So, should you believe the massive hype surrounding this movie?
Well, yes and no, because although the special effects are fantastic and it is thoroughly entertaining, it’s also complete tosh and by the time the next blockbuster arrives, everyone will have forgotten all about it.
In these post 9/11 days, any movie that takes an attack on New York as its starting point is definitely going to tap into the zeitgeist big time and Cloverfield scores a massive plus by not concentrating on the authorities’ point of view, but that of the average man. Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is an impossibly beautiful young whizzkid, about to become the VP of a company in Japan. His brother and his best friends (TJ Miller, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Mike Vogel) throw a huge party for him in the city and while in the course of video-taping proceedings an explosion knocks out all the lights. But is it a bomb, a meteorite shower or something else entirely? With panic ripping through the group, they first rush to the roof of their building before fleeing to street level, where they discover an even more terrifying scenario.
Shot in hand-held video camera style, a la Blair Witch Project, there is something very direct and first-hand about the action, which starts off at jogging pace but quickly moves on to frantic chase mode as our bunch of friends try to escape from the horror around them. The jerky, flickering images on screen are sometimes hard to follow, but they certainly add to the general feeling of paranoia and nausea.
The actors do all they are expected to do (look beautiful and frightened) but the special effects are the knockout thing here as New York’s buildings literally crumble before your eyes. Although there’s nothing subtle about the plotline, the action or the acting, this is a modern day Godzilla with real wow factor, so just enjoy the ride.