Quarantine Retrospective: Cloverfield

I have never understood why people are so stupid in Cloverfield, yet I watch it all the time, or at least the first 35 minutes. If the concept of common sense was applied in the universe of this film, would have ended right at that point, but it didn’t.

Paramount Pictures

Let’s rewind, if you don’t know the backstory of this 2008 ‘classic’, a giant monster rises from the seas and begins attacking New York City. A group of people are having a goodbye party for their friend who has accepted a new job in Japan. During the party, the monster attacks and all hell breaks loose in Lower Manhattan.

Fireballs begins raining from the sky, the head of the statue of liberty is ripped off and thrown into residential neighborhoods. A giant creature begins destroying the city and destroys the Brooklyn Bridge in the process. People are panicking, the military is combating, and our heroes decide to make one of the pound for pound dumbest decisions in the history of cinema.

Paramount Pictures

During the early stages of the attack, Rob discovers that Beth, a girl he slept with once and broke up with shortly after is trapped in Central Park, the heart of the city and decides to travel Manhattan on foot to save her, while a Godzilla villain is attacking the city.

 Now while it is easy to write Rob off as a…

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The turning point of the film is where Rob, who just saw his brother killed by the monster, tells his friends not to follow him and tells them to leave with the military while he goes to save Beth alone.

The average person in this situation would have:

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Rob’s group of friends decide to follow him and save Beth as a team…Spoiler Alert, only one person survives and it isn’t Beth, the person they all attempted to save in the first place.

There are many reasons why this decision is fascinating to me. First off, the idea of risking my life to save someone who wasn’t even my girlfriend at the beginning of the conflict is the biggest gap in logic the film has.

Save my Wife? Sure

Save my kids? Absolutely

Save my girlfriend? You pushing it…

Save a girl I kinda have a crush on…

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Everyone should have jumped on the Holland Tunnel and GTFO within 30 minutes, everyone lives and watched the havoc safely from New Jersey. One dumb character decision is one thing but there are three people who went with him, why?

Lily? She was dating his brother who had just died about 15 minutes earlier, there would definitive be an conflict of not wanting to lose your boyfriend and his brother on the same night but you are in a no win situation so why pick certain doom?

Paramount Pictures

Hud? Rob’s best friend. The conflict here of not wanting your BFF to get killed but that doesn’t mean you want to get killed with him. But since Hud is holding the camera, he had no choice but to run into town like Captain America with no superpowers.

Marlena? Her decision makes the least amount of sense. She barely knows Rob, she hated Hud, and is only causal friends with Lily. If anyone should have peaced the f***out, it was her.

The ending of this film only solidifies what a horrible choice these guys made. After the film’s release, J. J. Abrams confirmed to audiences that the military killed the creature at the end of the film when it was bombed.

Paramount Pictures

This was his answer years before the Cloverfield prequels ever became a thought in anyone’s minds so i’m not accepting the new revisionist history that 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox created. This means had the group taken not one but TWO  golden opportunities to be saved by the military, they all would have lived.

Beth was dead no matter what they did, the idea of four civilians finding and saving someone in the middle of a monster attack is just asinine on all levels. Watching our heroes die one by one with no sympathy as they blew multiple chances of surviving is why I can never rate this film highly.






It is here, I think about, what happened to the smart party goers who got out? What happened to the group of individuals who fled Manhattan right away and survived? Sure it wouldn’t have made for as exciting as a film but it would made an interesting vantage point within the film’s universe, someday maybe.



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5 thoughts on “Quarantine Retrospective: Cloverfield

  1. Everyone should have jumped on the Holland Tunnel and GTFO within 30 minutes, everyone lives and watched the havoc safely from New Jersey.

    That was the version of the Drew Goddard script that didn’t make to Abram’s desk because it had no tension or peril. Also, since this was Abrams, the script also absolutely required incomprehensible character motivations and never paid off hooks because that’s Abram’s crappy MO.

  2. It would’ve made a lot more sense if the plot had been about the group trying to get out of the city together, rather than risking their lives to save one person Saving Private Ryan-style. Then these people wouldn’t be dying unnecessarily, it would be pure do-or-die. They could still have the same conflicts about which direction is the safest way to go, for example, their choices would’ve just seemed less boneheaded. That said, I still dig this movie for how intense, scary and atmospheric a ride it was. Also, Rob and Beth’s deaths were not confirmed at the end, so there’s a chance they survived, which would’ve at least made Hud’s and Marlena’s deaths somewhat worth it.

    1. While not confirmed, considering that JJ claims the monster was killed by the final attack at the end of the movie, it would be highly unlikely that Rob and Beth survived the same blast given how close they were to the strike.

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