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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cloverfield is the new Blairwitch



but in a good way. let me explain. i saw Cloverfield tonight.

Cloverfield is like Blairwitch w/ 3 million city dwellers instead of 3 forest campers.
let me back this up. i saw the teaser trailer (except the one with no title, no credits, no explanation, just this text: "1-18-08") in the theater back in July in front of the Transformers premiere screening. now then i knew something was up. you see, normally when you attend a movie premiere screening there are no trailers, ever. but this time we saw this. and the internet blew the freak up. what was that? is it a monster movie? is it voltron? is it rampage: the movie? is it godzilla? is it cthulhu? is it the stay puffed marshmallow man? is it parasite eve?! is it the killer bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? (this came later) wait a sec, isn't that the Bad Robot production marker? oh crap JJ Freaking Abrams is involved (you know that guy that did Felicity, ALIAS, Lost, MI-III to name a few)!!! but isn't he busy directing Star Trek: 0 (the reboot)? oh, he's the producer. is the title
1-18-08? Slusho? Monstrous? Cloverfield? Chocolate Outrage? welp weeks and months of fanboy and fangrrl speculation later and many valid and invalid viral website cluetrains later, here it is. it is almost 1-18-08. but holy crap. i get to see it on 1-15-08, thx to FOX50 (where's the love Shakefire?). okay so OperationOrange jumped on board as my +1, and we're off, giddy on months of speculation about the monster and the mysterious plot and the hand-held cinematography, yadda yadda yadda. meet for sushi for pre-show dinner? nope. we are getting in line early, because we want prime seating for this ride. so back to the original point. remember the big internet hype for blairwitch? the camcorder aesthetic? the pseudo-realism? the viral marketing? the tragic abrupt ending? yeah. cloverfield is like blairwitch in all the good ways.

i would like to disclaim that since mid-Nov-ish, i stopped reading, watching or seeking spoiler info for 1-18-08 or as the movie was titled, Cloverfield. i did watch the full trailer (and in HD yes!), but it doesn't spoil the big bad, so... here's my
10 bullet list format (soon to be famous ) post-premiere screening review. warning, turn away if you don't like some spoilers.
  1. Cloverfield is like Blairwitch w/ 3 million city dwellers instead of 3 campers in the forest. you see, the city is the forest. the monster-so-huge-you-can't-see-it is the ghost. the meta camera diary documentation because "people will want to see how it went down" is the reality. but i digress. didn't i cover that already? moving on.
  2. The battery life of this guy's camcorder is un-freaking-believable! if they would say which camcorder was used, that brand would sell a bunch of product. i'm just saying...
  3. The monster is... huge, alive, and it's winning. just kidding, but i'm not spoiling this for you folks going to see the film on 1-18-08. Yes, you do see the monster. But the scale and the way it's presented is really cool. go watch the movie, come back and discuss.
  4. The guy who plays the son named Marmaduke from Carpoolers on ABC (funny show btw, if you carpool) is a main character, HUD (get it?) and he is awesomely funny and great in this film. the whole movie is told through his POV and this is funny and refreshing and real, because it just works. He is saying what everyone in the audience is thinking and the other characters are annoyed and uncomfortable with this "documentating." you are HUD. The HUD is you. kudos.
  5. The girl who looks like Gwen Bell is the unrequited love interest of "guy who plays odd son from Carpoolers." it was not meant to be. "she was not even supposed to be here tonight." happy endings are not the order of the day a la "if you find this tape then it means you've already..."
  6. The city and the camera and "the group going about their everyday life but then..." is the star here. the handheld cinematography is carried through out the film to dramatic nauseating realism, as the movie is a recovered tape from the "Cloverfield" incident site. the fact that the movie is 60 min. in length is completely awesome and appropriate. And you will get dizzy.
  7. (ALIAS nerd alert) There are at least 2 references to the number 47 (a JJ Abrams magic #); one is the site designate reference at the front of the film and the other is the linger shot on the 47th floor of the building rescue segment.
  8. The flashbacks sprinkled in breaks from the first hand account segments on the tape really fill out the back story, plus add to the personal tragedy/love story. This entire movie is user created content. It is web2.0ishness in a movie.
  9. There are also pesky little monsters and they are bite. don't go in the dark. oh crap they went into the dark. with only a camcorder spotlight and night-vision mode. hilarity ensues.
  10. There is no clear cut ending. other than Operation Hammer Down. but i don't smell sequel. NYC central park is the site code-named "Cloverfield" by US DoD.

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