Written by: Michael Hickerson (SoSF Staff Journalist)
This weekend, “Transformers” raked in a huge pile of cash at the movie-going box-office. But while the film about robots that can transform into cars, planes, trucks and other various mechanical objects is generating a lot of buzz, it’s a preview that airs before the film that has audiences buzzing.
The mysterious preview depicts a party in New York with various 20-somethings playing up to the camera. The footage is grainy and looks like home video. Then, the lights go out and the people go to the roof only to see fireballs erupting in the city. Panic enuses and the group heads to the street, where something large hurtles from the sky and crashes in a heap.
It’s the head of the Statue of Liberty.
The trailer has no title but instead only gives a release date of January 18, 2008 and that “Lost” producer J.J. Abrams is involved.
All Parmount Pictures will confirm for audiences is the project is code-named Cloverfield (is that an anagram for something like Torchwood was for Dr Who? I leave this up to you, the audience to figure out because I’m horrible at anagrams!)
This mysterious trailer is creating quite a buzz in the on-line community, though good luck trying to see it on-line. The trailer has not been released on-line and Paramount is actively pursuing pirated copies that are showing up on the web.
Hollywood-Elsewhere.com’s Jeffrey Wells says the trailer is a clever ploy working just as the studio hoped.
“It’s probably more enticing to not quite know what is that they’re putting across,” he says. “It’s always better when you can arouse imaginations and get them wondering without making things too explicit. That’s not the age and aesthetic of today. Everybody wants things right on the nose.”
On the Web, at Fourth of July barbecues and at post-Transformers screening dinners, people wanted to know more. Harry Knowles, the online king of movie previews at AintItCool.com, says Paramount’s unique marketing campaign will “drive all the rest of us crazy. The worst thing about releasing a film without a title is my phone starts ringing at inappropriate times in the morning and night. When you have your phone number on your website, people think, ‘Let’s call him and ask him what we saw.”
His theory, based on puzzle websites Paramount set up as clues, such as the fake prophet page EthanHaasWasRight.com, is that the film will involve the late H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of monstrous ancient gods wreaking havoc on Earth.
Other online speculators theorize the film is the long-promised Voltron movie (which would explain its placement at the beginning of the Transformers film) about ancient robotic lions that form the titular giant to defend Earth from invasion. More stabs in the dark are that it’s a new Godzilla film, a big-screen takeoff on Abrams’ Lost TV series or an entirely original project.
While all of these ideas are intriguing, could Paramount keep a Voltron movie this heavily under wraps in the day and age of SPOILERs and the Internet?