The story behind the story: Cloverfield

I don’t usually watch the extras on the DVDs.  If I loved the movie, then I am content with what I saw.  If I didn’t like the movie, then nothing the director or cast or gaffer can say in their commentary will convince me otherwise.

This weekend, I rented Cloverfield, a monster eats New York movie.  It was entertaining enough, though not great, and I almost blew my popcorn at the hand-held motion.  But it was swift and short and since I wasn’t ready for bed I watched the special effects short.

The director and creature creator had an interesting thing to say: In their development of the movie, they wanted to get away from “angry creature ravages setting” model and give their monster, Clover, a little more personality.  They said they envisioned Clover as a baby monster, newly hatched, say, even calling for its mother, scared and overwhelmed by the world where it found itself.  Not unlike our young protagonists.  (Okay, I added that last, but I’m sure that was the intent.)  They were especially proud of Clover’s flat shark-like black eye.

None of that made it on the screen.

Nope, they had a monster ravaging New York.  And Clover rampaged so violently and with so much CG’d smoke that I never had a long enough glimpse of its eye, much less its personality.

Which made me wonder, what is in my head, in my synopsis, that isn’t on the page?  A novelist doesn’t have the luxury of special features to explain what she meant.  If it isn’t on the page, it doesn’t exist.

Much like monsters.


One thought on “The story behind the story: Cloverfield

  1. We normally skip special features, too, but watched these because of who was involved in the making of the movie. I actually found the making-of , the backstory more interesting than the movie itself. I also thought the development of the relationship, character building they explained in featurettes didn’t all make it into the film either. It makes you paranoid as a writer. How much is too much? Am I boring you? How much isn’t enough? Did I lose you? *sigh*


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