Welcome to No. 10

line4Something big has taken place in cinema this week but in a very small way. Something has come along and has the potential to send shockwaves through the industry. As we gear up for yet another giant blockbuster release this easter weekend and then yet another in less then a months time. One film may have the potential to change all of that for future releases.lineThe original (if it can be deemed that, more accurately it should be noted as the first story) teased us with a single clip of a destroyed Statue of Liberty before Lady Liberty’s head dropped on her fine city. And the film exploded reinvigorating the sci-fi genre with a new sense of cool and what it means to be a sci-fi film. And this so called pseudo sequel has done the same. Now if you’ve been reading and following thesupermundane from the beginning you’ll know I have massive gripes with the way films are being trailered and presented to an audience pre-release when I did my first proper post way back when with “I am Jack’s complete lack of Surprise” and to all intent and purposes it seemed all was normal when the first trailer got released, it was nothing special, but oh how wrong I was. There had been no teaser for a teaser, there was no hype, there was nothing and this is probably why I dismissed it and sadly forgot about it. Which sadly may be the case because this film deserves to be seen and like its somewhat predecessor has completely changed the game once again and for the better.line4We witness the story of a young women who trying to leave her old life behind and move on is run off the road, in a supposed accident and awakes to find herself being held hostage in a single room, after an escape attempt her capture informs her the world has ended, the air is no longer safe and that we are under attack and this, this bunker is one of the last safe places supposedly on Earth. Our heroine takes exception to these apparent truths, unable to believe what she is being told and so again attempts to escape and it may just seem her captor had been telling the truth but maybe not the honest truth. The film is an absolute genre-bender of a film, the best genre I could proportion it to is a Sci-fi-Horror-Mystery-Drama-Escape film, and that’s trying to refine it to it’s core elements. I’m going to try and say as little about the film as possible as it is well and truly a must watch and as much as I enjoy dictating my opinion to you too, I would like to try and refrain from it on this occasion because it’s brilliance lies in it’s surprise in the fact there is no hype, that there has been so little seen and this is one of the reasons that it may just have changed the definition of the modern day blockbuster. This film has a whole host of other reasons tucked up its proverbial sleeve in it’s potential unintentional redefining of the idea of what a ‘blockbuster franchise’ film is.line2The film boasts a stellar if not a quote unquote crowd drawing cast with Mary Elizabeth Winstead taking the central role, and for once what is essentially our damsel in distress, maybe distressed but she is no damsel and she certainly isn’t messing about, once again it’s great and refreshing to see a female lead in what is essentially a blockbuster film and not have her fall into the similar tropes that could be so easily applied to the character. Note; the sentence that follows is a slight rarity as I must apologise as I keep implying that the film is a blockbuster but with, if you detect it, a slight reserve but please bare with and I will explain shortly, I promise. Opposite Winstead we have the fantastic and hugely underrated John Goodman, who once again plays his part perfectly, he’s unnerving, thoughtful, sinister, human and sympathetic it is just brilliant to watch and keeps you rooted to the seat. So the film has no real blockbuster stars, for as much as I’d like to say Goodman is he sadly isn’t, it’s helmed by a first time director, it’s only draw is it’s title. Then again it is only kind of a draw as it doesn’t infer itself as a direct sequel there is no number 2 or prefix or referral to its predecessor other then one single word; Cloverfield. But then there’s the name, a name previously unknown until recent years but is now potentially one of the biggest names of this generation; JJ Abrams. While this doesn’t immediately cement it is a blockbuster, it gives huge amounts of credibility to the notion, the premise has the potential to sway into big blockbuster territory but is handled expertly especially in the hands of Trachtenberg who keeps the film grounded and understated.lineSo is it a blockbuster or isn’t it and how has it changed the game? Well this is the issue it has all the markings of a somewhat blockbuster but it isn’t your pure bred one, by definition a blockbuster is about being big, big name stars, big time director and these days part of a big time franchise. But everything in this film is middle ground, if anything it is the little brother to the blockbuster films of the so-called summer film season, because you know April is “Summer“, it has smaller household names, it has blockbuster themes but keeps them small, but it isn’t a small time indie hit either, it’s a studio funded piece from some of the top dogs in the industry. It is an element on to it’s self, it’s sitting in it’s own little category, and it’s changing the ways things should be done. As mentioned earlier it was released with no pretence and no fan-fare a single trailer was launched online, unlike the plethora of teasers, trailers and spots we get for the big blockbusters. There had been whispers JJ was working on something which at the time was entitled Valencia and that was it. Little less then two months before it’s release the trailer sneaked online and a new franchise was born, it was something no one was expecting, we’d all thought the original was a single flash-in-the-pan film, a film born of cult fandom and would remain that way, but now a potential new world of sprawling entwined narratives linked by one single event; the end of the world is a franchise onto itself. And people went nuts, the film has already grossed nearly $50 million in its opening two weeks, while that may seem low I have no doubts this film will pick up because it has been brave. It has entered into a market saturated with established franchises and staggering amounts of pre-release material and toy lines, merchandise, books, comics and it has done away with these now established concepts, and has ventured headlong into new territory, using secrecy and surprise as marketing tools and letting the film stand alone. Even once in the theatre you doubt the sequel-ality (yes  a word I just made up) of the film, the opening takes place hours before the original but as the story progresses our heroine awakes in an undefined time period and how long are we in that bunker, the film builds mystery with mystery’s from outside of the film, from it’s own larger world and it is a brilliant masterstroke of storytelling and quite possibly the beginning of one of the most interesting and exciting franchises to date. And this is where all should take notice and heed the skill of Abrams and his team, they’ve been brave and from their bravery has come originality, something majorly lacking in the industry. A film doesn’t need an established universe or action figure lines, you don’t need a multi-layered cake filled with sweets and topped with icing and sprinkles and candles that shoot 3 foot high sparkles into the sky, you need to trust in your film rather then resting on the laurels of an established world, why not change the world, give it room to breath, and let the audience experience the world a new. And this is just what Trachtenberg and Abrams have done, I just hope this film gets the recognition it deserves because then and only then maybe the world will have a little more mystery once again.line4And there’s no denying it’s always a little more fun when you don’t quite know whats round the corner but you’re excited for it nonetheless.Clover

 

 

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