1-18-08: A Look Back At Cloverfield Five Years Later

Cloverfield It all started on July 4, 2007. Crowds filled the cinemas to see Michael Bay's Transformers. Finally, Optimus Prime and Megatron would go head-to-head in live action. After years of waiting, the lights finally dimmed. The crowds grew quiet in anticipation. Then, something happened. Something that no one was expecting. A trailer. Okay, everyone was expecting trailers. But not this one. It was a trailer for a movie without a name. The only thing people had to go on was the release date: 1-18-08. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvNkGm8mxiM Immediately, fanboys around the world began theorizing. But it wasn't just fanboys who were interested. Major media outlets were covering the mysterious trailer. No one knew what it was. And that ambiguity led to a ton of speculation. Was it a new Godzilla movie? Voltron? Power Rangers? But the men behind the movie, producer JJ Abrams, writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves, refused to comment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WcPvu5canE Over the next several months, viral marketing for the film took off. MySpace accounts for the characters were found. 1-18-08.com was launched soon after the trailer debuted. New pictures would appear on the site every week or two. Pictures of characters from the movie, Japanese sushi chefs and mutilated sea creatures washed up on shore. Eventually, it was discovered that the pictures could be flipped over and some of them had messages. JamieandTeddy.com also appeared online. Using the password "jllovesth" would give you access to a video blog from Jamie in New York to her boyfriend Teddy in Japan. They start out very innocent, but the final couple appear to play into the larger mythology of the movie universe. And through all of this, there was still no name for the movie. 1-18-08-new-pictures At the 2007 San Diego Comic Con, posters for the movie appeared. Some said Monstrous. Others said Furious. But no official title was announced and people continued to look for more clues. And they found them through sites like Slusho.jp and Tagruato.jp. On the Slusho site, you can read the history of the frozen drink which is made from a secret deep sea ingredient. And Tagruato is a deep sea drilling company that owns Slusho. Through that website, we learned of a drilling platform being destroyed under mysterious circumstances. Shortly thereafter, several news reports from around the world appeared on YouTube covering the incident. The most revealing footage coming from a cell phone video taken by a worker escaping the facility. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCTIgSmohe0 On November 16, a second full trailer was released and officially confirmed the title of Cloverfield. But this just opened up more speculation. What is Cloverfield? Was it a code name? What could it mean? As it turns out, Cloverfield is the name of the street that Bad Robot, the production company of the movie, is located. But it had to be more than that. Right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxqSIsxMlYQ And just like with every other piece of promotional material, this trailer was analyzed and dissected for any possible hints of what the creature was and where it came from. One of the most interesting things that came from the trailer was the idea of multiple monsters. It appeared as though there was a large monster and several smaller creatures. This would prove true when the movie finally came out on January 18, 2008. As you might be able to tell from this article, I was highly invested in this film. I visited all the viral sites, the fan sites and watched countless YouTube videos building up to the movie's release. When I went into the theater, I has the Slusho theme as my ringtone, the creature's roar as my SMS tone and a Cloverfield wallpaper. I was more excited for Cloverfield than just about any movie I had ever seen before or since. After six long months of rumors, speculation and theories, I finally sat down in a pack theater to watch a shaky cam monster movie that I knew very little about despite the build up. And I loved it. The characters were likable. The losses were emotional. And the monster action was awesome. Seeing a battalion of soldiers firing rocket launchers at a 350 foot tall monster while fighting off giant parasite creatures with machine guns while our heroes run through a decimated New York was amazing. One of the things that people latched on to with this film was the similarities to 9/11. There is a part early on in the attack when a giant dust cloud sweeps over a city street. That reminded me a lot of scenes from NYC on 9/11. But aside from that and the movie being set in New York, I was able to detach myself enough to enjoy the movie for the disaster film it is. After all, it had been 7 years since the terrorist attacks and life was returning to normal (or as normal as it will ever get). The only disappointment that I had with the movie was the lack of connection to the viral material. Jamie appears in one scene passed out on Rob's couch. There is no mention of Teddy, Slusho or Tagruato in the movie. But upon reflection, I'm okay with it. The movie works fine without that information and it helps to enhance my viewing of the movie. cloverfield911nc3 Shaky cam is always a scary prospect. Sometimes it is done well, but other times it will make you nauseous like you have just gotten off of a roller coaster. And while there were people who complained about Cloverfield's shaky cam, I did not mind it one bit. I never got lost and always knew what was going on. And the shaky cam actually helps intensify the mood and provides for one of the best moments of the film when Hud meet the monster. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocb7pXndlug Cloverfield opened big with a $40 million opening weekend and went on to make $170 million worldwide on a budget of $25 million. It added to JJ Abrams's already extensive resume of geek friendly work and launched the film careers of Matt Reeves (Let Me In) and Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods). And like every successful Hollywood film, the question became "When is the sequel coming?" In recent interviews, All three of the filmmakers have stated that they want to make a sequel. But with Abrams helming the Star Trek franchise and Matt Reeves taking over the Planet of the Apes series, Goddard is the only one with the open schedule. Will we ever see Cloverfield 2? Will the creature return? Only time will tell. clov2043008
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Samuel Moon is a geek. His passion for movies, TV, comic books, video games and Doctor Who knows no bounds. He is also an aspiring fiction author who is currently working on his first book of short stories. If he can overcome his chronic procrastination. Follow him on Twitter @Type40Blog or check out his site at Type40Blog.com!