Cloverfield (2008) dir. Matt Reeves
Starring: Michael Stahl David, T.J. Miller, Odette Yustman
** in theatres
**1/2 on DVD
This serves as an amendment to my original theatrical review of the film.
Marshall McLuhan's statement, "The medium is the message" was never seemed more applicable than with "Cloverfield." After watching the film on DVD, as suspected, the film is a different experience on the small screen than the big screen. The nausea induced by the physical motion of the camera is certainly a difference, but since the film is designed as a 'reality-based' experience - as if "Cloverfield" was an unedited 'discovered' tape - such a discovery would likely be seen in people's homes on the small screen. In fact, it would likely be seen on an even smaller screen as pirated youtube clips or something, but the DVD experience is the best compromise.
"Cloverfield" looks better as well. According to the special features, the film appears to have been shot on an prosumer HDV camera - one that is designed to produce images primarily for high-definition television screens, not stadium seating-sized multiplex theatres. The predominantly dark nighttime images hold better on TV which makes the chaos of the characters' traumatic night in Manhattan now a crisp discernable and ironically beautiful series of images.
Is "Cloverfield" a different film now? Was my original review based purely on the medium it was presented in? Yes and no. I tacked on another half star because the exhilaration and pace of the film was more evident the second time around, but the film is still a frustrating example style over substance.
Click here, for my original review to contrast
Here's the teaser that started the hype: