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Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.

Cloverfield
CLOVERFIELD 2008
Bad Robot / Paramount Pictures
Rated: USA: PG-13


READ THE REVIEW

I won't give any spoilers out here, fear not, but I will say that, Holy crap! J. J. Abrams and his crew are the ONLY people in Hollywood who actually freaking get it! They understand what the Big Horror monster movie is about! They understand what fans of kaiju want! You DON'T explain your monster (Why TREMORS 2 crashed despite the success of TREMORS). You DON'T make your monster misunderstood and cute (Why SON OF KONG, both KING KONG remakes, subsequent GAMERA remakes, and all GODZILLA movies featuring Godzilla Jr., deservedly crashed and burned - long may their filmstock deteriorate in cinema hell!). You Make A Vicious Killing Machine On An Inexplicable Rampage! The people are the innocent victims dying undeserved deaths.

Thank you J. J. Abrams! Now just do something about that overly shakey camera (I understand that it is supposed to be handheld, but before the halfway mark, it becomes a gimmick).

One way of marketing is the mysterious, cagey approach, and few have worked it better than Producer J. J. Abrams (ALIAS [TV], LOST [TV]) for his upcoming film, CLOVERFIELD. Well, some call it Cloverfield, but the latest poster calls it MONSTROUS. All we know so far is that it is a Big Horror giant monster movie. But reports are coming in from all over and we also have some video.

The official websites 01-18-08.

Official Ukraine site: Cloverfield.co.ua.

Official France site: Cloverfield.fr.

Stats and trivia at IMDb.com.

TAGRUATO - Exploring our world, ensuring your future.

Since July and the San Diego Comic-Con, there has been talk of a secondary campaign that ties into CLOVERFIELD. The idea here is this may explain why a giant monster is attacking. SLUSHO! is a fictional new drink from Japan and delivered in convenience stores very much like Slurpees, Icees or Slurm. Like Slurm, it has a secret ingredient, mysteriously called "Seabed's Nectar". Common to monster movies is the theme that the varmint is attacking because someone took a female's eggs or babies. This story idea is so common that it has run through TV shows on everything from STAR TREK to Futurama and way more. It was the idea behind the giant monster that attacked London in GORGO and the T-Rex in LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK. So it's possible that, at some point in the movie, someone will say, "OMG! SLUSHO! is PEOPLE BABY MONSTERS! I hope the movie is better than that, though.

I also hope the movie will be better than, "OMG! DRINKING SLUSHO! TURNS YOU INTO A GIANT MONSTER! THIS MONSTER IS THE INVENTOR OF SLUSHO! O!M!G!"

Worse would be another ALIEN deal where drinking SLUSHO! (you can't drink just six!) makes you birth a monster. Hollywood has been too keen on this for the last few years with Stephen King's DREAMCATCHER and Stephen King's THE MIST, both of which had monsters born from humans. Both of which tanked horribly.

Of course, THE worst would be that CLOVERFIELD aka MONSTROUS would be still another Hollywood Anti-America Preachstock. But I give JJ Abrams & crew credit for more intelligence and sense (the two don't always go together) than the drug-befuddled studio dregs of Hollywood.

There is also talk going around that this may be a Lovecrat style monster, like Cthulhu. I've been trying to give credit where credit is due by searching for the first person to bring this up, but I can't find a "Blogger 1", type. And that said, when it comes to folks posting on message boards, I have no way of determining if someone is real or a Paramount marketing plant stoking rumor. Where the Lovecrat idea germinates from, however, is the release date of the movie, 01-18-08 (U.S. dating system). In Revelations 1-18 it is written:
I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.*

Which is very much like Lovecraft's Cthulhu:
"That is not dead which can eternal lie: And with strange aeons even death may die."
and
'In His House at R'lyeh Dead Cthulhu waits dreaming,
yet He shall rise and His kingdom shall cover the Earth.'


... Though I'm pretty sure that Lovecraft came after the Bible. Then again, who can tell with that raving mad Arab writing his unspeakable prose?

*Thanks James.

Of course, no matter what you do, someone is going to have a problem with it.
slusho.org.
Slusho, described as his username of the past five years (and who knows?), believes that CLOVERFIELD is a remake of THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. Then again, even HE could be part of the viral ad campaign.

CLOVERFIELD: REINVENTING THE MONSTER MOVIE
Tara DiLullo Bennett tracks down Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Blank and Lead Creature Designer Neville Page to get the scoop on the monster hit, CLOVERFIELD.
By Tara DiLullo Bennett
From the moment a mysterious little teaser attached to TRANSFORMERS hit theaters last July, an Internet obsession was born. Name-less and featuring no recognizable stars, the minute-and-a-half tease started out by slowly fleshing out the basic concept of a movie shot hand-held featuring some attractive twenty-somethings throwing a goodbye party for a friend. It was all rather Felicity-like until the tease kicked into overdrive with a Manhattan explosion and the head of the Statue of Liberty rocketing onto the streets of Brooklyn. That money shot alone was powerful enough to send fanboys flocking to the web for answers.

Continued at VFXWorld.com.

Get more coverage from this and other sources at /CloverfieldNews.


LAist INTERVIEW: Matt Reeves, Director of Cloverfield
Legions of curious fans have been waiting for January 18, 2008 for months. Many comb for clues online and speculate about every detail. LAist spent an afternoon with the director, Matt Reeves. We asked him to spill some juicy details about the film (including what the title really means), about his longtime friendship with J.J. Abrams, and to describe the wild ride that is Cloverfield.

Continued at LAist.com

Cloverfield

SCARE FILMS USE 'BLAIR WITCH PLAYBOOK
For 'Cloverfield' and 'Paranormal' less is more
By Anne Thompson
'Cloverfield' features no-name actors and was shot with small digital cameras.

One is a big-budget monster-movie crammed with visual effects. The other is a microbudget haunted house film that has been making the fest rounds. But both "Cloverfield" and "Paranormal Activity" borrow admiringly from the "Blair Witch" playbook: Make your pic as real as possible by casting unknowns who can improvise. Eschew the gore, and scare auds with a homevideo documentary style. And build suspense by not showing everything.

Continued at Variety.



THE FIRST MONSTER HIT OF 2008
The trailer sparked a blogging frenzy - Christopher Goodwin on the mystery film from the creator of Lost that's got everybody talking
The first sighting came in cinemas in summer: a trailer that ran in July, before the movie Transformers. Since subjected to more online analysis than a Baudrillard text in a post-structuralism doctoral class, it begins with what looks like rough home-movie video footage of a surprise party in a New York loft for a young man named Rob. The shaky handheld camera skirts round the party, where various good-looking people in their mid- twenties chat about Rob, who is about to leave for Japan.
Continued at TimesOnline.co.uk.


CLOVERFIELD

American movies don't have enough giant monsters and that's a crying shame. Japanese cinema has them up the ying-yang. They even have a specific name for the genre, kaijū, which translates to "strange beast" or "monster" if you want to be anal.
Continued at Review-Crew.com.

CLOVERFIELD MARKETING GETS WEIRDER
by Erik Davis
Don't get me wrong, I love a film that makes me want to drop several tabs of acid, but some of this Cloverfield marketing is a little too odd. Bunch of kids running around Manhattan, trying to escape from a monster? Okay, I get that. This whole Slusho thing? No idea.
Continued at Cinematical.com.

At any rate, what can't be denied is the success of the campaign. It's got us all talking and taking our minds - for the moment - off of... other things.

Why It Might Be Good:
Writer Drew Goddard has long been JJ Abrams partner in crime on everything from ALIAS to LOST. Whatever he brings to the table as a writer, he and JJ will likely be on the same page. Rounding out this triumverat is Producer Bryan Burk. All three of these men have worked together on successful projects throughout this decade. What's more, they've brought on board a team they feel comfortable with including Cinematographer Michael Bonvillian (Bond Villian? Is that a cool name or what?) and Special Effects Director Josh Hakian (BLADE, HATCHET, PULSE).


Why It Might Be Bad:

Nothing comes to mind. Well okay, it's Paramount, but otherwise nothing comes to mind.
UPDATE: The SLUSHO! online ad campaign. It's all very Fruity Oaty bar, but SERENITY never used it for an ad campaign (or did they?!? No,they didn't.). It was one thing when they were handing out free SLUSHO! T-Shirts at comic conventions back in July (when slusho.org was purchased on July 10) but their latest viral campaign feels like the marketing is trying to be too cute, cloy, and clever for its own good. Such dreaded three "C"s I haven't seen since the ad campaign for the Americanized GODZILLA (1999), and we all know what happened to that.

Wild Card:
Director Matt Reeves has never established himself as being a particularly good or bad director or writer, but he did work with Producer Bryan Burk in 1993 on FUTURE SHOCK. That might make him perfectly malleable as a producer's tool for JJ Abrams.

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