It seems like yesterday when the infamous J.J. Abrams produced Cloverfield stomped its way into theaters back in 2008 and thrilled audiences while also making quite a few of them sick/nauseated due to the “shaky camera” technique used in the film that seemed to be popular back then. Now ten years later the movie finally gets the 4K HDR treatment which makes it look and sound better than ever. While it has its flaws to be sure, it’s a great “dumb fun” sci-fi thriller for any who watch.
Starting off with the United States Department of Defense finding a camcorder in a destroyed Central Park in New York, we’re treated to video footage from some time ago that sees Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and his girlfriend Beth (Odette Yustman) waking up after spending the night together and making plans to go to Coney Island later. The video skips ahead a few weeks to a party featuring the two of them, Jason (Mike Vogel) Rob’s brother and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), and another friend named Hud (T.J. Miller) who is recording the event. They’re throwing a farewell party for Rob who is moving to Japan, but in the middle of it Rob and Beth have a fight that causes her to leave which is followed by an earthquake that causes the power goes out. When they decide to go outside and see what’s happening, they’re all shocked and terrified too see a giant monster smashing its way through the city while also shedding off dog-sized parasites who infect people and cause them to explode. What follows is a freaky and frantic thrill ride as the band of friends do their best to survive this horror and make their way to Beth which they learn is trapped in a building after getting a call from her.
Despite the paper-thin plot that’s also a bit wacky, I still loved watching Cloverfield as I’m a sucker for giant monster movies. And that’s what pulls me in every time I watch, the monster and how they did a perfect job of showing it off with brief glimpses, and how it’s more so acting like a scared child that doesn’t know where it is and why versus just being a monster stereotype and attacking just for the heck of it. I’m willing to bet they could’ve just made the movie be about the monster and military trying to fight it, and it would’ve been a way better film. But I understand they wanted/needed a human element to the movie, though it would’ve been nice to have had some that weren’t so dense. Anyways, I’m glad I got to see this in 4K UHD with HDR, and it looks even better than when I saw it nearly ten years ago. The Dolby HD audio is also perfect, as this is the first time I’ve been able to not only see the movie again for the first time, but feel it as well thanks to the booming bass of the monster moving around and other action sounds.
There’s also some special features to go through once the chaos ends, starting with audio commentary by director Matt Reeves who goes into how he and J.J. Abrams came up with the film, how they brought it to life, and so on. All of the special features from the old Blu-ray and DVD releases make their way here as well, such as the “Making of Cloverfield” which goes further into the making of the film, “Cloverfield Visual Effects” which covers the amazing special effects of the creature, the parasites, filming CG shots of New York and more. “I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge!” is a fun and short extra that talks about the monster, it’s biological makeup, intentions/motivations, and more, there’s a few “Deleted Scenes” and “Alternate Endings” which both feature optional director’s commentary and give viewers an interesting look of what could’ve been, and lastly “Clover Fun” shows off some funny outtakes which I’m always a huge fan of when it comes to special features.
As I did back when it was released, I highly recommend Cloverfield to any who enjoy giant monster movies or just good old fashioned “dumb fun” flicks. It’s flawed to be sure, thanks in part to the dense lead characters, but the monster itself and following it through the movie alone makes it worth watching for sure. Make it look and sound better thanks to a great 4K treatment, toss in some fun and interesting extras, and you have a monster of a movie to add to your collection.