SRP $29.99 1.85:1(16.9) Dolby Digital 5.1 PARAMOUNT

Unfairly compared to "THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT," "CLOVERFIELD" bares no resemblance to this other film, other than the fact that viewers are watching what's supposed to be discovered footage of a horrific event.  While "BLAIR WITCH PROJECT" had some genuinely creepy things going for it, "CLOVERFIELD" has the distinct advantage of being a "big" budget film in comparison, with "huge" effects, all of which are diminished, intentionally at times, due to limitations of the hand-held video camera supposedly recording events.  The plot revolves around friends gathering for a surprise going away party for a genuinely amiable fellow about to depart for a business opportunity in Japan.  Various, thin sub-plots emerge around this character and his friends. A recently lost love shows up with a new man for the party, others try to hook up, including the genuinely funny guy shooting most of the footage.  Suddenly, the party and New York landscape is jolted by huge rumblings, and as the startled partiers soon realize, as does the entire city, a monstrous entity is attacking the city.  Unfortunately, the weakest part of the film is the monster itself. Whenever a semi-decent view of it is given, it looks like a pre-historic dinosaur-like creature, apparently emerging from the river.  Much scarier and effective are the alien-esque entities that fall of the creature's back, inflicting decimating, horrifying ends to much of the population.  As the story unfolds, friends fight, make-up, and deal with losses, as the main figure embarks on a treacherous journey to try rescuing his trapped girlfriend from a collapsing apartment building on the other side of town.

There are some missed opportunities within the film, but there are more than enough surprises and entertaining moments to make "CLOVERFIELD" a film worth viewing and it doesn't lose its appeal even after several viewings.  Most surprisingly, the acting is first-rate!  Almost the entire cast give really outstanding performances, bringing a strong sense of reality to the events that could have easily seemed ridiculous.

PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement.  Intentionally trying to keep with its theme, the image is typically flat.  Colors are subdued, and contrast is adequate, with some scenes less than adequate for detail, as was the case with the theatrical presentation.

PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.  Although the aggressive, dynamic mix is at odds with what the hand-held camera should've been able to capture, it makes no difference to the audience, as it's so engaging, one doesn't have time to really criticize it for being "too" effective. Dialogue is always intelligible and the bass and surround effects are terrific throughout.

PARAMOUNT has included numerous extras, including:  a decent commentary with the director, several featurettes and mini-documentaries, and deleted scenes, including two alternate endings, neither of which really change the general conclusion.