Cloverfield: America’s Godzilla

Almost everybody remembers seeing the Cloverfield trailer before Transformers last summer, only then it was still unnamed and known only for its release date — 01.18.08. The teaser showed a going away party in a New York apartment from the lens of a camcorder held by one of the characters when, suddenly, an earthquake hits, buildings explode, fireballs fall and the Statue of Liberty’s head comes crashing down the street. Everyone was left to ask, "What was that?"

Finally, Cloverfield is here. Producer J.J. Abrams (creator of TV’s Felicity, Alias and Lost and director of Mission: Impossible III) came up with the concept for Cloverfield while promoting Mission: Impossible III n Japan. He noticed mass amounts of Godzilla toys and realized that the U.S. hasn’t had a long-living movie monster. Abrams applied a new concept to an old genre – instead of showing the giant monster from the eyes of some physicist or military man trying to bring the beast down, why not show it from the eyes of the people in the streets seeking shelter from the destruction?

Instead of focusing on solving the problem, Cloverfield follows several average people making their way into the heart of the destruction, trying to save a friend/lover who’s trapped amidst the wreckage.

Because Cloverfield is showing the story from a handheld camera, be warned that if you suffer from motion sickness, you will not be able to watch this movie. During Utah’s press screening, a dozen or so people walked out and never came back because of nausea. Some dry-heaved. The shakiness is that bad.

The benefit of the handheld camera is that you feel like you’re in the action the whole time. Just after Lady Liberty’s head rolls by, you see the destruction that feels a lot like Sept. 11 – buildings collapsing, people running from dust clouds in the streets, papers falling everywhere. Because of this, Cloverfield is extremely tense.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, "What is the monster?" Well, you’re not going to find the answer here. It’s something you must see for yourself. Know that it is unlike any monster you’ve ever seen before. It’s no Alien, Predator or Godzilla you’ve ever seen before. It’s much scarier than that.

If you can handle jerky camera motion, ala Bourne Supremacy or United 93, then run out to see Cloverfield immediately. It’s a big-screen experience you won’t want to miss out on. Plus, don’t you finally want to know what Cloverfield is all about?

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