Each and every year, Hollywood reliably populates the planet with unfathomably hot women. Last year, it was Transformers star Megan Fox who found herself on the receiving end of your frantic Googling. In 2008, it's all about Cloverfield's Odette Yustman. Trust us, nobody has ever managed to look as hot fleeing a rampaging beast as this impossibly gorgeous 22-year-old. You know the drill - click the thumbnails for a closer inspection.
The sexy main event aside, there’s also the enigmatic monster. Following months of online speculation, we can exclusively reveal the following: it’s mean. And hungry. Lacking any real artistic ability ourselves, here’s a pair of vaguely accurate representations gleaned from the global trough of nerdy produce known as the internet. Not fazed? Try this.
Who? Michael Stahl-David (generic)
T.J Miller (overly whimsical)
Odette Yustman (angelic)
What’s it about? A monster - equivalent in size and temperament to a menstrual Godzilla - is attacking Manhattan. Even worse, it’s dropping Great Dane-sized parasitic bugs all over the city. Worse STILL? Both are fearsome and hungry enough to make Rambo, Chuck Norris and all of the Starship Troopers piss in their trousers. All of which spells an inconvenient end to generic middle-class New Yorker Rob Hawkins’ leaving do, and prompts a foolishly heroic cross-town mission to rescue the girl of his dreams.
What’s good about it? As clever and expensive as Cloverfield's marketing campaign was, no amount of nerd-baiting viral clips and enigmatic teaser websites can make up for a lacklustre result. Put simply, if JJ Abrams hadn't delivered the most innovative, exciting and genuinely terrifying movie of the year, he’d have had a fair few impolite emails to answer to. But thankfully, the Lost man has done it again, pulling off one of the most ambitious and talked-about projects in modern cinematic memory. And, dare we say it, practically flawlessly.
Arguably, Abrams’ biggest achievement is in Cloverfield’s controversial presentation. Though few of us will admit it, there's something genuinely exhilarating about experiencing the frenzied panic of massive-scale urban carnage first hand. Be it nature, al-Qaeda or monster inflicted, watching it on TV or reading about it in the newspaper simply doesn’t compare to the life-affirming thrill of actually being there. So for every man who secretly prays he’ll be around when the apocalypse comes to town, this is the next best thing. Far from detracting from the overall enjoyment, the hand-held shooting style renders the action at times uncomfortably realistic. Occasionally, the amateur camerawork puts you in the seat of theme park simulator ride, friendly manta rays and sea turtles swapped for a colossal, skyscraper-flattening beast.
What’s bad about it? Joining the elite ranks of modern day classics, this'll doubtlessly be remade by some nasal, trust-funded film school nerd in fifty years time and unapologetically butchered to bloody pieces.
Verdict: While calling it the best film of the year so far isn’t exactly saying much, we’d be surprised if 2008 delivered anything more intensely gripping, brilliantly original or downright enjoyable as Abrams’ monster-mash. Hell, we’d arch an eyebrow if something better came along this decade. See it. Now.