I was very excited to finally watch this movie, which generated quite a bit of interest leading up to its release date, mostly because of the secrecy behind it (not much was known, except what could be garnered from the teaser poster or the cryptic trailer) and because his producer was the very prolific and innovative J.J. Abrams, creator of, among others, the revolutionary show Lost, which I love.
In the time since, I've found out that Cloverfield is the code name for a monster that attacks New York City (what do monsters have against poor old NYC anyway?!) and that a bunch of twenty-somethings try to survive such attack.
That's pretty much the movie in a nutshell, from its very slow (and boring) beginning to its frantic end. Evidently, the director's intent was to slowly build our expectations about what was going to happen -- he wanted to get us in a frenzy. He meant to feed us little to nothing for a while so that we'd get hungry for something, and when that something finally arrived, we'd gourge ourselves. It's been done before, but with better results.
Here, we are introduced to a bunch of upper-middle class juveniles at a party for one of them who's leaving the country for a business opportunity, and we're let in on the fact that there are some matters-of-the-heart that have not been fully resolved. Supposedly, this will make us care for them more.
It doesn't. I don't really give a damn about any of those kids (actually, the two brothers are quite cute, but I'm digressing ... ). All I care about is seeing the big, bad monster, watching in horror while he unleashes its destructive power on the city and its inhabitants, and wondering on the edge of my seat whether it will survive and run away (an inevitability in order to have the mandatory sequel) or if it will be terminated. Well, I guess I was also waiting for the moment our "heroes" started dying off.
Two other gimmicks employed by the director to make the movie more interesting, the romantic flashbacks from the tape already in the camera and the shaky (read, realistic) camera work, didn't increase my appreciation level one iota.
Overall, I can't say the movie is totally unsatisfying, but it's an empty satisfaction, too fleetingly gone to be really enjoyable.