Cloverfield (2008) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Mystery / Science Fiction
Paramount || PG13 - 85 minutes - $39.99 || June 3, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-06-01


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer(s): Drew Goddard (written by)
Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman


Theatrical Release Date: January 18, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Special Investigations Mode (BD Exclusive)
  • Director's Commentary
  • Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield
  • Cloverfield Visual Effects
  • I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge!
  • Clover Fun
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Endings


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

From visionary producer J.J. Abrams (Lost) and director Matt Reeves comes the worldwide sensation of nonstop terror and suspense everyone is talking about.

Cloverfield starts off with Lily (Jessica Lucas), her boyfriend Jason (Mike Vogel), Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) and our "camera man" Hud (T.J. Miller) that decide to throw a party for a friend of theirs, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) who is going away to Japan on a business trip. As the party continues Beth (Odette Yustman) shows up with her current boy-toy. We quickly come to the understanding that Beth and Rob were at one point lovers and still remain friends. After an argument Beth storms out and leaves while Rob goes to sulk on his porch with his friends. Within moments the TrueHD audio track kicks in and we are immersed into a world where a gigantic creature is attacking Manhattan and killing everything and everyone that lies in its path.

The atmosphere of the movie is incredible. Due to the way it is being shown to us, you feel exactly like you are running around Manhattan away from this gigantic creature and its many spider-like creatures. Itís unfortunate that we don't get a longer look at the creature (or even its origins) but I'm sure a sequel is on its way.

The only real problem I had with the film is I didn't have an emotional connection to any of the characters. While some of these people have emotional connections to each other (lovers, brothers, or simply a slight chance of creating a relationship) when one is killed, it simply does not matter. The only character that appears to show any emotion is Rob, but even that only last for a few minutes. I found myself more often than not rooting for the monster hoping he would pick them off one by one.

Cloverfield is an incredibly hard film to review for me. While I enjoyed it immensely, I don't know if itís something I can watch again. The film incorporates almost non-stop camera shaking moments (think The Blair Witch Project x10). For 95% of the film we are seeing exactly what Hud (which is funny since HUD means Heads-Up Display) wants us to see. Whether that be the monster, the Statue of Liberty's head on the street, or in some circumstances, just plain nothing. While I appreciate the lengths the film makers went to make this seem more "real", I would have preferred a few more still scenes.

That's not to say the camera is shacking the entire time. Several times through the film we are given breaks, where the camera is either still, or very close to it. This gives us the ability to re-focus our eyes and take a breather from the action going on. Within the first 15-20 minutes of the film I was getting very close to simply turning the film off. I found myself getting nauseous and a bit dizzy. Itís no wonder there were signs posted when Cloverfield went to theaters warning movie-goers of what is to come. After the 20 minute mark my eyes seemed to adjust and while I was still feeling a few signs of discomfort, I was able to watch the whole movie from beginning to end without issues.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD. This Blu-ray release brings over all the special features present on the previously released DVD as well as a Blu-ray exclusive feature. It's worth noting that there is a very neat "Cloverfield - New Secrets Revealed" security sticker present. I went ahead and peeled mine off (very carefully) and applied it to the spine of the Blu-ray. Looks very neat and a nice touch Paramount!

Special Investigations Mode - A very nifty feature Paramount cooked up for this Blu-ray release. What this does is shrink the film to around 35% of its original size and pushes it to the upper right hand side of the screen. On the left portion of the screen is a map of Manhattan the shows us colored dots depending where the Humans, Military and Monster is. On the bottom portion of the screen is various factoids. While I did enjoy this feature, its not very interactive and simply gives us another way to watch the film. I will say it made watching the film a lot easier since you can focus your eyes at other things when the movie becomes too shaky. **BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE**

Commentary by Director Matt Reeves - A very interesting commentary with Matt Reeves being the lone duck. While I enjoyed it and found it very informative it could have been better if there was involvement from J.J. Abrams or some of the cast. Document of 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield (28:16) - A great documentary that shows us some of issues Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams had with the film. A lot of stuff was new to me, like how the film was fairly top secret.

Cloverfield Visual Effects (22:29) - All 10 of the different effects used in the film are presented here. A lot of post production stuff was added in that I would have never known about.

I Saw It! Its Alive! Its Huge! (5:49) - A short, yet interesting look at how the monster was made.

Clover Fun (3:56) - Don't be fooled, this is a gag reel.

Deleted Scenes (3:25) - Here we are presented with four deleted scenes that were cut from the film. While I enjoyed some them, I am not sorry to see these go. Some are mere seconds that amount to nothing. Presented with or without commentary.

Alternate Endings (4:29) - I don't know if you can really call these alternate endings. Itís the same thing that happened in the Theatrical cut, but with a slight change to the film stock inside the camera from Rob and Beth's day at the fair. Presented with or without commentary.





.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Cloverfield is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio of 1.85:1 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 50GB disc. Itís hard to really judge the film due the camera techniques and the way it was filmed. Since most of the film takes place through the eyes of HUD (who is using F23 HD Camera by Sony), we are often greeted with several instances of grain and lighting issues. Then in other scenes, itís completely HD and looks great. Taking all of this into account, I think the film shows more HD than anything else and when viewing the monster, you can tell right away its HD.

Paramount brings to us a Dolby 5.1 TrueHD track as well as your standard Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, French and Spanish. Demo Material. That's all you really need to know. The TrueHD track is spectacular in every way possible. You will hear everything around you, and that combined with the way the film is, really makes you feel like you are actually in Manhattan running around in this madness. If I had to pick a favorite scene it would be in the tunnels where our characters encounter the Spider-like creatures. Their little clicking sounds are amazing.



.::OVERALL::.

Paramount comes back to Blu-ray in a big way. Not only is the video quality nice, but the TrueHD track is something spectacular. A decent smattering of special features makes this a great purchase if you are a fan of monster films. While I had issues with the shaky camera, itís something I did get use to after a bit of time. If you don't think you can handle it, by all means rent this first.

Note: Images do not represent the true picture quality of the film. Also, picture and audio ratings are on a high-def scale.