I finally got round to seeing this after numerous abortive cinema visits, and… it’s pretty good. Very intense at times, a fact emphasised by the style of presentation: the film is exclusively shot from a small video camera carried by one of the survivors. But this isn’t some arthouse scifi flick – there are plenty of big-budget action scenes here, though they’re cleverly staged so you don’t feel like you’re watching a Hollywood blockbuster.
However, despite the motion-sickness-inducing handicam amateur feel, it’s actually a fairly traditional disaster movie at heart. It’s got the lighthearted beginning bit, where characters are introduced and lovelives become increasingly entangled. Then there’s the middle section where the disaster strikes and the monster stomps around trashing NY, most impressively. Then there’s the desperate final section, where major characters are picked off, and things become increasingly fraught as they near their goal.
Kudos to the director for cleverly intercutting footage of two of the main characters from one month before the main events – this adds depth to the relationship, and lends the ending a poignancy it might otherwise have lacked.
I also liked the way the film didn’t focus too much on the creepy crab-like minimonsters – though the section in the subway was scarily good stuff. Overall Cloverfield is well worth watching, but it doesn’t quite live up to all the preceding hype.
Mind you, I’m very glad I saw this film after the earthquake struck on Wednesday morning. That would have properly freaked me out…