his true love Beth (Odette Yustman), who got injured during the rampage across town, and is accompanied by Jason, Hud, Lily and Lily's friend/Hud's crush Marlena (Lizzy Caplan).
I don't know what else to say. The cast is good and appealing. I feel for our hero Rob, but my favorite character was the little seen Hud. T.J. Miller did a great job at making his character memorable. Mike Vogel was a bit underused IMHO, but that's the Mike fan in me talking. The writing and pacing were pretty good as well. A part of me wanted an explanation about the monster, but I think it works for the better that we didn't get one (if you don't count the viral marketing). I heard they want to make a sequel.. I'm really not up for one. I think it might ruin this movie and they should leave it for what it is.
Like I said before, I had no problems with the camera work and I really liked the flashes to the Coney Island tape. It helped the Rob/Beth back-story. The CGI was pretty damn great.. I didn't get that annoying 'aarghh it looks so fake' feeling from the monster, which is really important for a movie like this.
Overall Cloverfield is a great thrill, but one that will not be appreciated by the masses. And that's a shame. A 4/5.