Cloverfield Movie Premiere

Last modified on January 16th, 2008

Tonight I ended up down at the Paramount theatre in Vancouver for a premiere of Cloverfield. For those of you who keep up with such things, Cloverfield has been somewhat of a mystery, relying mainly on word of mouth and a few minutes of raw footage released as a trailer for promotional means.


Going into the movie, I basically expected something similar to the Blair Witch Project, and for the most part, that’s exactly what I got. Granted there are a few more effects in this movie, and it is set in the heart of Manhattan, but for the most part it’s just the regurgitation of the formula used for the BWP.

In fact, Cloverfield to me really was a rip off of a lot of different movies. First, you have the Bourne Supremacy’s shaky cam that was used throughout the entire film, even in sequences where the dude with the camera isn’t moving. I understand that there’s a big alien guy chasing everyone alot of the time, but seriously, the camera is shaking and zooming pretty much non-step. Peter Jackson did something similar in the Moria sequence, mainly to add a bit of realism and to fudge the special effects slightly, but there it worked in his favour. In this film, it’s fairly hard to focus on anything at any moment, and I found it super annoying after a while.

There are obviously elements from “Alien” here too, at least in the way the monsters or aliens attack people and impregnate them (or whatever it is they do). Once bitten, you’re pretty much a goner, as evidenced by that strange girl that basically exploded blood at one point. There are a few nods towards “Signs” as well with some of the alien reveals, and up until the end of the movie you’re still not entirely sure what it is you’re dealing with. In fact, even though you know what the thing looks like at the end, you’re still not sure what it is.

I’m sort of a movie snob — I kind of like it when stories are well written and things sort of make sense. I can suspend disbelief when required, but when there are obvious holes in a story or plot, I get a bit irritated. For me, the Alien would have been a lot better had it been shown that it had a purpose. In Independence Day the aliens wanted nothing more than to annihilate pretty much everyone, and knowing that made it all the more important that they were stopped. This alien has a capacity for knocking down famous structures, bashing the statue of liberty, pushing over buildings, taking a stroll in central park, and ever eating random camera people on the street. Why? Not really sure.

While I’m at it, let’s talk about the camera itself. The fact that buddy is handed the camera is a bar and asked to shoot random shots of people all night leads me to believe it’s just a normal run-of-the-mill camcorder. However, clearly I’m wrong, since this camcorder not only has a huge floodlight attached to it, but it also has a night vision mode that let’s you see aliens! Come on guys.

I also don’t get why they felt the need to use a shitty love story as the means to propagate the story forward. Let’s just be at a party with friends and have the monster attack. Buddy doesn’t need to have a girl he slept with, what was it, ONCE, on the other side of town that needs serious saving. The chick left with some other guy at the party — let that guy save her.

While there were a few scenes that kind of caught my eye, for the most part I found the movie fairly boring. I appreciate some of the thought that went into the realism that might surround an event like this (people whipping out cameras and camera phones during events, make-shift barracks in the subway to try and fight the monster), but I still had a problem with the acting and a few other elements.

The one major beef I had with Blair Witch was that even when most of the people were dead, that chick was still being super annoying, and buddy wouldn’t put the camera down. I’m a pretty big camera dork, but I’ll be honest, if I’m hanging out with you guys and you all get eaten by monsters or explode in huge pools of blood, I’m probably gonna put the camera down and bolt the fuck out of there. Want me to go confront the monster? I’ll meet you there, I’m just gonna take a quick piss. What’s that, the super hot chick I slept with once is trapped in the leaning building with a big piece of rebar hanging out of her? Sorry guys, gotta jet. Do me a favour and hold this camera for me.


I had a great time hanging out with the group, but I thought the movie was fairly weak, and clearly an obvious rip-off (both in terms of marketing and content) of the Blair Witch Project. After the show I hit a few people up and asked them what they thought. A few people said it was ok (coincidentally these people hadn’t seen the Blair Witch Project), but most of the people I asked thought it was pretty lame.

I was just over at Aint It Cool News seeing what Harry thought of it (since it was pretty much guaranteed that he saw it already), and apparently he thinks it’s absolutely amazing and redefines the entire genre. Sorry man, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. “Signs” was a far better movie that played with some of the same concepts but didn’t resort to the shaky cam approach or any blatant movie rip-offs.

Thanks again to Rebecca, John and John for bringing me along. Great times. Let’s do it again. Like tomorrow.

7 responses to “Cloverfield Movie Premiere”

  1. Cristina says:

    That’s awesome. You really are a movie I’m not, so I loved it. 🙂 Nothing redifining, I’ll give you that, but it was a good way to waste a couple of hours. 🙂

  2. Mitch says:

    The perspective (aka Hud and the vidio camera) was an interesting way of holding to audience to thier specific experiences and thier point of view. Howerver, I grew frustrated with that Blair Witchesk, shaky camera view. On the other hand, discomfort aside, it did add realism, and I am sure the frustration I felt was intended.I wanted to step back and see the scene. On the other hand, that is not what the producers wanted and I guess I must respect thier methods even if I didn’t feel comfortable with it perspective.

    There was the predictable discussoion of where this thing came from. I was delighted no end that nobody suggested that it was a freak brough about my nuclear weapons testing. The thing that gets me about all these monster movies is the invincibility of the monster. Perhaps creatures from other planets are armor plated but it never ceases to amaze me how much punishment they can take. Remember Godzilla. It was an organic creature of this earth. I don’t care how big or how mean it is, hit it with one 120mm tank round, and you’ll blow it to bits. The spiders couldn’t take it, why could the big guy?

  3. I saw the movie and i adored it.

    FIRST the rip off stuff, Blair witch will NOT be the only movie done with a hand held camera. They had the first ID bravo, now move on.

    The alien thing, Come on, the girl dies and we dont know why, you cant really link that to Alien. Yes the look is similar, but a reptile did NOT come out of the girl.

    I didnt see Godzilla, i didnt see Starship Troopers and many other.
    So for the rip off, cool down 🙂

    For the movie it was very good. First off, the end was MORE then excellent. (no spoolers here).
    The love story is normal, can i link you to the end again? Or maybe to the fact that the chick and him have been in love for ever (but they did it only once).

    I say the movie deserves a big 9/10 and i would be rude to say any less.
    Its full of realistic scenes, thief, marines/army. Even the monster himself is pretty hardcore.

    and for the things we dont know.

    I dont care if i dont know why the monster is there, where he comes from and why he destroys stuff randomly. Its done in a nice way and i can totaly take that.

    I dont care that i dont know how the strange girls dies. again not usefull info.
    I dont need to know why theres 8hrs of battery in the camera and 8hrs of footage AND a nightvison.

    The movie is very good and please go see it.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    Well, I’m glad you liked it. I was entertained, I just wished they fleshed a few more things out. To each their own though!

  5. Conrad says:

    I do not understand your review. You are essentially stating that if you had been directing the movie, you would have had the camerman, place the camcorder down and run away! That makes a lot of sense. People like forget that this is a movie. We are asked to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the ride. Is this movie flawed? Probably. I never have seen a camcorder with a 16 hour battery life. Yet, what does it matter? Please take some time and enjoy life a little and stop looking for the negative. If you want to write a review, please write one that makes some sense.

  6. Duane Storey says:

    No, I’m saying I probably wouldn’t have made the movie.

    Seriously, there have to be a lot of smart people in Hollywood. I don’t think I should have to ignore a pile of shitty writing to enjoy a movie. They should sit around the table a bit longer and find out a way not to have a 16 hour battery life. Just because you liked the movie doesn’t mean everyone else in the world should too.

    If you want to go through life pretending pink bunnies and the tooth fairy exist, you go right ahead.

  7. John says:

    “If you want to go through life pretending pink bunnies and the tooth fairy exist, you go right ahead.”

    Dude, I think you just coined a classic comment.

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