Paramount Pictures (2008)
Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
In Collection
Seen ItNo
IMDB   7.0
85 mins USA / English
BLU-RAY  Region 1   PG-13
Lizzy Caplan Marlena
Jessica Lucas Lily
T.J. Miller Hud
Michael Stahl-David Rob Hawkins
Mike Vogel Jason Hawkins
Odette Yustman Beth McIntyre
Anjul Nigam Bodega Cashier
Margot Farley Jenn
Theo Rossi Antonio
Brian Klugman Charlie
Lizzy Caplan Marlena Diamond
Jessica Lucas Lily Ford
Matt Reeves
Producer J.J. Abrams
Dave Baronoff
Bryan Burk
Guy Riedel
Writer Drew Goddard
Cinematography Michael Bonvillain

Producer J.J. Abrams teams with writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves for this frenetic tale of a powerful destructive force that descends upon New York City, and the four desperate people who put their lives on the line to embark on a perilous rescue mission. Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) is a young American professional who has recently been offered a coveted new job in Japan. Eager to send his older sibling off in style, Rob's younger brother, Jason (Mike Vogel), and his girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas), organize a surprise going-away party to take place the night before Rob boards his Eastern-bound flight. As the party gets underway, Rob's longtime friend and current love interest, Beth (Odette Yustman), shows up with another man as the dejected guest of honor's best-pal Hud (T.J. Miller) encourages partygoer Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) to wish him an on-camera farewell despite the fact that they barely know one another. Moments after Beth storms out following a bitter skirmish with Rob, the entire New York City skyline goes dark. Power is quickly restored, prompting partygoers to turn their attention toward the news, where they learn that a freight tanker has been overturned in New York Harbor. Racing to the rooftop in hopes of getting a better look at the situation, the group is terrified to witness a massive explosion that rains debris across midtown Manhattan, causing mass chaos and unparalleled destruction. But the worst is yet to come, because it soon becomes apparent that this is not the work of a terrorist or an act of war, but a massive creature beyond human comprehension. Now, as the military moves in and the streets of New York City become a virtual war zone, Rob, Lily, Marlena, and Hud race to rescue Beth and get out of the city before the powers that be unleash the ultimate weapon of mass destruction on one of the most populated cities on the planet.
Edition Details
Edition Blu-Ray
Distributor Paramount
Release Date 6/3/2008
Packaging HD Case
Screen Ratio 2.35:1
Subtitles English; French; Portuguese; Spanish
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Discs/Tapes 1
Personal Details
Purchase Date 6/19/2008
Owner Thomas Eisenmann
Store Amazon
Purchase Price $19.99
Condition Excellent
Links Hi-Def Digest Reviewed
Movie Collector Core

Special Investigation Mode: Enhanced Viewing Mode With GPS Tracker, Creature Radar, Military Intelligence and more!
Commentary By Director Matt Reeves
Document 01.18.08: The Making Of Colverfield
Cloverfield Visual Effects
I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge!
Clover Fun
Deleted Scenes
Alternate Endings
User Defined
Anamophic Yes
Reviewed Hi-Def Digest Reviewed
Bit Rate 1509 KB
Digital UV Purchased
Digital Copy Claimed Yes
Digital Format HDX
VUDU Purchase Price 0
Disk Type BLU-RAY
Digital Source UV
VUDU Export Yes
New Verified Yes
UV Export Yes
UV Verified Yes
Download to WEB Yes

High-Def Review
Cloverfield (Blu-ray)
Paramount Home Entertainment / 2008 / 84 Minutes / Rated PG-13
Street Date: June 03, 2008
List Price: $39.99 (Buy it at Amazon and save)
Overall Grade

Bottom Line Recommended
Reviewed by Kenneth S. Brown
Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

In 1998, Hollywood attempted to revive a classic Japanese monster and deliver citywide devastation to the cinematic masses. Unfortunately, Roland Emmerich’s 'Godzilla' was the result of their efforts. Loaded with paper-thin characters, comical disaster sequences, and a relatively harmless monster, this monumental failure left a sour taste in the mouth of audiences across the world. It would take Hollywood nearly ten years to unleash another destructive lizard on New York City, this time in the form of a cryptic beastie. A viral marketing campaign for the enigmatic 'Cloverfield' appeared without warning, offering salivating creature-feature fans glimpses of massive destruction left in the path of... something.

Told entirely from the perspective of a single handheld video camera, ‘Cloverfield’ follows a pack of young New Yorkers scrambling to survive the assault of an enormous creature. The newly-formed band of survivors includes a businessman named Rob (Michael Stahl-David), his best friend and camera-toting pal Hud (T.J. Miller), his brother Jason (Mike Vogel), Jason’s girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), and a resident red-shirt named Marlena (Lizzy Caplan). After witnessing the vast devastation left by the monster with their own eyes, the group frantically tries to escape the city. However, when Rob gets a desperate call from his ex-flame Beth (Odette Yustman), he decides to turn back and try to rescue her before it’s too late.

'Cloverfield' could have been awful. Its handheld camera gimmick could have devolved into a repetitive stunt, its characters could have been stale caricatures, and its story could have been underdeveloped and flimsy. Thankfully, producer J.J. Abrams and rookie film director Matt Reeves seemed to have anticipated these potential problems since they address each one early in the film. Rob’s birthday party provides the perfect framework for the logistics of the handheld documentation of the attack, a series of farewell messages to Rob allow the filmmakers to introduce characters without unnatural exposition, and Rob’s unrelenting love for a girl he can’t have allows his character to run into danger instead of away from it. I was thoroughly pleased with the connection I felt to the characters and their struggles. Deaths felt more personal than I expected, and the crumbling city sent chills down my spine.

It doesn’t hurt that the cinematography is fantastic. Don’t be fooled into assuming the film’s handheld perspective will limit the impact of the story -- each shot has been carefully plotted to generate palpable tension and entertaining thrills. Glimpses of the monster are fleeting and -- as a result -- startling. The beast appears to be literally larger-than-life because we initially can’t see its entire form from our position on the ground. Adding even greater dimension to the film is the filmmakers’ convincing vision of a ruined city. Glass falls like rain, skyscrapers shatter violently and topple to the ground, and ominous billows of smoke pour through each city block. The imagery is immediately evocative of September 11th and its similarities are played to great effect without feeling gratuitous. All in all, Reeves and Abrams know how to create atmosphere and they do so with increasing intensity at every turn.

If I have any major complaint it’s with the behemoth itself. The ‘Cloverfield’ monster was shrouded in secrecy for so long that I really began to believe I was going to see something I had never seen before -- something so indescribably bizarre and Lovecraftian in nature that its mere appearance would turn my hair white. In retrospect, I suppose I feel victim to the inevitable consequence of hype. When the film reaches its climactic conclusion, a peek at the entire beast in the morning sun struck me as funny, undermining the anxiety Reeves and Abrams had spent an hour-and-a-half lodging in my gut. I hate to say it, but the creature instantly reminded me of the pale monstrosity that made its awkward debut in 'Alien: Resurrection.'

Regardless of my expectations, I was captivated by 'Cloverfield's unwaveringly bleak tone, its cast of fairly compelling characters, and its stunning special effects. Best of all, I laughed, squirmed in my seat, and exhaled sharply on more than one occasion. 'Cloverfield' may not reinvent the genre wheel, but it offers everything Roland Emmerich’s ‘Godzilla’ failed to deliver ten years ago.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

The moment I walked out of the theater back in January, I began to wonder how 'Cloverfield' would handle the transition to high-def disc. Honestly, I imagined a blurry, noisy mess akin to ’28 Days Later,’ a sub-par release that failed to provide a substantial upgrade over its standard DVD counterpart. I certainly didn’t expect a sharp and attractive transfer that renders every shard of rubble with a level of care afforded to the best BD titles on the market.

Presented with a striking 1080p/VC-1 transfer, 'Cloverfield' looks wonderful. The film’s undersaturated palette isn’t meant to explode off the screen, but the image is blessed with strong primaries and incredibly natural skintones. The orange haze of fire and the yellow smear of streetlights look especially remarkable, giving each scene a distinct (yet consistent) tone. Black levels may be slightly uneven at times (the tunnel scenes falter a bit), but dark expanses and shadows are deep and well-delineated throughout the majority of the film. Better still, the level of fine object defies the conventions of the film’s camcorder gimmick and produces a series of astonishing textures and crisp edges. Sure, there are intentional bursts of static and softness littered throughout the production, but these irregularities always register as enhancements to the tone of the film rather than distractions from the picture quality. Best of all, there isn’t any edge enhancement, major crushing, or significant artifacting to be found. There are light swarms of source noise in the darkest scenes, but nothing that undermines the overall quality of the transfer.

If any relative charge can be leveled against this transfer it’s that it doesn’t pack quite the same wow factor as glossier Blu-ray releases. As it stands, this gritty creature-feature isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen crash across my screen, but it genuinely shattered my expectations. Considering its filmmakers worked overtime to make it look like something captured on a handheld camera, this Blu-ray presentation of 'Cloverfield' is an impressive sight to behold.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

’Cloverfield’ may look great in high definition, but it sounds even better. Paramount has mastered a reference-quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that perfectly captures the authority and resonance of the film’s theatrical presentation. First and foremost, the actors’ lines are crisp and clean despite intentional alterations to their vocal timbre (the filmmakers have intentionally processed the dialogue to sound as if it’s been captured on a camcorder). More importantly, prioritization is flawless even when deafening chaos realistically overwhelms key elements of the soundfield. Crowd screams are suddenly muffled any time a room-shaking roar or building collapse floods the soundscape. In these moments, outstanding LFE support left me in sheer awe of the nuanced low-end pulses pouring from my subwoofer. To top it all off, my rear speakers were constantly brimming with effects neatly linked to every object on the screen, regardless of its size or significance.

Even from a technical perspective, I had a hard time finding fault with 'Cloverfield’s audio. The underground subway attack exhibits perfect channel pans, the bridge collapse features extraordinary directionality, and the high-rise climb showcases delicate acoustics and absorbing effects. Ambiance takes such a central and pervasive role in the film that I can’t think of a single moment where I was reminded I was watching a movie -- the soundfield was so involving that I remained fully immersed in the film from beginning to end. I hesitate to make such definitive declarations about a title, but 'Cloverfield' unquestionably boasts one of the strongest audio tracks I’ve heard all year.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

This Blu-ray edition of 'Cloverfield' packs in all of the special features that appear on the standard DVD. presented here in high definition. But that's not all -- this edition also includes a substantial Blu-ray exclusive (discussed in the next section).

Director’s Commentary -- Matt Reeves sits down to talk about the origins of 'Cloverfield,' the locations for the shoot, the stylistic direction of the cinematography, and the extent of producer J.J. Abrams involvement in the project. I was happy to find the former television director to be refreshingly candid throughout the proceedings, discussing everything fans of the film would find valuable withoutspending too much time on the technical aspects of the special effects. While this track probably won’t win over anyone who didn’t enjoy the film, it’s definitely worth a listen.

The Making of Cloverfield (HD, 28 minutes) -- This dry featurette is the first ina collection of peices that explore the production of 'Cloverfield.' Focusing on the cast and crew, producer J.J. Abrams, and the extensive sets and locations used in the film, this one uses interviews and behind-the-scenes footage to deliver a fairly standard EPK.

Cloverfield Visual Effects (HD, 23 minutes) -- This second featurette gives a complete overview of the Cloverfield beastie, the CG-enhanced destruction of New York, the creature’s miniature spawn, and the effects used to highlight the feel of the handheld camera. I appreciated all of the information in this peice, but I particularly enjoyed that it showed the cast and crew working to make the effects more realistic through their performances.

I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge! (HD, 6 minutes) -- This all-too-brief featurette focuses on the design of the Cloverfield monster, its history as a character, and its on-screen biology and motivations.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3 minutes) -- Presented with optional director’s commentary, the four bland cuts featured in this collection wouldn’t have added much to the final film.

Alternate Endings (HD, 5 minutes) -- The deleted scenes may be a bust, but the two alternate endings are a blast. They’ll certainly give fans something to debate until the inevitable sequel makes its way to theaters. Like the regular cuts, the alternate endings are also presented with optional director’s commentary.

Clover Fun (HD, 4 minutes) -- A decent series of outtakes.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

Rather than tossing together a standard trivia track, Paramount gives us a Blu-ray exclusive "Special Investigation Mode" -- a PiP feature of sorts that will intrigue fans looking to dig through the film yet again. While the film plays in a smaller window, the rest of the screen is devoted to a map that tracks the movements of the civilians, military personnel, and the monster over the course of the attack. At the same time, factoids about the locations, characters, and creatures pop up and fill in quite a few details that aren’t covered elsewhere on the disc. It may sound like a mundane exclusive (and I'm generally not a fan of trivia tracks), but I actually had a good time with this one.

Easter Eggs

No easter eggs reported for 'Cloverfield' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.

Final Thoughts

’Cloverfield’ may not live up to everyone’s expectations, but I really enjoyed its ambition, atmosphere, and characters. Regardless of your opinion of the film itself, Paramount has definitely made its return to Blu-ray in style. This BD edition of ‘Cloverfield’ offers fans a surprisingly strong video transfer that easily outclasses the standard DVD, a reference-quality TrueHD audio track, and a thorough collection of supplements. An easy recommend all around.