10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
Film Review by Fiore
No movie has disappointed me in quite a long time like 10 Cloverfield Lane. The film is a total waste of time, building anticipation for a plotline that never develops. A bit of history is in order to comprehend the disillusionment of this film.
Years ago, J.J. Abrams visited Japan. He was overwhelmed by the iconic status of Godzilla there. He admired how the King of Monsters was used in advertisements for all types of products and services and how it pervaded the culture. He had a vision – to create an American monster that would capture the American psyche and become just as big a part of the country’s culture.
To that affect, he made Cloverfield. The movie spawned the ‘found footage’ deluge still plaguing the monster and horror genre today. Cloverfield was a big-budget novelty film, but the monster, barely seen except for a few quick shots in the movie’s final reel, failed dismally to capture viewers’ interest.
Abrams claimed the monster in the movie, though causing much havoc, was only a baby and that mamma monster was coming. This conjured images of Gorgo to giant monster lovers everywhere. He also claimed Cloverfield would be a trilogy, but as the box office results for America’s new monster sunk slowly in the bog and years passed with no additional word, Cloverfield seemed to be Abrams Folly.
Excitement augmented when a closed set project, simply known as Valencia, turned out to be 10 Cloverfield Lane, the second film in the promised trilogy. The movie’s true identity was not known until the advertising campaign began; a secret better kept than Oliver Queen being the Green Arrow.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a terrible movie. It is 90 minutes of slow, plodding comic book superficial character studies. The story begins with Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, one of the dreaded three-name people. She has a fight with voice-over only boyfriend Ben (Bradley Cooper), and can’t handle the situation like an adult so she packs up her stuff, leaves her engagement ring on the dresser, and runs away from home. A car accident finds her in the bomb shelter of Howard, played by John Goodman. Howard rescues Michelle, saves her life, and puts her in his bomb shelter because there has been an attack, either biological or chemical and the air is not safe to breath. In the bunker with them is Emmitt (John Gallagher, Jr.). These two are not, hopefully, representative of the Net Generation; she can’t handle confrontations, and he can’t handle challenges. Howard shifts from survivalist to loon, seemingly at the whim of screenwriter Josh Campbell who doesn’t know what to do with the character.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. The crutch attack
2. The first escape attempt.
While some may consider this a spoiler, I consider it a public service announcement when I tell you 10 Cloverfield Lane has nothing to do with the original. Don’t look for the monster, it’s simply not in the movie. In fact, the only thing this has in connection with the original is the use of the word Cloverfield in the title. This thing shifts from unique monster, to overly used and seen space worms. Perhaps Abrams has spent too much time with Han Solo, or on the Enterprise.
10 Cloverfield Lane cost $15 million to make, and made $24 million on its opening weekend. Unfortunately, this may encourage Abrams to complete the trilogy. I didn’t like the first movie and I loathe this second endeavor. Don’t waste your money on this one. Wait until it comes onto TV in a Sci-Fi Saturday night event. Perhaps multiple commercial breaks and frequent trips to the frig can help 10 Cloverfield Lane seem enjoyable.
THE GRADE FOR 10 Cloverfield Lane = F