Blu-ray Review: Cloverfield

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Cloverfield
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

Producer J.J. Abrams and director Matt Reeves took a huge creative risk by filming a cinéma vérité monster movie.  The point of view of the movie is seen through a camcorder which bumps and careens across the screen, first at a going away party for a friend leaving for a job in Japan and later as a smaller group of five friends run through the streets of New York led by the film’s hero Robert “Rob” Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) to find and rescue his girlfriend Elizabeth “Beth” (Odette Yustman) while avoiding the monster and nasty parasites dropping from its body.  When it was released on the big screen, some movie patrons complained that the bumpy camera work caused them vertigo or migraine headaches.  If you missed the movie in theaters, you may be pleased to know that on a smaller screen the lurching action of the camera is minimized.

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The film is also slow to build up to the attack of the monster on the city, instead focusing on who is sleeping with who gossip during the going away party; the films characters are not very well developed.  Once the monster attacks; however, the movie is a non-stop adrenaline ride.  (If you want to cut to the monster part of the movie, now that it is out on Blue-ray Disc you may skip the party scene during the opening of the movie and begin the monster mayhem right away). 

Despite its flaws, it is fantastic that the film’s director was able to use the rescue by the hero of his girl friend to tether the film emotionally while everything is being ripped apart around them.The Blu-ray Disc contains extras including a director’s commentary, a “GPS” tracker mode for the creature as it rampages NYC during the film and a featurette on the making of the movie which explains many of the movie’s special effects.  If monster movies are your thing, you will want to add Cloverfield to your collection, otherwise, it is better suited as being a rental.

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