Monday, June 6, 2016

Looking at Movies Double Feature Review (First Run - Kinda) - 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) *SPOILERS ALERT!*

I really, really wanted to see 10 Cloverfield Lane when it was announced because I am trying to trust that J.J. Abrams will keep his promise of delivering an American Godzilla-type franchise. Abrams did say that 10 Cloverfield Lane is in the same universe as Cloverfield, and I would even go so far as to say that 10 Cloverfield Lane is a sequel to Cloverfield. But if Abrams is trying to create a monster franchise, he is doing it wrong. These movies are good, but they are not establishing the idea that some new monster is going to dethrone King Kong as the great American kaiju.

First, let's talk about the direct correlation between 10 Cloverfield Lane and Cloverfield. J.J. Abrams insists that 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a direct sequel to Cloverfield, but I think he is trying to be unnecessarily cheeky. At the end of Cloverfield, something crashes into the ocean behind the characters as they are enjoying a ride on a train or bus. When that was pointed out to J.J. Abrams at a film convention the following year, he tried to play it off like it was nothing. That is when I started to get frustrated with J.J. Abrams. Obviously we all saw something crash into the ocean, and obviously it was meant to be there. Why be so cheeky and snarky about it?

I think that Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane are parts one and two respectively of a three-part story involving the same types of monsters. The Cloverfield monster from the first movie was an alien, and now there are more aliens spreading around the world trying to get rid of the human race. That is all well and good, but I don't see how 10 Cloverfield Lane helps Abrams create a franchise at all.

The big problem I have with idea of a Cloverfield franchise is that Abrams is not establishing any consistency between the movies to justify a franchise. The first movie focuses more on the human storyline, which we don't care about, than giving a back story to the monster. 10 Cloverfield Lane is infatuated with a human story that, if Abrams is trying to establish a franchise, has nothing to do with anything. None of his human stories connect together to form the foundation of a franchise, and his monsters barely appear in these movies.

The only thing I can think of is that J.J. Abrams is trying to establish a series of Twilight Zone type movies, but using alien monsters. I mean, I guess that would be cool. But the whole idea leaves me really wanting more monsters and less people.

As for 10 Cloverfield Lane goes, this is a good stand-alone movie. John Goodman's character is extremely creepy, and the movie itself never gives you a chance to settle into one idea about what is really going on. There are so many creepy things going on, that the movie becomes impossible to stop watching.

The emotion throughout this movie is intense, and the stories seem to intertwine in unexpected ways. The problem is that the ending seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the movie. After 90 minutes of intense drama, we are suddenly plunged into an entirely different world and the two parts of the movie don't seem to line up. There are glaring inconsistencies that play to Abram's cheeky nature with these films. It is frustrating that he throws in things that should make sense, but then make no sense when the movie is over.

I liked 10 Cloverfield Lane as a stand-alone movie. But I have no idea where Abrams is going with this if he is thinking of a franchise. I guess we will have to see what happens and hope that J.J. Abrams delivers on his promise of the next great American kaiju franchise.

Rating: 3 out of 5

George N Root III is a kaiju movie fanatic and is desperately trying to give J.J. Abrams a chance. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at