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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cloverfield: Not a Good Idea IMHO

The above picture is something I took from the bus tonight. It's the
poster for the new JJ Abrams (MI III) movie "Cloverfield". I saw the
trailer in front of "Sweeny Todd" the other night and I couldn't help
but think two things about it:

1) It's just "Godzilla" crossed with "Blair Witch Project" and is,
therefore not terribly interesting (to me) or original. Of course,
thanks to the average film-goer's inability to recognize being
manipulated (Bush's second term, anyone?) most people are probably
looking forward to this movie. It's JJ Abrams-produced, so I'm guessing
that like MI: III it'll be over-produced and under-written (read: it'll
be vacuous, pointless fun).

2) The use of the decapitated Statue of Liberty head smacks of serious
RudyGiuliani-ism. It capitalizes on our (literal) post-traumatic stress
disorder that we are still suffering from after 911. Why else would
they take a national landmark like the SoL and behead it the way Muslim
extremists do to their enemies?

Having a strange force (either a giant monster or alien menace) desimate
New York City just encourages viewers to fear anything that is strange
or alien to them--like Islam, or, say, dark skinned folks from other
countries who speak a foreign tongue. In short, it encourages us to be
racist and reactionary.

Am I reading into things? Maybe. However, I heard about a study done
by the US military into torture tactics used against terrorism
suspects. If memory serves, when an officer asked enlisted men if they
thought torturing Iraqis was OK, some responded "If Jack Bauer can do
it, why can't we?"

So, the threat of media encouraging certain types of behavior is real.
I think if this movie was coming out ten years ago I'd have been first
in line to see it. But now? I hope no one will. There's too much fear
in our culture as it is.

And we all remember what FDR said about fear, right?
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