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The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: Cloverfield

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Cloverfield
Rated PG-13
2008

The monster looked like a monkey, a crab, a whale, a squid, an eel. It could squat and be as wide as the block it was about to level. It could stand and tower skyscrapers it was about to topple. This big beast squeezed the Big Apple to its core.

The creature in 2008’s “Cloverfield” resembled every animal and no animal at once — classifiable only as a behemoth your brain might conjure in REM sleep. This hard-to-shake story of a bone-crushing apocalyptic attack tapped into primal fears of twisting, shifting nightmares, down to how our lives’ details metaphorically inform them.

Using a handheld-camera structure to place us inside the punishment, “Cloverfield” achieves realism without the burden of resembling reality. The creature has no mercy, motive or explanation for existing, but it receives full attention and new-media fascination from those it terrorizes.

Unfortunately, those without gigantic TVs, Blu-ray players and 5.1 lossless-surround systems can’t appreciate “Cloverfield” at its maximum scope — as large and loud as possible. Handheld, yes. YouTubed, no. One subway-tunnel confrontation echoes the dark, claustrophobic tension of “Aliens,” and a building climb turns strenuously exertive.

The 9/11-esque dusting of New York proves a cheap tonal misstep, and an opening epigram threatens not to tip the movie’s hat, but remove it altogether. But these minor aftershocks can’t crumble a mammoth movie that’s unapologetically B, but also a thrilling, exhausting tale of an incomprehensibly horrible beast crafted in H.P. Lovecraft’s remorseless style.

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9 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: Cloverfield”

  1. […] Wilson’s War Cherish Chicago Chicken Run Children of Men Cinderella Man City of God Closer Cloverfield Collateral The Constant Gardener Constantine Control Control […]

  2. […] co-writer / director Drew Goddard (“Cloverfield”), Whedon has essentially presented a proficient, but strangely passionless, plea that’s […]

  3. […] I’m not against it if it adds to the story and is used in a new situation. For example, I thought “Cloverfield” was great and the shaky camera was pertinent to the story. The same goes for “Paranormal […]

  4. […] those other oft-shouted comparisons to “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” or “Cloverfield” (a natural and maybe even kind of lazy choice given it was “Super 8″ director JJ […]

  5. […] is such a breath of fresh air. You take one part monster movie and one part found footage, you get “Cloverfield.” Two parts horror and one part comedy, you get a classic like “An American Werewolf in London.” […]

  6. […] in Toothless’s eye than in most films altogether, and the creature is a chummier version of the “Cloverfield” creature as he’s a panther, bunny, duck, cat, dog, bat, whale, newt, bird and dragon all at […]

  7. Ashley Zakutansky says:

    I loved this movie. Everyone I spoke to said that they disliked it but I truly enjoyed it. I’m surprised it made it on to your best movies list. I like this site even more now!!

  8. […] knocks off so many alien-invasion films you can hear the Strauses’ commentary referring to the “Cloverfield” moment, the “District 9” moment. (The Strauses didn’t write the screenplay. They left that to […]