WARNING! This post will not induce dizziness, motion sickness, or nausea. Unless reading about vomiting makes you feel sick. Then you’d best be on your merry way.
If you enjoy reading about vomiting but don’t want to be spoiled by a few tidbits in this post (last-ish paragraph), then please head back in time to last July and read about when I wasted a whole weekend on the Cloverfield phenomenon.
Back then, I thought “Cloverfield” was just going to be the code name for the movie, and that the real title, something along the lines of “MONSTROUS MONSTERY MONSTER,” would be revealed with great fanfare closer to the January 18, 2008, date, which, in July, was a lifetime away.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the first (real) movie poster with the title “Cloverfield.” Whaaa?
Turns out that “Cloverfield” is a perfect title. And there was no question where I would be on January 18, 2008. Sitting in the theater, worrying about my ridiculously heightened expectations. Would it be another Blair Witch or another Snakes on a Plane? Would those damn kids scream through the whole thing? Would those two Celebrex I just took bring on an allergic reaction? I voiced this last concern to Dave, who said firmly, “We’re not going anywhere.” Would that guy behind me throw up on my freshly washed hair?
Actually, that last thought didn’t enter my mind, because at that point I hadn’t heard all the warnings about the hand-held camera causing motion sickness. Had I known, I still would have gone. I just wouldn’t have taken those two Celebrex. Or washed my hair.
Weblines (the new term I just coined for “Web site headlines”) spewed forth such gems as
“Cloverfield = Vomit (But in a Good Way)”
“Cloverfied Meets Vomit City”
“Cloverfield Made Me Vomit!”
“Cloverfield: The Vomit Cam”
One amateur reviewer noted,
It’s supposed to give you a feeling of realism, when in reality all it does is give you a feeling of nausea.
I didn’t have any feelings of nausea and, as far as I can tell, neither did anyone else in the theater. Or if they did have those feelings, they kept them to themselves, which . . . thank God, because public vomiting is not good for anyone.
I don’t even think anyone in the movie threw up, which is also a huge relief, because, frankly, Filmmakers of the World, we don’t need to see that. The sound of a character throwing up is bad enough, and usually, the context clues us into the fact that, if something nausea-inducing has just been presented and the character bolts off to bury his head in a wastebasket, yes, he is throwing up. Please spare us the graphic details.
So, yeah. The camera work bothered me only in that I couldn’t see some parts very clearly. You know, if someone’s going to expand and explode in a bloody mess (I’m not saying this actually happens, I’m just saying IF), let’s have the camera linger a bit. People vomiting—no. People exploding—yes. I wanna see stuff. Flecks and organs and splattery goo (are you vomiting yet?)
But the cinema verite is what made the movie so exciting. The terror, panic, adrenalin rush of the characters felt so much more real and immediate. And really, when it comes to monsters, less is more. Catching glimpses of the giant beastie and trying to figure out what the hell we’re looking at is way more cool than just plopping a camera in front of a CGI creation and going, ROWR! I SCARE YOU!
After an impressive viral marketing campaign that included tie-in Web sites, a fake (or is it?) Japanese drilling company, and a narcotic soft drink, Abrams did a good job of leaving viewers with still more mysteries and unanswered questions:
What does that guy say at the very end? Did you catch the thing falling from the sky in the final scene (I didn’t). Is the monster still alive? Were there really two monsters? Did the monster just give Hud a good licking or did he chomp him in half? Did Lily survive? Is the Statue of Liberty head to scale? (yes!). Does this have anything to do with Lost? Will I throw up?
If you still need more Cloverfield:
Buy the action figure. Apparently it comes with two interchangeable heads and ten parasites. AND a Statue of Liberty head!
Join Cloverfield’s FaceBook page! Find out Cloverfield’s likes and dislikes, favorite music, and who Cloverfield admires.
Listen to “ROAR! (Cloverfield Overture),”the movie’s theme song that plays over the end credits.
They’re puking up a storm over at humor-blogs.