Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
|Featuring:||Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman|
|Producer:||J.J. Abrams—“Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Lost”, “Alias”
“Some thing has found us”
While standing in line to buy my ticket, there were numerous warnings about the movie “Cloverfield” taped to the ticket windows:
“Due to the filming method used for ‘Cloverfield,’ guests viewing this film may experience side effects associated within motion sickness similar to riding a roller coaster.”
A roller coaster is an understatement. The movie’s jagged movements required me to close my eyes on several occasions. There was much hype about this film due to its shrouded secrecy. By the time I found out the secret, I couldn’t have cared less; I felt nauseous and annoyed.
“Cloverfield” is a movie that involves video segments shot with a handheld camera. The entire movie is shown from this perspective and follows four characters trying to survive when New York City gets attacked by a mysterious monster. The movie begins with some text stating that the videotape being played is now classified material and contains footage from the location that was once known as Central Park. The disaster’s codename is “Cloverfield.”
The film begins with Rob (a promising Michael Stahl-David) happily recording Beth (a beautiful Odette Yustman) as they plan on spending the day together. The film suddenly cuts to a month later where Rob’s brother Jason (Mike Vogel) and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), are planning on throwing Rob a surprise going-away party. It turns out Rob received a job as a vice president in Japan. During the party, Rob’s best friend Hudson “Hud” (TJ Miller) takes over camera duty. He goes around the party having people wish Rob luck. Hud soon focuses his attentions on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) and tries to initiate conversation with her. When Beth finally arrives at the party with a date, there is instant tension between her and Rob. After having a heated discussion, Beth soon leaves, while Rob confides in his friend that he loves Beth. Not much is spoken before New York City is suddenly attacked by a mysterious creature. The four characters run for their lives in this highly suspenseful movie.
The movie is not original in its making. The writers combined the concept of an animal attacking a large city (“Godzilla,” “King Kong”) and a shaky handheld camera (“The Blair Witch Project”) to create “Cloverfield.” Unlike “The Blair Witch Project,” the monster is shown. I’ll not give away any details of the monster, allowing that secret to remain. However, I will say that director Matt Reeves gives the viewer only glimpses of the beast before his full emergence. It heightens curiosity, and the movie’s special effects are very convincing and effective.
The camera movements were quite annoying at times. Even at the beginning, when there was no monster, Jason did not seem to know how to tell if a camera is on or off. We fall victim to his constant movements. When Hud becomes the new camera guy, we’re shown lots of feet, shaking, and chaos. The camera movements were mostly realistic in this film. The cinematography was excellent in making sure there were no lapses. Despite the staggering movements, the movie does nicely flow in nonstop action.
From beginning to end, “Cloverfield” has a lot of moral filth. The movie begins with Rob waking Beth up in his bed. It is obvious she is nude (only her back is shown). Within the same scene, Rob is shown in his boxers, implying pre-marital sex. This is confirmed at Rob’s going-away party when Hud overhears Beth and Rob discussing it. Upon hearing it, Hud immediately begins to gossip and tell numerous people about their having sexual relations. One girl comments that maybe its Rob’s “going-away present” from Beth. Rob later justifies his having sex with Beth as a “spur of the moment” decision. Sex in this movie is shown as a casual event between unmarried persons and a fun topic of gossip. I did like how their sexual encounter only created negative results. In the beginning of the movie, they found temporary pleasure in their sin. A month later, Beth and Rob were still dealing with the consequences.
At the going-away party, the scenes were teeming with alcoholic consumption. It leaves no room for imagination. Almost all of the characters, in every scene, are holding beers in their hands. In several scenes, the vast array of liquors and beers are shown at the bar area and on tables. There are also many people taking liquor shots in the background. Hud, the camera man, zooms in on a girl presumably passed out on the couch. Not surprisingly, she’s holding a beer in her hand.
Among the most offensive content in this film is its profanity and using the Lord’s name in vain. They are uttered in almost every scene, and I had trouble keeping count. The film seemed to love using sh*t. I counted at least 27 uses. I also heard at least one GD. I cringed when I heard the misuse of the Lord’s name. “Oh, my God” was used without reservation throughout the film. It seems Hollywood cannot think of a better saying to show surprise or fear. In that regard, this movie lacked originality and had its characters bell it out in almost unbroken repetition. I counted at least 29 times of this misuse. The name of Jesus was also misused at least 7 times. I, however, do not doubt that there were many more. It was hard to count because many scenes involved loud commotion and chaos. It would have been nice if they actually were crying out to God. This movie, however, never made any references to God or his sovereignty.
The blood and gore in this movie is intense. I usually have a some tolerance against gore, and I found myself getting a bit squeamish while watching “Cloverfield.” The movie shrewdly avoided an R-rating, for never remaining on a scene too long. However, it lingered long enough to get a reaction from the crowd of teenagers in the movie theatre. When one of the characters got bitten by a spider-like creature, Hud apparently took pleasure in zooming in on the deep gash. A man who had his gut ripped open was shown and zoomed in on. One of the most disturbing scenes was when one of the characters said she wasn’t feeling well. When the camera turned to her, she was horridly pale and bleeding from her eyes. The nurses quickly shouted something and pushed her into a tent, as she screamed. Upon entering the tent, she promptly exploded, an alien coming out of her. Her blood massively splattered on the tent. Although the actual explosion was not visually shown, the lighting allowed for the shadow to show everything on the wall of the tent. I found this very disturbing and gruesome. When one of the characters was impaled by a metal rod, the others lifted her up. The actual removal is not shown, the camera only showed her legs as she was lifted off of the rod. However, it was still mentally disturbing when she screamed in pain.
With a monster attacking a city, one would expect much violence. The movie attendant warned that the movie was extremely loud. Her warning was not unfounded. This movie had more than its share of violence. There was a lot of gunfire and bombing, as the military tried to subdue the animal. In return, the monster viciously attacked the city, helicopters, and humans. Murders took place on screen. Spider-like creatures viciously attacked the main characters in an intense and scary scene.
Looting was also shown. Instead of robbing for survival, these thieves had entirely selfish reasons. They were robbing an electronics store. Some could be seen carrying out TVs on their shoulders. Rob did steal a battery in desperation in order to re-establish contact with Beth. I did not find this offensive since he was genuinely concerned about Beth’s safety.
Amidst all of the chaos, blood, cursing and gore, the movie did have a couple of surprisingly good themes: self-sacrifice and love. After the monster first attacked the city, Rob immediately tried calling Beth. When she finally answered, Rob knew she was in trouble. She sounded in pain and said she couldn’t move. Without a second thought, Rob decided to go and save her. His friends ran after him. A powerful scene was when Rob was running the opposite direction of all of the terrified people. He never seemed deterred that he was the only one running back into the city. Against all possible odds, Rob was determined to save the woman he loved. Rob could have left the city and saved himself. This reminded me how Jesus went through excruciating pain at the cross bearing the sins all of mankind. He could have called angels to help him, but he never did. He loves us that much.
When his friends finally caught up with Rob, they agreed to help him find Beth. They were putting their lives on the line for Rob and for Beth. It reminded me of the verse in the book of John when Jesus says in 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay one’s life for his friends” (NKJV).
They were never selfish, despite being in a panic and in a literal life or death situation.
Although the movie’s special effects and self-sacrificial themes were strong, I cannot recommend the film. The bloody, gory path the viewer is required to take isn’t worth it. It left me feeling queasy and unfulfilled. However, if you have a high tolerance for the hearing our Lord’s name in vain and a strong stomach against motion sickness, you might want to go see it. However, I strongly feel this movie is definitely not suited for children of any age. The theater I sat in embodied mostly teens. They reacted with disgust in almost every climatic scene. Children are a gift from God and should be raised holy. There is nothing holy or uplifting about this movie. My advice? Hop on that roller coaster and avoid this movie.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.