Friday, March 11, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane - Movie Review: Is This Set in the Same Universe as Cloverfield?

Did the end of the world happen or didn’t it?
10 Cloverfield Lane starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr, and directed by Dan Tractenberg. The trailer for this movie shows a group of people playing games and listening to music in a bomb shelter of some kind. They look happy enough at the start of the trailer. Then Winstead’s character breaks a bottle over Goodman’s head and tries to escape. It flashes some other scenes of her restrained, and then her trying to get out of the shelter and seeing a light. This was enough to hook me into going to see the film.
The movie I guess is a type of sequel or spinoff to the 2008 film Cloverfield. I haven’t been able to come up with a good comparison as to how 10 Cloverfield Lane relates to Cloverfield. It’s kind of like Fear the Walking Dead is to The Walking Dead, but in 10 Cloverfield Lane you never really are sure if the end of the world has actually happened, so this isn’t a great comparison either. The story does a great job of keeping you guessing as to what is actually happening.  This is anchored by a fantastic performance by John Goodman. He plays a crazy shut in conspiracy theorist brilliantly. You never feel comfortable with his character. He is unnerving and Goodman plays this extremely well. Did he kidnap Michelle, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character? Did the end of the world actually happen? Did something bad happen, but it’s not as bad as Howard thinks it is, and people are fine outside of the shelter? No answer is given and the tension and suspense the film builds towards the end is great. Dan Tractenberg did a good job directing his first feature film.
The movie also made me think if the end of the world were to happen you might have to interact with the crazy conspiracy theorist who have prepared for the end of the world. Not sure how that would work out for everyone in the long run. This is the question posed to our main character though. Can she live with this crazy person because it’s not safe to go outside? Though again, we never know if the end of the world has in fact happened. Winstead does a good job in portraying a resourceful main character. Throughout the entire film we see her using the objects she has available to try and make the best out of her situation. I was buying into her resourcefulness and cleverness up until the very end of the movie.
The last ten minutes of the movie went a bit off the rails for me. I liked the premise of the ending and it does tie into the overall story well, but I think they could have went a different way. They didn’t need to jam so much into the last part of the film. While Michele is portrayed as a very quick-witted person in the movie, the last part was unbelievable. I wasn’t able to suspend by disbelief with what she is able to accomplish, and it pulled me out of watching the film.
This aside the ride up until this point was extremely fun and I could see myself watching the movie again. This film is worth seeing if you enjoy a good suspenseful movie which may or may not have science fiction elements. Go and see the movie and find out. Even though the film has the name Cloverfield in the title, it is a unique and original story. If you are someone who clamors for original ideas coming out of Hollywood go and support this movie this weekend.  What I would like to see happen would be for the Cloverfield series to become an anthology of films. With the movies possibly set in the same universe, but which play specifically in the science fiction suspense genre. Almost like a twilight series, but with feature film. This could give up and coming directors a chance to prove their worth within a major studio setting. Just my random thoughts though.

Do you plan on seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane? If you have seen it what did you think? What are some of your favorite movies that incorporate a bomb shelter into the film? I loved The Road, not sure I could watch it again, but it was a very good film. Comment and let me know. 

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