Posted April 17, 2008 in The Small Screen

Amazingly, what J.J. Abrams and company have managed to do in Cloverfield is to make something kind of hard look deceptively simple. The movie can be easily summed up as a monster movie á la Godzilla shown through the eyes of a video camera but it takes that “gimmick” and turns it into a pretty decent film. Where the handycam angle could easily have become really annoying (and does, inevitably, sometimes seem a bit contrived) director Matt Reeves and editor Kevin Stitt sew together various effects and takes (all well-documented in the usual Hollywood back-patting featurettes included on the disc) to create a seamless illusion that you’re watching events unfold in real-time, while they actually only show you slightly over an hour of action. A good chunk of screen time is devoted to giving the pretty-yet-mostly-likable characters an actual back story, and glimpses of the big bad monster are tantalizingly restrained, combining to prove that, for once, less is more where CGI is concerned. Devotees of the movie’s online ARG (alternate reality game) may be disappointed that there aren’t more extras on the disc but there are some hidden Easter eggs to beef it up and a web-link (not active at press-time) that promises even more fun. (Red Vaughn)


Paramount, 84 minutes

Release date: April 22


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