Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't Believe The Hype!


During the playoffs, they're playing the hell out of the new Cloverfield trailer. It's not really new, but there seems to be a few more seconds of something resembling a monster of some kind in the distance. I can't really make out what it is. That's the point, of course. To pique my interest. To make me want to see more. To make me want to see Cloverfield. There may have been a time when I was interested in seeing this movie. But I think it has passed. Now I'm just angry. It used to be that movies got to be big deals once people saw them. And they were big deals because they were good movies. But now movies are the biggest thing before anyone has seen a single frame. And it's a bad path we're headed down, my friends.

I know that what J.J. Abrams is doing is nothing new. Hype has been created before. But I don't know to this level. There is a difference between wanting to see something and being told that you want to see something. I feel like Cloverfield is doing that. Every time the trailer comes on, it seems to revel in its own cleverness. In its ability to show just enough, making you want more. It makes me feel kinda dirty actually. Like I'm at one of those peep shows where just when it starts to get interesting, the wall comes down over the window and I have to pony up another quarter.

Does this hype actually work? Or better yet, can a certain level of hype be created that's actually attainable? I think the type of hype that's created today can only be detrimental. Of course I say that under the belief that what studios make can be called art and that there is some desire to create movies that are worth mentioning a year, or three years or five years from now. I don't think that's where the studios are, though. Cloverfield may be the first summer movie of the year and it's being released the middle of January. It might as well be a summer blockbuster, because Paramount is treating it that way. Front-loading the hell out of it, not really caring what the exit polls will say. They want to generate big numbers the first weekend and about half that the second weekend and chances are, this movie will be off our radar in a matter of weeks.


I think in the hype rule book (I have a copy with me and I'm reading page 26. It's a really easy read with lots of pictures) it's written that hype should eventually take on a life of its own. Become its own beast. It should be attached to a name or an idea. For example, with the new Star Wars trilogy, hype was rightfully created. You may have fallen on the side of the fence that didn't believe the Star Wars tale needed to be told anymore, but damn if you still weren't going to show up to see what happened. And all Spielberg had to do was release a photo of Harrison Ford dressed in the Indiana Jones garb to make everyone all giddy. Off the top of your head, can you name the director of Cloverfield? Or the writer? Or the stars? It's not even like it's a great, original idea. It's a monster movie. With Cloverfield, I feel the hype is manufactured. It's planned for. And maybe that's why I'm angry. Is that the hype isn't real. It's not a great idea that caught fire. It's an idea that the production company thought was great and so it's constantly reminding us how great it is.

Seriously, what are the chances that whatever the hell this monster turns out to look like, is as cool as what I'm picturing in my head. I really shouldn't care. But the problem is, I do. Not because I want to, but because I feel like I should. I know that probably says more about me than about the movie. And trust me, I realize the hypocrisy of this entire post. I'm criticizing the hype machine while feeding it at the same time. And not because I want to. But that's what false hype does. Makes us excited about stuff that's really not there.

12 comments:

Adam Ross said...

I can see why you're annoyed, but I don't think it's anything new. I remember Vanity Fair having exclusive photos of the new Batman in 1988 (when the black costume and batmobile was a big deal), and the awesome T2 teaser throwing everyone into a tizzy a full year before its release.

Hype or none, Cloverfield has completely hooked me. I love the concept of it and can't wait to see how it delivers (good or bad).

Piper said...

But the new Batman was huge news. The first real launch of the popular character on the screen. Nicholson as the Joker? And T2 also had reason to have hype. It was a further telling of the Terminator story. To me those were good examples for there to be hype. This is an example of hype out of nothing. Pre-fab hype.

Burbanked said...

I'm someone who more often than not gets turned off by movies in direct response to the amount of hype they're getting. The bigger it becomes, the more annoyed I get and the more turned off to seeing the movie I become. It's why I've come to fear and loathe the ways that today's Hollywood treats such beloved material as Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Terminator, Aliens and the rest. They are products primarily and art a distant second - and the hype is only going to get huger and more sickening as time goes on.

But strangely enough, I'm still into Cloverfield, perhaps because I've more or less shut down on consumption of a lot of the marketing and discussion. I don't really want to see the monster at this point and I don't want to read the early reviews for fear of spoiling everything. I'm still up for the movie, but the marketing has made me wary of the letdown more than excited to see the movie.

And I've included a quote from your post here in my sidebar today because the last time I left you a comment you called me a "greedy bitch" and I wanted to try, if only in some small way, to disprove that notion. So nyah.

Piper said...

You make Greedy Bitch sound so nasty. I wrote that with all the love in my heart.

sir jorge said...

i don't believe the hype

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Retyping my Rec Show comment that I now can't find due to their new look...no offense Ray et. al.

What if it's just a hoax? Wouldn't that be cool? And yet so not, because the number of words comparing it to the Orson Welles broadcast would probably crash the net entirely...and I'd rather let Orson keep the title of greatest hoax ever...so never mind...

Sheamus the... said...

saw it last night and loved it...better than i expected. I am curious to see what you think.

jake e said...

I didn't see a monster, but in the trailer I caught in the theater, I did spy one of those nifty bud light aluminum bottle can things. That's all I needed.

Nayana Anthony said...

I guess I'll find out Saturday. Not gonna lean either way at this moment.

Joseph B. said...

If the following text received from a good buddy in New Mexico is any indication of how the film played during Friday night sold our screenings, then the film's in trouble:

"dude... cloverfield is one of the worst movies I've seen...we used a gift card and still paid too much. It's basically blair witch meets godzilla. JJ Abrams is a tool."

Granted, my buddy hates "Lost" for the way it meanders without any seemingly real purpose (an opinion I gree with after giving up after season 1), but I still respect his opinion. He has a good antenna for stuff. I might wait for a matinee! And one of the funniest texts I've received in a long while.

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