Sunday, January 20, 2008
48 Hours later.
First, as an exclusive entity unto itself, this film is a poetic (and perhaps the most direct) reflection of our collective feelings as a nation on the morning of September 11, 2001 and the resonating tone of the years since. Cloverfield feels like a dream one might have while their subconscious struggles to understand the craziness of these modern times while expressing it's utter sense of victimization: "There's a monster coming to get us and we are helpless to escape!"
Now - forgetting all that artsy-fartsy stuff. It certainly didn't live up to the buzz in and of itself, but after seeing the movie, I have reason to believe that the Cloverfield hype may not die down so easily.
Prior to the screening, I had read online that there was something that was worth staying through the credits for, so I kept myself and my five other friends hanging around an extra ten minutes or so (and apparently, about another fifth of the crowd was also tipped off and stayed to the end) only to hear some garbled audio noise for a moment before the Paramount logo came up (at which point, all those still in attendance released a collective moan of disappointment and went home).
But today, I looked it up online and there was actually something pretty significant to that garbled noise. What's cool about this is that J.J. Abrams and company decided not to reveal that special treat right then and there in the theater, but only a small piece of the puzzle to take home with us - as a collective movie-going public - to decipher at home with our computers.
I also read that many viewers caught a hidden little "Easter Egg" at the very last shot in the movie which had gone totally unnoticed by me and all my friends. This automatically made me want to watch the movie again and if I had money to burn, I probably would just to see it myself.
Therefore, I think we may be in for sequels or some sort of off-shoot from this story as buzz and inevitable questions arise. This is a movie that leaves you asking more questions rather than answering them all in a convenient little 90-minute package, like most formulaic films do. Like a drug-addict whose become tolerant to the active ingredient as a result of over-exposure, today's movie-going audience no longer reacts to the same old tricks the way they once did. The language of film is always changing, but never more rapidly than this generation - what has been referred to as the MySpace Generation (or more accurately, perhaps in this case, the YouTube Generation). We now have become acclimatized to getting our stories through first-person "reality" camcorder points of view - or the "Blair Witch" style of presentation. Abrams knows this and utilizes it to put the viewer right in the middle of the action. And with this cutting-edge generation, we have found countless new ways to obtain information.
Abrams knows this, as well.
With his use of the "viral marketing" approach and using the internet to blur the lines of reality and fantasy (for both Cloverfield and his hit show, LOST), Abrams seems to be of the mind that his story has the potential to be told through multiple mediums. Perhaps, like LOST, Cloverfield is only one (albeit, probably the largest) piece of a larger pie that could conceivably be called, simply: "The Monster Story". He uses MySpace pages of fictional characters and canon video blogs from another character (who never even appears in the film itself) to make them seem very real. He brilliantly denies the film a title in the initial trailers - and even then, gives it a name that means absolutely nothing. ("Cloverfield" is an exit off the Santa Monica freeway and a street where is located one of the production facilities that produced the film. Nothing more.)
So, although the film itself can't live up to the surrounding chatter, it seems that the real star here is the buzz itself and is supported by this little record-breaking movie starring no one we know and a monster to whom we still haven't been properly introduced.
I say: Go see it, unless you're totally unwilling to be a nerd and get in on the internet frenzy.