Cloverfield (2008) appears to me as a commentary on terrorism and appreciation. The original teaser from around a year ago made me very curious about this upcoming movie. I wondered if it was secretly the next American Godzilla film, as the teaser trailer revealed so little of the creature causing so much trouble in the film. My later guess, weeks before the release of the movie, was that it was a commentary on terrorism. I started to convince myself that audiences would only see as much of the creature as is shown in the teaser, leaving them to wonder if there was even a creature at all. I figured this movie would focus on the reactions of the citizens of Manhattan. The teaser reveals the head of the Statue of Liberty crashing through buildings and coming to a stop on the street before the camera. Who or what would knock the block off of Lady Liberty?
What exemplifies terror more than an unknown enemy? What enemy is more frightening than one whose motives, origins, and existence are a complete mystery, even to our government?
What will be the reaction of the people of the tri-state area who were in or around Manhattan on 11 September 2001? Does the wholesale destruction of New York City landmarks, generally seen as American icons, pull at their hearts and minds? Have people refused to see this film as they may have World Trade Center in 2006? As a native Long Islander with my ability to let myself become involved in the story cause me to ponder the implications of this movie every day since I saw it last Friday night? And what are the reactions of those in middle America, who voted for Bush in 2004 because of terror, when New Yorkers voted for Kerry?
The pathos of this movie is strong and made me almost as tense as I Am Legend (2007), during which Manhattan (and, as it turns out, much of the world) is depopulated with the exception of a man and his dog and something else... Is there a reason behind the recent release of several movies that showcase New York City devastated by ignorance, fear, and the unknown? Are our greatest threats external or internal? Can we survive terrorism in all its forms: the "other," science, governmental cloak and dagger, smoke and mirrors? Are guns and bombs effective weapons against an intangible enemy that terror is? The answer to that last question is, no. Terror cannot be fought with more terror. It takes something more. Perhaps understanding on all sides.
I was told my interpretation of the movie possibly says more about me, than about the intentions of Long Island born director Matt Reeves. What do you think?
These is mention of a sequel on IMDB (the Internet Movie Database). I hope this is false. It seems unlikely that a sequel can add impact to this movie. In most cases sequels to such films have only taken away from the depth of movies like Cloverfield. I'll be most surprised if anything more can be accomplished with a sequel, besides box office and video sales.
Cloverfield: Don't let your fear the unknown keep you from telling your loved ones how you feel, because soon it may be too late.