Modern Mondays: Cloverfield (2008)

During the recent media barrage following the annual 9/11 anniversary, I was reminded of the Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams’ giant monster movie Cloverfield (2008). I’ve seen Cloverfield twice since my first viewing and it remains one of my favorite horror films of the last decade.

When the movie was originally released it created a mild media controversy after many critics berated the film for being insensitive to 9/11 victims and the events that scarred a nation. People also seemed to enjoy spending a ridiculous amount of time pointing out the improbabilities of this giant monster movie as if they were critiquing a documentary. I think those kinds of criticisms of a fantasy thriller are fascinating and pointless, but they’re also a credit to the director who managed to give the film an incredibly authentic look and feel.

At the time I was bothered by a lot of the negative criticism the film was receiving and I wrote a lengthy defensive of it that you can still read here. Since the film’s initial release it has gotten more critical respect and I suspect that will only continue over time.

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Cloverfield should be readily available from most DVD rental sources and sellers.

Modern Mondays is an ongoing project here at Cinebeats where I share a few thoughts or lengthy rants and raves about my favorite films produced during the last decade. Films previously mentioned on Modern Mondays include:

The Left Bank (2008)
Love Songs (2007)
Bright Future (2003)
Control (2007)
The Quiet American (2001)
A History of Violence (2005)
This Is England (2007)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Innocence (2004)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)

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9 thoughts on “Modern Mondays: Cloverfield (2008)

  1. AR says:

    I think the local paper’s critic gave it a pretty positive review. Some of my friends saw, but I still haven’t. Will get around to it eventually.

  2. Marilyn says:

    I think Cloverfield was a very significant film that the years will only highlight. I have been planning to do an indepth review of it for some time. It works so well in the Japanese tradition of social criticism/free-floating anxiety that prompted the Gojiro films, and perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the new generation of media-saturated, media-mediated Americans and their remove from real life.

  3. ada says:

    i like the idea, but the movie was really bad for me.
    the same case is “diary of the dead”. a documentary, that doesnt look like a documentary. i know that if it was 100% realistic, it would be boring and nothing to see but fuzzy something and some audio…
    i just dont like that hollywood “we will show you everything” style. i dont want to see everything. i want to believe it little.
    less statue heads, less supercool mega monster finales, less hero acts, more reality

    cloverfield – 1/10

    shaun of the dead sucks too…
    i know i am a bad person.

  4. Kimberly Lindbergs says:

    AR – I think the film probably has the most impact as a big screen experience, but I hope you enjoy it when you see it.

    Greg / Marilyn – Yep, it’s good. Obviously I agree with ya both.

    Ada – I’m surprised you couldn’t find anything to enjoy in Cloverfield or Shaun of the Dead, but if we all liked the exact same films the world would be a very boring place.

  5. hchin says:

    I agree that “Cloverfield” is a great movie— I found a couple of moments that felt a little forced and staged (just like many moments in ‘real’ reality shows), but considering how badly the concept could have been blown, I was amazed at how well it was done- and on a (relatively) cheap budget!

    My only issue is: they’re considering a sequel.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    (Aside: I showed an interview bit with Eli Roth about the process of being a director to an afterschool class- and the guy was so unpretentious and straightforward, that half of the class was thoroughly charmed by him, and wanted to marry the guy. I admit that after watching the interview, it was so insightful, that I bought ‘Cabin Fever’ only to try to learn more from the guy. Anyhow, glad to hear you like his work as well.)

  6. Kimberly Lindbergs says:

    hchin – Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the film too. Like you, I worry that a sequel will be a total failure since the film really holds up as a unique experience.

    As for Eli Roth… I’m an unabashed fan. I enjoy his films and find him to be a likable and interesting guy. I recently posted a link to an interview he did on Twitter that I recommend viewing if you get the time. It’s sort of off the cuff and took place while he was at Amoeba shopping for DVDs:

    http://www.amoeba.com/whats-in-my-bag/index.html#/detail/2009-08-20_eli-roth

  7. Taylor Payne says:

    I had a hard time with Cloverfield. For one thing, the size/scale of the monster was absurdly inconsistent, particularly in the scene where dude is being tossed about and is rescued by the helicopter.

    Other parts were fun, but I think I’ve kind of had it with the unrealistic “shaky camera” thing, and the implausibility that folks in this kind of disaster are going to be filming their most dangerous and dexterous actions and flights of escape.

  8. Robin says:

    I loved Cloverfield! I saw it twice in the theater, and recently saw it on TV. I didn’t think it would look good on a small screen but the movie was just as engaging. It’s non-stop excitement and the cinematography is amazing. I thought the acting was good–the actors felt like “people I know,” even though I don’t know anyone like that. I was puzzled by the scathing reviews. I thought it should have gotten an Oscar. Most underhyped movie–!

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