We’ve all seen so many trailers by now, we know the routine: First there’s the tease, usually accompanied by cameras swirling around a partially obscured object. Then comes movie-ad guy’s voice, telling us that we’re “In a World …” somewhere and that only “One man …” can save the day. The music swells, the action shots come fast and furious, and it all ends with the name of some movie they want us to see.
But now, a real-life movie mystery has “Transformers” fans wondering whether two minutes of grainy footage shown before the flick begins is more than meets the eye.
“I thought this was a new Godzilla movie when I first saw the trailer,” YouTube user mininyy32 said of the shaky camera shots attached to “Transformers” prints.
“It’s ‘Voltron’ for a number of reasons,” argued aztecsaxwarrior, referencing a supposed big-screen version of another ’80s cartoon. “Some feel the line yelled out in the trailer is ‘It’s a lion!’ as opposed to ‘It’s alive!’ Also, one of the writers for the Voltron movie, in an interview, has already indicated ‘Voltron’ will take place in Manhattan.”
What, exactly, are all these people talking about? Well, if you haven’t seen “Transformers” in theaters yet, some quick searching on the Internet should dig up a few highly illegal videos of the trailer in question. It begins at an innocent-looking surprise party, leads into handheld shots of friends commenting to the camera, and then shifts abruptly into an apocalyptic night scene complete with explosions, fireballs and “Blair Witch”-like glimpses of some kind of monster. The trailer ends with no title — simply the name of producer J.J. Abrams and the words “In Theaters 1-18-08.”
“The teaser is clearly for ‘Beavis and Butt-Head the Movie Part 2,’ ” IMDb user sockableclaw posted, cleverly discovering the page for something called “Untitled J.J. Abrams Project.” Over at BeyondHollywood.com, TheRoboticElephant has put some thought into Abrams’ hit TV show and theorizes: “This is probably a ‘Lost’-related teaser. It would fit Abrams’ MO, seeing as he put the Hanso Foundation [from the TV show] into the credits of ‘Mission: Impossible III.’ ”
The fact of the matter is that no one seems to know for sure what the project is, although the plot thickens when you look at 1-18-08 not as a release date — but as a URL.
The site 1-18-08.com contains a single shot of two terrified-looking teens, along with the date and time of whatever attack it is they’re witnessing. As best we can tell, there’s nothing clickable on the page.
EmpireMovies.com calls the unorthodox ad “The Best Trailer Ever!” and reports that a viewing at the site’s local theater “made everyone’s jaw drop.” The site also mentions one word that keeps resurfacing over and over in conjunction with the project: Cloverfield.
According to several sources, Abrams has been filming a flick using a script by “Lost” writer/director Drew Goddard, with his former “Felicity” collaborator Matt Reeves in the director’s chair. Featuring a cast of unknowns, the flick is supposedly about some sort of monster invading NYC — and much like “Transformers,” the trailer was shot before filming even began. Budgeted in the mid-$20 million range, the flick has been shooting in L.A. over the last few weeks under the aliases “Clover” and “Cloverfield.”
Here are the Internet theories so far:
1. It’s a “Godzilla” reboot: One theory says that, much like “Batman Begins,” this flick will relaunch the stalled monster-movie franchise after the 1998 bomb that starred Matthew Broderick in a Monica Lewinsky beret. The “clover” phrasing might be code for the green color synonymous with Godzilla.
2. It’s a “Lost” movie: Set for release around the same time as the show’s fourth-season kickoff, perhaps Abrams is ready to take his hit show to the next level. Such clue-dropping would certainly be consistent with much of the chicanery the program has used in the past.
3. It’s an H.P. Lovecraft movie: Seventy years after the death of the great American sci-fi/horror writer, perhaps Abrams and company are planning to play off his Cthulhu Mythos, which basically details creatures from other worlds invading ours. Since most of Lovecraft’s work is now public domain, the absence of licensing fees would make sense for a modestly budgeted monster flick, and the trailer would be consistent with his typically firsthand-account manner of storytelling. To further strengthen the theory, if you rearrange the letters in Clover, you get “lovecr.”
4. It’s “Voltron,” “Rampage,” etc.: With “Transformers” breaking records left and right, the studios are obviously eager to green light like-minded projects. As such, geek-boy minds are running wild, speculating that the footage is everything from “Jurassic Park IV” to another “King Kong” movie.
… And then, of course, there’s the simplest theory: That Abrams, Goddard and Reeves have created something wholly original. To make matters even more confusing, consider this: MTV News’ West Coast headquarters is one block away from a street named “Cloverfield”! OK, maybe now we’re just being paranoid.
When approached for comment on the rumors, both Paramount Pictures and Abrams’ representatives remained mum. But this much we do know: Abrams is a confirmed attendee at this month’s Comic-Con in San Diego, and he’s set to speak about both the “Star Trek” movie he’s filming and, according to the studio, an “Untitled J.J. Abrams Project.”
So, whatever this mystery is, expect the veil to be lifted soon enough. Keep checking back here for the latest.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Trek.”
Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.
Want trailers? Visit the Trailer Park for the newest, scariest and funniest coming attractions anywhere.