Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Felt Sorry for Clover

“I think there is almost nothing scarier than an animal that is much bigger than you that’s terrified. Because that animal is going to do anything.”
- Matt Reeves (Director)

I wanted to make a post about Cloverfield but I felt that if I did make one I would have to tap into the viral marketing of the movie and that would take pages and pages to describe. Well, I sat there watching the movie and then it hit me… not the idea for the post but a new look on the movie. I remember J.J. Abrams stating that the monster in this movie (sweetly named Clover) was actually a baby monster and not a full grown up. At first I thought, “Holy hell, imagine how big the mother must be,” but then I realized… I kind of feel sorry for the monster. I felt for the characters in the movie but I also felt this feeling of sadness for Clover.

“It is an infant. It’s newly hatched, newly born. And all the pain that goes with something being exposed to a foreign environment and temperatures, and things and sounds and little pests, almost like ants… people.”
- Neville Page (Creature designer)

Even if you didn’t pay attention to the viral marketing in which it was explained that Clover was an infant there are still a lot of hints throughout the movie that tell you that it may be a newborn. Notice how, near the end, Clover is actually galloping away from the military as they bombard him with bullets and bombs. He does not once attack the military purposely but rather runs away from it because they are attacking him. Occasionally Clover would look around and let out a loud shriek of pain looking for his home or his mother. It’s sad to think that this poor monster is only trying to get back to his home but doesn’t know where it is.

It’s very arguable that the monster is the main villain in the movie and to the general audience it is, but if you look at the clues that I stated before you can easily see that the monster may not necessarily be the villain. Our main protagonists are Rob and his friends but I think that Clover is an anti-hero of sorts. This leads me to believe that there are no real villains at all in this movie. The military is doing their job but at the same time they are helping the citizens as much as they can and one of the soldiers goes against his regulations to help Rob and his friends. It’s one of the few monster movies where there is no real villain.

In comparing Clover to Godzilla; it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Godzilla represents the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whereas Clover represents the 9/11 bombings. They both emerged from a national tragedy. Godzilla himself can be considered a tragic villain because he didn’t ask to be mutated from the nuclear fallout however Godzilla than goes out of his way to purposely attack the city. Clover on the other hand is not purposely attacking the city… he is trying to maneuver his way around while the military is blowing him up.

As much as I adore Godzilla and most of his movies I didn’t really have any solid memory of me being captivated by the movie even though I still love it. With Cloverfield, I spent hours of the night trying to find what the movie was about after I saw the teaser trailer before Transformers. I have such fond memories of talking to people and revealing clues about the movie and what the monster looks like that I developed a bond to the movie. Perhaps this is why I would place Clover as my #1 favorite movie monster. With that said, I will leave you with a quote from the creature designer of the film. I think this quote really sums up that tragedy that is Clover.

“But to know that when it is screaming, when it’s roaring, it’s not a threat display kind of thing. It’s crying out to its mother, perhaps. It’s lost.”
- Neville Page (Creature designer)


the jaded viewer said...

I wanted to like this film as it would have been hailed as our American Godzilla but I didn't feel anything for Clover. That and I couldn't get some decent clear shots of the damn thing.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

The monster in this movie is an obstacle. The majority of the film is a love story and Clover is just a second hand character. I think that's what throws people off. It is the American Godzilla.

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