With the first dawn of 2008 and the first screening of Cloverfield (Paramount, 1.18) just around the corner, a final prediction- slash-statement of HE principles conveyed to producer JJ Abrams.
If you don’t visualize the monster, in my eyes Cloverfield will be an instant landmark monster film. It will stand shoulder to shoulder with Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds and way, way above Gojira, Gorgo, King Kong, Konga, Roland Emmerich‘s ’98 Godzilla, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Steven Spielberg‘s The Lost World and all the rest of the urban-rampage monster flicks.
If you do show it, no worries. Most of the knuckle-draggers will be happy with that, and the film will be all the more successful. Financially, I mean. Your Paramount benefactors will obviously be pleased as well. But if you don’t show it, the thin- lipped ivory tower elites in their velvet smoking jackets and suede lounge slippers will love you into eternity. Your reputation (and eventually your life) will be transformed. You’ll officially be a member of the Major Visionaries club. 50 years from now people will look back upon you as a film artist who had the character and cojones to defy conventional expectations and piss off the lowbrows. It’s all within your grasp — just don’t show it.
But it’ll be okay if you do. People like me will think slightly less of you, but you can weather that. It won’t be a crime. You’ll have a crowd-pleaser on your hands, and that, after all, is what the business of motion picture entertainment is about.