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.

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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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