'Cloverfield': I can't handle the truth!

Cloverfieldstatue_240 So here we are, just about a week away from the release of Cloverfield. And after a week’s worth of entertaining roundtable discussion, I confess to not have one ounce of extra knowledge about what I’ll be seeing in the theatres. And Andy…Tamara…lemmee tell ya, this is a great thing. A great thing indeed.

People often complain about Earth-JJ not providing a whole lot of concrete answers, as if the answers themselves are what’s important. I’m not sure that the three of us identifying the identity of the monster is the point of this exercise anymore than it’s the point of the movie. From what I’ve gathered from trailers and commercials is that Cloverfield is a story about a group of friends trying to survive a situation they don’t understand. Slusho and off-shore drilling companies are not what’s crucial to this movie being a success in my eyes.

Furthermore, over-explanation potentially ruins this film. Anyone remember the alien in M. Night’s Signs? Good Lord. That was horrible. I was truly terrified of it when it was a gleam in Mel Gibson’s knife, but seeing it full on brought of fits of laughter I hadn’t experienced since Requiem for a Dream. (That Marlon Wayans…he always makes me laugh!) I’m pretty sure I want to walk out of the film not knowing the true nature of the monster itself. THAT would take a fairly established genre and turn it on its head, no?

I have similar feelings about the smoke monster in Lost: I’m pretty sure that when the day of reckoning comes and we finally get a definitive answer as to its nature, we’ll all be a bit let down. Not because I think the show will give a horrible answer, but because that element of mystery will soon be gone. Think about the rush to "explain" Rimbaldi: you can chalk part of the disappointment up to Alias feeling the need to wrap up the mythology once the show was cancelled, but you can also chalk quite a bit of it to once and for all learning his end-game.

Does this let Earth-JJ off the hook from ever providing satisfactory conclusions to its stories? Course not. But "providing answers" and "providing satisfactory conclusions" are two different things. They can be mutually inclusive, but they can exist in separate spheres as well. What I am looking for in Cloverfield is the latter, not the former. If I get that, I’ll walk out of the theatre happy. If I get an emotionless one-trick pony of a movie during which I learn that the monster is a ‘roided-up seabass, well, you can color me disappointed. I want a story with a beginning, middle, and end. I don’t want the aquatic version of Roger Clemens looking for reporters who claim he injected Slusho into his buttocks while playing for the Yankees.

What about you two? What are you hoping for when the lights dim and shakey-cam commences?

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