Category Archives: 1-18-08

Godzilla Meets Blair Witch


It’s 1-18-08, and Cloverfield is finally here, and my initial impression is ‘Godzilla meets Blair Witch,’ and that’s a good thing. The flick combines the best elements of each concept.

The beauty of this film was really before it even opened. The ability to keep a secret -the image of the monster, as well as the plot- such big secrets in this internet age, especially when much of the hype was generated via the internet (mostly through an ARG), is a frigging miracle.

First off, dispelling rumors that have at this point been long dispelled, at least by folks who are online. It’s not Godzilla. Like I’ve been telling everyone who’s asked, their resident G-fan, it’s not Godzilla. It’s just not. Toho has the meanest and most litigious lawyers on the planet and there’s no way they’re letting Americans near their baby any time soon.

It’s also not Cthulhu, even though most of the Lovecraftian mythos is in the public domain, and as much as I’d like to see some of those wonderful dark creatures onscreen using some CGI – it’s just not. Although, based on the hype, maybe J.J. Abrams could be convinced to do so in the future.

And thank god it’s not Godzilla, because then I can let my radar down, and not worry about what has been changed or trashed regarding one of my favorite properties. Even though it’s not Godzilla, I’m still a hardcore kaiju eiga fan so I had to see this. Been waiting on this bad boy for months, and I was not disappointed.

The film revolves around a giant monster attack on New York City and rather than take the traditional path, the tale is told using a portable hand-held camcorder in the midst of the destruction. This gives a traumatic and horrific, up close and personal edge to the events. And of course will probably be responsible for multiple cases of motion sickness in theatres on a worldwide scale, but no worries, I predict folks will be so engaged by the flick they won’t notice.

The characters are pretty simple cookie cutter fare and a subtle but simple love story lies beneath the action as Rob has to rescue Beth from monster central. Over and above that I have to pick T.J. Miller as Hud, the voice behind the camera for most of the movie, and his unrequited crush Marlena, played by Lizzy Caplan as the clear breakout stars here. The real humor, beauty and pizazz of the flick lie with them, and the monster of course.

I loved this movie, and was so glad that a film with such hype actually turned out to be worth it. Get to the theatre early for the Star Trek teaser (also by Abrams) and stay ’til the end credits to hear the luscious Akira Ifukube-inspired score by Michael Giacchino.

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The Mystery of Cloverfield

Yep, more YouTube goodness. Anyone who checked out the Transformers movie earlier this summer got to see an interesting trailer/teaser that has come to be called “Cloverfield.”

The flick, alternately called “Cloverfield” and “1-18-08,” is the brain child of J.J. Abrams. Name sound familiar? It should. Abrams is the force behind the “Lost” TV series and he will soon be helping Paramount relaunch their “Star Trek” franchise. The writer of this project is an Abrams buddy from “Lost” and the directer was seasoned on “Felicity.” I’m really not sure what that says.

“Cloverfield” appears to be about a giant monster attack on New York City, but done with a new twist. That twist would be the use of portable cameras and pone to record the action, and yes, I see the ghost of The Blair Witch Project hiding over there by the stairs too.

As a huge Godzilla fan, I should nip some major speculation in the bud right now. It’s not Godzilla. The rights to that character are held by Toho and Sony, neither of whom have anything to do with this project. Other speculation does sound intriguing however, as I’ve also heard talk of the ‘monster’ being H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, which, unlike Godzilla, is in the public domain. Done right, that would rock.

There is also the very real possibility we wouldn’t see (or get a name for) the ‘monster’ at all. “Cloverfield” could be a human story about people coping with disaster, but of course, that would be anywhere near as much fun as a giant monster.

Well, there it is, only time will tell now. It’s set for a January 2008 release. Wait and see.