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.