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Cloverfield delivers thrills, suspense and surprises!
Just in case it wasn't obvious, the following review DOES contain spoilers. I strongly suggest you don't read on if you haven't seen the film, and you intend to.**
As did most people, I walked into Cloverfield with hardly a clue as to the plot of the film. First off, I would like to point out that the film's advertising was done extremely well - allowing viewers to guess what the plot was introduced them to one of the movie's main ideas. The film is shown from the perspective of five average New Yorkers, four of which hold a going-away party for their friend Rob on the evening of the attack on New York. Those five then fight for survival, escaping the giant monster and the little spidery creatures that come along with it - all documented on a camcorder. This gives the film's audience little idea as to exactly what is happening, exactly as the characters feel.
The cinematography is, as I mentioned before, done on a camcorder (or so the viewer suspects). It is very reminiscent of the Blair Witch Project, and some scenes (one in particular that comes towards the end in mind...) may give the viewer motion sickness. But this merely adds to the film's realism, and makes the film seem amateur - which makes you believe the visual effects even more.
I first heard about Cloverfield back when I saw Transformers, when the teaser appeared before the film. Back then it was untitled, and I was fairly unenthusiastic about the film. But when a friend told me about Cloverfield and showed me the teaser again a few months back, I got more and more excited - and today when I walked into the cinema I could barely contain it. Luckily, my expectations were met, possibly even surpassed, by the end of the film. It starts off generally low key, but the slow build up pays off when the main plot gets running. The build up also helps us to understand the characters more, so that development is not needed during the monster's rampages.
The monster itself is truly an amazing character in the film, as at first you expect it to be your classic Dinosaur-like creature when you see small glimpses of it as it claws its way through buildings at the start of the film. In fact, it is actually almost a good hour into the film before you can determine the monster's shape, and even then it is hard to tell what exactly it looks like. Hopefully on the DVD we get a documentary that shows CGI models.
(If you haven't seen the film and would like to find out for yourself what it looks like, don't read on).
Off the top of my memory, the monster has a round-ish face with fangs that are sort of reminiscent of the deep-sea fish that dwell in the darker portions of the ocean. It's front legs sprout forwards from the shoulder, a little bit like a spider, and the body gradually gets smaller until it finishes off with two (or one, I can;t remember all that well) legs and a long, slimy tail. (Spoiler warning) There are a few quite frightening up-close-and-personal shots of the monster, two in mind - once as it lunges forwards and takes down a helicopter, and again... well, I'll leave that one for you to see! The acting itself is quite good, especially considering they had to act while filming. It must be rather difficult to make a film if you're both the actor and the cameraman, and so I praise the cast - particularly T.J. Miller, who actually played the cameraman - for achieving the goal relatively realistically. The brief moments of silence in the film that are usually followed by the actors awakening from unconsciousness are actually quite tense, and these scenes are normally followed by some shocking images of small spidery creatures attacking or the giant monster lunging forwards and stepping on them, or something to the like of that. The film has some extremely shocking moments, although the one that I am bursting to write down is one that I will restrain from writing for those who haven't seen the film and yet who don't mind spoilers.
The lack of a soundtrack also adds to the film's reality, therefore increasing tension. Often you will find that in a lot of mediocre horror films tension is (sometimes) ruined by music, although it does depend on what kind of music, I suppose.
This is in no means a rip off of Godzilla. No way was it inspired by King Kong. Cloverfield is a relatively original piece of work; I will admit that the topic is one that is commonly used, although this film portrays that topic very well and with a majesty that I'm not sure will be easy to top. And the fact that the movie is only around 70 - 75 minutes adds to the frightening aspect of it - it shows how quickly everything happened. I really enjoyed Cloverfield, despite that fact that I was frightened to death by the end, and I intend to see it again soon. I recommend it for fans of films like Godzilla - although trust me, once you see this, you'll never want to watch the '98 Godzilla again.
Let the rampage begin...
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
PS2 version could have been better...
I recently rented this game for the PlayStation 2, because it was around $70 and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy it. At first, it seemed a little dull and boring, but as the game progressed I got more interested in the game and so I kept playing. It took me about 5 hours to complete the story, and the overall the game is quite good, but after Spider-Man 2 (and, in particular, Ultimate Spider-Man) I was hoping for better.
New York City is my first major complaint; the city is supposed to be bigger, but it felt small and unwelcoming. It was not very busy, and there were near to no noises in the background. Also, if you climb a tall skyscraper, the materials on the buildings further away disappeared, unlike Spider-Man 2. And it's not as accurate as the New York in Spider-Man 2, which wasn't entirely accurate, although this one is still a major disappointment compared to the SM2 one.
Swinging around New York is as fun as ever, and the Web Zip is more powerful in this game than in the last game. This means that if you are in a hurry for a mission, it will be helpful to zip around instead of swinging, because the swinging is slow and even the booster (which arrives at the end of your swing as you launch through the air) doesn't help much. This aside, the swinging looks very cool, and is in the same sort of style as Ultimate Spider-Man, where he moves with the web.
The story is roughly the same as the film's; Peter Parker/Spider-Man gets a black costume that makes him more powerful and aggressive. He tries to use his new powers the way he used to, but they take him over and so he must fight to control himself. Meanwhile, a new super villain, Sandman, is on the loose and it is up to Spider-Man to stop him. However, when the Black Suit gets to be too much power for Peter, he takes it off and it bonds with Eddie Brock, creating Venom.
This story is changed before the fights with Sandman, and so the main movie fights are not until the very end and don't take very long to complete. This is disappointing, as Sandman and Venom were two of the super villains I was most looking forward to fighting, and yet the only fights with them are exactly the same as in the movie - and less! The other super villains are the Lizard (which is fun as long as you don't keep dying, because then it gets rather boring) and Morbius/Shriek. Morbius and Shriek take up most of the story and make you wonder if you're ever going to get to Sandman and Venom, and I got a little confused when I read on the box "CHOOSE between 5 different story lines". In the end, this was a false statement; you can only follow the game, not choose any story lines, and I was a bit worried at first that I had accidentally chosen the wrong one! Basically, the Morbius/Shriek part of the game is not very fun, and takes up a lot of time. The only reason you'll want to play it is to get to Venom and Sandman, although those fights aren't everything you'd hope them to be either. Venom looks incredibly fat and isn't appealing to the eye at all (despite the fact that he's not SUPPOSED to - see the movie to see what the game creators were trying to make). The fights with him are long and difficult, and his taunts get very annoying after the hundredth time (and he repeats them about 50 times in one fight, so you end up playing the level, dying, and then repeating the level, which equals more annoying taunts).
The best parts of the game are the three Sandman fights, although even these are not all they're cracked up to be. Mostly you just repeat the same thing over and over again, and it doesn't seem very action-y.
I did enjoy this game mildly, though; the graphics were okay, and the boss fights weren't all too bad. I haven't yet played Spider-Man 3 for PC (which is a port of the Xbox 360 and PS3 version) but I am sure it is better than the PS2 version. I can, in a way, recommend this game, but only for the Sandman battles.
Great fun to watch, especially for budding filmmakers.
Being an enthusiastic filmmaker myself I was very anxious to watch these Production Diaries. I loved Peter Jackson's version of King Kong (along with the original movie), and I found these Production Diaries were everything I needed to find out how the incredible movie was brought to life. Although a bit on the long side, I found myself constantly enjoying Peter Jackson and co's humour and positivity. I loved finding out how the T-Rex fight was made and also the Brontosaurus Stampede.
However, there were downsides. I was quite anxious to see how they made a few of the scenes like the Spider Pit and the Empire State Building scene, and these were (I think) the only two scenes they didn't have. A scene where you have a thousand giant Weta jumping on to a character would be very hard to design, and I was a bit disappointed that they didn't include these scenes.
But anyway, I still enjoyed the DVD. Along with these, the second disc of King Kong contains the Post-Production diaries, so if you own either of these then get the other one quick to complete the collection.
And, for those that fell victim to the joke (I did) about "Son of Kong", there won't be a Son of Kong. That was an April Fools joke. Just warning you...
Extremely fun game!!
I got this on PC, although it was the first game I ever got on PS2. The controls on both platforms are very easy to get used to, and the game play style is totally unique. I love going from FPS to Third Person, from Jack to Kong, Kong to Jack, and so on. The graphics are very good, although the PC requires a very powerful graphics card in order to run the game. Still, I really love this game. It follows the story, maybe not the actual events, but it follows the story of the movie almost flawlessly and the levels are often heart-pounding and intense (the scariest level is "Brontosaurus", where there are about a hundred dinosaurs that will leap at you from any direction at any time). The Kong levels are truly inspiring, where you can go from breaking a V-Rex's jaws to smashing up Military Vehicles in New York City.
If you loved the movie, you should definitely get this game. It has all the major parts of the movie and even expands on the movie.