Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home Videos: Coming to a Theater Near You

I will almost certainly be seeing Cloverfield opening night. Apparently, the whole movie is done from the perspective of a home video camera, a la The Blair Witch Project. Really interesting move, especially when you're doing special effects on what isn't meant to look like professional photography. They've also launched an intense alternate reality online presence, with fake profiles of individuals and organizations, which is a lot of fun to explore (if you, like me, are excited for the movie). There are whole communities devoted to piecing together the clues. That's what I call effective advertising.

Click here for the full Trailer.

UPDATE JAN 10, 2007: A recently released television spot.

And here is some more footage from the beginning of the flick.

As for what the monster is, well, that's the big question, now isn't it? There is obviously the Godzilla speculation, and I imagine it will be something like Godzilla, but I don't think J.J. Abrams would disappoint us with something so canned as that. He is much too original. Maybe he'll pull a Jaws and wait till the end to show it, or not show it at all.

UPDATE DEC 28, 2007:
It is definitively NOT Godzilla. Toho INC, the owner of the Godzilla franchise, has retired all Godzilla related productions till 2013.

However, the beast does show up for a few frames of the preview. Here is a stabilized version, indicating that it is in fact some large, probably reptilian monster.
UPDATE: It's directed by Matt Reeves? Who in the world is Matt Reeves? How do these guys get such a huge gigs, when most of your resume is Felicity? True, I'd never heard of Peter Jackson when LoTR was announced. He had previously done blood and guts flicks with his buddies on the weekends and an adults only muppets perversion. He somehow managed to be a decent director. But man, there must be some nepotism going on here. Methinks King J.J. is giving the big jobs to his friends.

As for the diegetic perspective, expect to see more of this kind of thing as our society becomes more multimedia inundated. Very cheap video cameras and common video sharing via YouTube and the like have made the perspective of an amateur videographer so familiar. Storytellers will take advantage of that.

And the alternate reality aspect of marketing will also become more and more commonplace in our increasingly ever wired world. It's already played a role in the success of a recent hit video game, and is about to play into the hit success of a major motion picture.

The upcoming addition to George Romero's Dead franchise, Diary of the Dead, makes a similar narrative point of view. The film is told largely from the perspective of some kids who were making a zombie movie, when an actual zombie invasion starts happening in front of them. I mentioned it briefly in an earlier post.

I know of one more example of this kind of thing happening. An old employer of mine will be making a movie this coming year, and he mentioned the ad campaign he plans on using. I don't want to give the story away, but I'll say that he plans on using similar alternate reality viral marketing to Cloverfield. However, instead of using one video camera, he plans on releasing several videos to the web that come from various perspectives. Think of all the cameras that surround us day by day. He plans on using webcams, department store security cameras, ATM cameras, traffic cameras, and of course, the home video camera. I thought it was a great idea, I'll explain more as the details become more available.

NOTE: After my recent raving about I Am Legend, and now Cloverfield, I thought the focus of this NY Times article was an interesting and accurate observation.


mdiller said...

Did you know the first cloverfield preview plays automatically when you come on your blog? how obnoxious. and this from the guy who hates songs automatically playing.

Austin said...

Believe me, I tried to get around that but couldn't. At least it doesn't load till video is actually on your screen.