Let me begin with: What a Movie!!! Cloverfield literally rocked my world. This is the best movie I have seen of the “monster movie” genre and that is including King Kong, Jurassic Park, Alien, Predator and even the Korean “Host”. I still can’t believe that the wait is now all over and I have been a part of that cinematic experience that I have been counting down to, ever since the first teasers hit online-the exceedingly mind-numbing visual of the head of the Statue of Liberty tossed on to the streets of NY. And all of this being captured on a handycam. Right even from the days when it didn’t even have a name to it (and was rightfully named as JJ Abrams’ next project), the fanboism to the movie had peaked until it’s release. And now that I have watched IT, I can be quite peaceful at heart and satisfied enough to talk my heart out about the movie. I loved Cloverfield, every bit of it.
The premise is a Manhattan’s typical yuppiedom party thrown for a Rob who is leaving NY for a job in Japan. And a friend of his is given the cam to record farewell video testimonials. And then, suddenly amidst the discussion among Rob, his brother Jason and the cam-holding Hud, with no warning, no background score and no cinematic trumpet announcing the arrival of chaotic destruction, cometh the Monster. Now, we have seen gazillions of monster movies set to the backdrop of Manhattan.But if you expected this to be just another one added to the list, I must say you are mistaken. This leads the list. And whatever you saw in those teasers, just try and imagine to multiply that intensity of 30 seconds by almost a 100 times and spread it across a movie of length 73 minutes. Yes, it is that good. Yeah, but for the monster movie sucker that most people are, they would expect a deep plot on the genesis of the monster, the characters who are gonna be later killed by the monster, should have built a rapport with the audience before they are swallowed or trampled upon. And yes, wide pan angles, bird’s eye view, a camera rolling through the legs and barely missing the monster’s tail, and yeah lastly the monster should have a NAME. Cloverfield breaks each of that stereotypical guide to making monster movies. And guess what, that is where it made all of us awestruck. It literally is the monster movie for the YouTube generation- where a million hits go to the reaction videos of 2 girls and a cup. And so, if you expected all the above mentioned guidelines of making a monster movie to be followed, I am sure that you’d be let down. Because I hardly remember the girl’s name, the monster doesn’t really has a name and neither is anyone interested to give it any, the panic at the streets is very real, the toxic smog made me almost cough, and the combat scenes look a straight report on the CNN.
And I know, most of the junta would be still complaining about the jerky camera work and then silly Rob’s attempt to rescue his lady love. I’d like to answer this by saying if you think Blair Witch Project wasn’t your cup of tea, this is not gonna serve you as wine. Signs of nausea could be the side-effects visible on most people, but don’t you think such an impact by a cinematic piece which almost borders on the reality vs. fictional line, and simulates seven hours of terror down to the last inch, deserves the applause that it is getting. And for people who like Blair Witch, you’re gonna gulp this down without any appetizers. Blair Witch made me feel claustrophobic and Cloverfield made me realize the scares of night-vision ( There you go, a hint). And yes, unlike most monster movies, this one sums it all up in 73 minutes straight. No agenda, no bull-shitting, no hidden storylines with recaps and yes, no super-savers. NY’s chaos is unleashed perfectly not in detailed choreographed terror acts by the monster, but in brief shots at the devil’s dance. And that’s why it is as sexy as probably the first time you saw dinosaurs running in the park, and it is so terrifying that it makes the other Manhattan monster movie- I am Legend -feel like an episode of Will & Grace. I give it a 10 on 10, a double thumbs up, a vote for the Oscar’s next year-may be a special technical award for groundbreaking advancement in storytelling technique. Now let’s all stand up and bow to Mr. Abrams, and Director Matt Reeves. Bravo!