I Have Not Seen Cloverfield
So, what am I here to say about Cloverfield, now? This is not about how I feel that the motivated home video aspect is a silly gimmick, though I do think that. I'm actually pissed off at what I deem (despite not having seen the film) to be a relative tastelessness in it.
Minor spoiler alert (yes, even though I haven't seen it)
The first thing I saw regarding this film was the teaser trailer months ago. You know, the one where the Statue of Liberty's head crashes down into the street. And I actually thought it was a cool image, and liked the idea of it.
Next I saw the teaser poster, which picked up on the headless statue motif:
Fair enough. That's a cool looking image, and Manhattan burning in the background is not bad either. But what didn't become clear to me until I recently saw the full-width billboard of the image, was what part of Manhattan was on fire. Look:
That is not the best shot of the billboard, so in case it is unclear to any of you, that is basically the exact location of "Ground Zero" where the World Trade Center was. The billboard I saw the other night has even more space on the right side, so it is completely clear that that is the southern tip of Manhattan island.
Now, I thought that was pretty tacky and heartless. Then, a friend of mine saw the movie (and hated it, by the way), and I mentioned that to him. He then told me (and here's a minor spoiler) that one of the early images you see in the film is of the Empire State Building collapsing.
So now it seems like more than just coincidence, for sure. A massive conflagration at Ground Zero, an iconic skyscraper collapsing to the ground, and two recognizable images of Manhattan destroyed.
I'm sure there is the possibility that the whole film is meant in some ways as a meditation on/metaphor for the 9/11 attacks. Some unknown beast unexpectedly attacks New York City and wreaks havoc and creates turmoil. And thus, those parallels would be intentional. But to me, they still seem tacky, tasteless, thoughtless and heartless. No, I'm not going to say, "It's too soon to do movies where there is destruction in New York City," or something like that. But when you make the parallels as close as Cloverfield does, this is more than just making a movie that has destruction in Manhattan. It is a direct and pointed reminder of that time.
And though I haven't seen the film (so it is possible that I'm wrong here, and please tell me if you think I am), I doubt that Cloverfield offers up any kind of new perspective on 9/11. I don't think there is any political commentary or anything. After all, the whole thing everywhere in the press has been pitched merely as a monster movie seen from the victims' perspective.
So, maybe I'm wrong. But in my sight-unseen opinion, Cloverfield has been made or at least marketed in very poor taste.
Tags: Cloverfield, movie+marketing, 9-11