Tuesday, 5 February 2008
In Hollywood it seems that when something disastrous happens the Statue of Liberty is always the first to get hurt. In JJ Abram's Cloverfield the lady, ironically famous for welcoming immigrants to New York, takes the first blow as the 'big apple' is swept aside by a mysterious creature.
The making of the film had been shrouded in mystery, with only a poster sporting a headless Statue offering any insight into the plot. On the internet the theme of the project was subject to rumour and guessing for some time, following Lost creator JJ Abrams orders to keep the subject of the film highly secret.
Talk of a monster invading Manhattan was rife, reminiscent of Godzilla rampaging through Japan in the 50's, and it proved to be true.
The legend of Godzilla claims he was disturbed by Americans testing a hydrogen bomb, causing him to reak havoc on Japan in an angry response. Cloverfield offers little insight into how this creature, different from Godzilla, arrives in New York. Instead the focus is on a group of friends at a house party who film their version of events through a handheld camera.
When the head of the Statue of Liberty is thrown over skyscrapers and arrives at the feet of their appartment building the band of mates are thrust into action, trying to escape while saving friends and loved ones they've become seperated from.
The journey they embark upon is littered with obstacles such as bizarre creatures, the presence of the military and falling buildings. Fortunately for us they manage to film the whole thing, even offering a few guesses at how the monster might have gotten there, whether it was from out-of-space or under-the-sea.
The entirety of the film is shot on a camcorder which can be a little annoying, especially when accompanied by the commentary of rich American 20-somethings. The end of the film is also somewhat abrupt, which might not suit those seeking a happy ending.
Overall I'd have to actively encourage any film that features monsters smashing up a city or cities, as it's something I never tire of watching. The run-time of 125 minutes and the sudden conclusion were dissapointing for a film which was thoroughly entertaining.