'Cloverfield': Roundtable day one

Welcome to both our sparkling new Misfits of Sci-Fi blog, a project dear to my heart, and our first-ever Zap2it blog roundtable. I’m thrilled to be joined by Ryan McGee, whose writing (including Zap2it’s Guide to Lost) I’ve long admired; and Tamara Brooks, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the genre impressed even a longtime geek like me.
For the first roundtable, we’ll be tackling Cloverfield, the mystery-shrouded J.J. Abrams monster movie that opens Jan. 18. When I saw the first Cloverfield trailer (then not yet named), it was while hellaciously hung over at a Beverly Hills cinema, while preparing to see Transformers. (Important safety note: Transformers is not the movie to see when fast movement and loud noise cause waves of pain.) I initially dismissed the movie as a coming-of-age snorefest — as Abrams obviously intended with that cocktail-party opening — and then came the great honking roar and explosions and the Statue of Liberty’s head rolling down the street, and I was hooked.
What do we know? Well, a group of twentysomethings tries to survive when something monstrous attacks New York City. That’s awfully vague, which is why I initially heard the movie was everything from a stealth Godzilla sequel to a serious take on the old arcade game Rampage. What I do like is that the movie is told, so to speak, from the perspective of a handheld camera. That method makes frightening circumstances even more personal, I think, by bringing us down to the eye-level of the cannon fodder.
What I also like is the Web-based alternate reality game filling in some blanks about the monster. While it’s not to the level of AI‘s The Beast — and in fact can’t really be “played,” but just followed by those of us interested — the Slusho saga is giving us some neat glimpses at the whys of the movie. Ryan, you and I have exchanged plenty of e-mails about that.
Tamara, last I heard you hadn’t sipped from the Slusho, so to speak: Do you think that’ll detract from your enjoyment of the movie at all? Ryan, you’ve had some great theories connecting Cloverfield to Lost (another Abrams product). Are those out the window now? If not, how have your ideas evolved?

About Freshmaker