Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cloverfield directed by Matt Reeves

Cloverfield uses a similar technique as Blair Witch Project for it's narration with the point of view shot as seen from the character recording on the camera. However this was on an epic film scale rather than a documentary as this effect was rippled around Manhattan city as something was attacking it, making it more dramatic. The story began with a party scene as Hudson intended to film his brother's leaving party to mark the celebrated occasion, this opened the audience up to the characters earlier on depicting drama of relationships and everyday life. Hudson talked to different sets of people as the camera moved around the party to get an essence what they are like as people but disaster strikes with a sudden earthquake, which introduces the monster disaster. The camera movements representing Hudson are much more instinctive than in Blair Witch because the juddering and swaying only occur when character feels tremor of an earthquake or walking along a narrow pipe, suggesting this is through accident of the situation. "Technically, this is the closet a film has ever gotten to a roller-coaster ride. The camera work will definitely nauseate, it feels claustrophobic, there are sudden scares, and it also peaks too early. One more thing, it's over before you know it." (Bayer, 2011) The evidence shows how the movement of the camera and pace of the film are very fast to get the viewer to the action sequences, which only last a brief moment. The quick movements of the camera makes the space they are running around in feel very small as the creature destroys more of the city and gaining on them.

Figure 1, (2011), Cloverfield still of Point of view perspective of Hudson

The story mainly focuses on Hudson and the few characters that survive the collapsing flat as they run for survival from the creatures attacking the city. Hudson continues to film because it becomes necessary for him to leave a documented trace of what is invading the city and the struggle of survival. Unlike Blair Witch, the characters don't argue at each other out of fear but bond even closer as Rob and Hudson are brothers and the other characters are girlfriends or see the males as brothers so are more of a family unit wanted to protect each other. This shown in the scene where Marlena goes back to help Hudson from the smaller creatures with end up killing her as she becomes infected. "The filmmakers add to the realism by tapping into history, as they look of the monster attack is clearly informed by the Sept. 11 tragedy. The rolling balls of smoke and dust barrelling down Manhattan streets, the shell-shocked and dust covered New Yorkers walking around like zombies, the swirling storms of loose papers - this is, we can all testify, what an attack on New York looks like." (Scott, 2010) The evidence indicates how the effects of the monster attack in the film captured some of the devastation and surreal of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre. Focusing on the chaos of the destruction and leaving people in panic of the intense moment that is out of their control.

Figure 2, (2011), Cloverfield still of Marlena Diamond after attack and dying in medical facility

There were interesting editing techniques to make the impression of a digital camera recording more believable, which were flashback moments. The producers and editors struggled with the situation of how they were going to achieve the back story in a real time film as it had to be believable that they were shooting the event through the camera. The resolved effect was previous sections of film that remained after it was tapped over, which cleverly depicted little snippets of previous months before the devastation of Hudson, Rob, Beth and Lily out heading out. This also created irony between this situation and the one that was happening in the present because these snippets showed the characters happy and that they loved each other and bonded well as a group of friends which contrasts to the drama and realisation of the present where this group is slowly killed off through the course of the film and losing all they once had.

Figure 3, (2011), Cloverfield still of headless Statue of Liberty

The start of film reveals that the camera recording was found in Central Park so the audience knows straight away that somehow the camera has to end up there marking the end of the film, therefore when Rob and Beth are hiding under a bridge, the viewer knows their fate before the characters do losing some of the suspense that followed in previous sections of the film. The reveal of the monster also loses the suspense and fear theme that was stronger when the viewer was only given brief glimpses of it's shape as it was stomping around, creating havoc. The viewer gains a close up perspective of the creature just before Hudson dies, which strengthens the idea of recording the tape for the government so that they know what they are dealing with. "Indeed, the movie is all style and very little substance. Oh, there is a plot, but it's an intentionally familiar and simplistic one about a monster that attacks New York; and there are characters, but they are also familiar and almost the same as one another." (Puccio, 2011) This evidence signifies how the story is stereotyped as a typical disaster movie with a similar monster verses characters scenario even though most ideas came from Blair Witch Project which kept it's strength in suspense by not revealing the creature hunting them, however Hudson has the same intense need to record and leave behind a capsule of their experience and struggle as Heather did.

Figure 4, (2011), Cloverfield still of monster

 Figure 5, (2011), Cloverfield still of Rob and Beth in final scene


Figure 1, (2011), Cloverfield still of Point of view perspective of Hudson, @, Accessed on: 2011

Figure 2, (2011), Cloverfield still of Marlena Diamond after attack and dying in medical facility, @, Accessed on: 18th January 2008

Figure 3, (2011), Cloverfield still of headless Statue of Liberty, @, Accessed on: 2006

Figure 4, (2011), Cloverfield still of monster, @, Accessed on: 2011

Figure 5, (2011), Cloverfield still of Rob and Beth in final scene, @, Accessed on: 2006


Bayer Jeff, (2011), The Scorecard Film Reviews - Cloverfield, @, Accessed on: 27th August 2009

Puccio John, (2011), DVD town Blu-ray - Cloverfield, @, Accessed on: 3rd June 2008

Scott Mike, (2010), Buzz packing - Cloverfield a gimmicky but fun ride, @, Accessed on: 4th September 2009

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