The plot of Cloverfield follows the friends of family of Robert Hawkins (Micheal Stahl-David) as they throw a going away party for him as he has accepted a job promotion in Japan. Filmed entirely from a first person perspective by his brother Jason (Mike Vogel) and his best friend Hud Platt (T.J. Miller), they also capture some tension between Rob and his long-time friend Beth MacIntyre (Odette Yustman). After they have a bit of a fight and Beth storms off with her date, Rob feels terrible about it and before he can try to fix it a giant creature attacks the city. Unwilling to find the "off" switch for the camera, Hud captures the carnage of New York under seige and their battle for survival.
The cast gets rounded up by the military.
Watching the film, I figured that it was simply shot on location in New York with the creature and damaged buildings added on top of existing buildings via CGI. Nope. There were a few shots filmed on location in New York with a couple of scenes filmed in Los Angelas and the rest filmed on sound stages with green screen filling the cityscape backdrop. However, these shots were so well done that it feels like your smackdab in the middle of New York City when "it" arrives.
Speaking of "It..."
You're probably wondering where this creature comes from. Well, according to the manga tie-in Cloverfield/Kishin, Clover is an undersea life form that was discovered by the fictional drilling company Tagruato. However, the Kinshin story spirals into stuff that's so out of left field that it is not considered canon to the film. Producer J.J. Abrams has denied that the creature is an alien, saying the item crashing into the sea at the end of the film is a Chimpanzill satellite, added into the film as a nod to those who followed the viral marketing.
As if Clover wasn't enough, it also has these parasites that fall off of the creature and attack the people of New York. They're about the size of a wolf and their bite is extremely fatal, causing the chest cavities of their victims to expand and burst, as Marlena finds out firsthand. While Clover himself is in the film more than the parasites are, it is his smaller counterparts that provide more of the "BOO" moments in the story and they make them count, despite the fact that the CGI may not hold up as well as Clover's.
My face when Tim Hortons doesn't have my favorite donut...
Check back in a little bit as we only have two more entries in the blog to go before the Godzilla review. Next up will be director Gareth Edwards' Monsters, the project that helped him land the director's chair for Godzilla.