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Specific, spoiler filled questions about the movie "Cloverfield
January 21, 2008 11:09 AM   Subscribe

SPECIFIC, SPOILER FILLED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MOVIE "Cloverfield". If you haven't seen it and don't want to know details, ignore this thread.

At the party, there was a passed out girl on the couch. Do you recall anything special about that shot? I heard there was and I remember the shot and wondering why they were lingering on it, but didn't catch anything special.

What happened to Marlena, the girl who was bit, at the army hospital? Did she explode or her body fall apart or what? It happened so quick, I'm not sure.

The monster that ate Hud, was it THE monster or was it some other, smaller version of the monster (perhaps the little creatures implant eggs or some such)? I ask becaue the scale in Hud's video camera seems off, like it's a much smaller verion of THE monster, which seemed at least 15 stories tall.

Lilly (the non anglo looking girl) was the only one to escape, yes? She was put in a helicopter ahead of the other three and that seemed to take off and make it.

The final scene of Rob and Beth on the ferris wheel, did you notice anything in the background? Supposedly something is there, but I didn't catch it.

If you stayed till after the credits, what was in the audio transmission?

Physics majors: Could something as large as THE monster was portrayed actually move that fast? Granted it was running sprints, but from sheer size, it seems as though it would incredibly slow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
2. I think Marlena exploded, like the guy they showed on the gurney a minute or so before she got quarantined.

3. It looked the real monster to me.

4. We can assume that she escaped, although her helicopter could have been downed too.
posted by nerdcore at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2008


Okay, I may see the movie again, but here are my answers:
1). I think that was just a passed-out girl
2). My friends and I were confused as well, but agreed that her head exploded on its own.
3). I think it was supposed to be the monster, and agree that the shot was poorly done (I wish I'd never seen that shot)
4). As far as we know, Lilly escaped.
5). I missed it, but several of my friends said that there is a splash in the ocean as Rob is filming the beach, as if the monster was coming to Earth.

No answers for your last two.

Hell of a movie.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2008


I forgot about the exploded-chest guy. Nercore's answer makes sense there.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:16 AM on January 21, 2008


I'm not of much help, but regarding your first question, I have a nagging feeling that there are a lot of hidden things in this movie that may only come to light once people dissect it on DVD. Possibly a whole other narrative will emerge?

As for the audio transmission, this might answer your question.
posted by naju at 11:22 AM on January 21, 2008


1) I didn't notice anything special, I just thought it was supposed to things were well into the party (i.e. a bit of time had passed since the more "party setup" shots earlier).

2) There was a shot earlier in that scene with a dead solider being moved on a stretcher. Their torso had a massive hole in it but was otherwise in tact, so I'm guessing that's what happened to Marlena.

3) It looked somewhat small to me too, so I was assuming that it was an "evolved" version of the little things, but given that perspective can be pretty dodgy on the camcorder, it's hard to say for sure.

4) It looked to me like she did make it out too.

5) Check it here, but basically something large falls from the sky into the water. Based on the ARG-ish information available about the movie at various places on the web, the hypothesis is it's a piece of a Japanese satellite. Supposedly the company that went looking for it woke up the monster. Did a little of poking about on the web, there's a lot of theories out there.

6) Analysis here, but it also sounds to me that when filtered and reverse, it says, "it's still alive."
posted by Nelsormensch at 11:25 AM on January 21, 2008


1) No idea about the shot of a passed out girl; I didn't notice anything in particular.

2) I believe parasites like leeches use anti-coagulants to help keep their nutrient-rich blood supply flowing. My guess is the monster parasite bites contain (from a human standpoint) huge amounts of anti-coagulants which resulted in Marlena bleeding out explosively. Would that happen? Probably not, but the idea of bleeding out instantly from a parasitic anti-coagulant is cool.

3) I think it was the monster and, yeah, it looked too small.

4) Lilly made it I think.

5) There was a splash in the ocean; it wasn't the monster, though, It was a satellite splashing down into the ocean. This was a plot point in the ARG that surrounded the movie's release. It's likely that the satellite crashing into the ocean woke up the monster.

6) The transmission after the end credits says, "it's still alive". Backwards, I think.

Physics Majors: Looking for scientific plausibility here is crazy. Monster movies are not about plausibility. I mean, the "little" parasites could bite through the things hide to suck blood but 120mm armor-pierceing discarding sabot rounds fired from the main gun of an M1A1 main battle tank just bounce off? It's made of terrestrial flesh (the producers have confirmed it was sleeping in the ocean, not from space) but it shrugs off 2000lb or bigger bombs? And you're worried that it maybe moved too fast for its size?

Enh.
posted by Justinian at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know I may not be adding anything new, but I will answer these questions too!

1. Yeah, I think it was just one of those, "Hey, it's a girl who drank too much and I'm filming her because I'm HUD and I'm kind of obnoxious." I didn't think there was anything else to it.

2. Yeah, the guy on the gurney - when he passed in front of the camera I definitely recall someone saying something about how he had been "bitten" - it looked like his whole stomach just kind of exploded, and I think something very similar happened to Marlena. It was sad, because I was just starting to not think she was irritating.

3. I thought it was the same monster. I agree the scale seemed a little wonky. I've also heard that we're "supposed to" get the impression that Hud was bitten in half. I don't know if that's true, or how we were "supposed to" get it. But that's what I heard. FROM THE INTERNETS.

4. Yeah, I think, from the facts that are available, Lilly survived. Of course, her helicopter could have been downed too - there's really no information available on that.

5. First I heard that there was something that crashed into the ocean, which we were supposed to think was the "alien" coming to earth. Then I heard that it was a satellite which crashed to the earth, and that the crash of said satellite is referenced on various Cloverfield viral sites as somehow being related to the creature's "awakening" - but I'm lost on all that. I mean, I have no idea. I saw the movie and noticed nothing crashing into the ocean.

6. Again, I have not heard this audio, but I am told that it says, in very low tones, something like, "Please help us", and, when played in reverse, it says something like, "It's still alive."

7. No fucking idea.
posted by kbanas at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2008


And you're worried that it maybe moved too fast for its size?

Yes. There are a ton of plot points and other physics things which obviously wouldn't work. I'm just looking for answers on this particular one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on January 21, 2008


Lily did escape, unless her chopper got knocked down offscreen.

I think the monster that killed Hud was the monster. In that scene he's looking straight up at the monster and we don't have anything to compare its size to. The camera's autofocus is probably zooming in to the monster, so it doesn't seem as far off.

(Also, I read that the small monsters were actually parasites, like giant lice, from the big creature, as opposed to being offspring.)

In terms of real-world physics, the square-cube law says that no creature of that size and proportions would even be able to support its own weight or move on dry land at all, presuming that its bones and muscles were constructed along the lines of what we're used to. Obviously the monster's bones and muscles were proportionally hundreds or thousands times stronger than those of any real-world animal. (I imagine that makes them stronger than most non-biological materials we know of as well.) Since the creature also seemed invulnerable to military weaponry, that toughness must extend to its skin as well. Besides the sheer strength of its construction, I imagine the creature must have some phenomenal energy source as well, just to keep moving that long and that fast.

I'm interested in the answers to your other questions myself.
posted by tdismukes at 11:34 AM on January 21, 2008


Which brings up a follow-up - (THREAD HIJACK!) - I mean, so, from what I've been able to piece together about the back story, there's this drink called Slusho, made in and imported from Japan, and part of the manufacturing process involves deep-sea drilling.... and.. apparently, as they say in 'ol Lord of the Rings... they dug too deep, and too fast... or whatever it is they say in Lord of the Rings.

How the satellite plays into all this, I am unclear.

I mean, do the viral sites point out where they were drilling? Or where the monster started his trek? I got the impression from all the viral "oil platform collapsing" videos that the monster traveled some distance.. so, like, I mean, how does a satellite falling off the cost of New York really play into it?
posted by kbanas at 11:37 AM on January 21, 2008


1. I just found this from Yahoo! Answers, which of course is unreliable:

"the girl passed out on the couch is Jamie Lascano. She was a character in the viral marketing campaign for the movie. from the website www.1-18-08.com she is found in one of the pictures with "platt and rob." by searching Jamie Lascano on myspace you can find that her page links to every main character in Cloverfield's page."
posted by naju at 11:38 AM on January 21, 2008


naju - looks like Yahoo! answers was right. Here is a link to Jamie's myspace page. It does have links to pages for the main characters, and those pages give some hints on their backstories.
posted by tdismukes at 11:50 AM on January 21, 2008


Others have answered it as well as I could have, but do not get caught up in the viral marketing of JJ Abrhams. He isn't Agatha Christie and purposefully or not, it just doesn't fit. There's not enough information, just tantalizing clues that seem like they should fit, but in the end is just sort of noise.

The proportions of the monster did change, again I don't know to what degree, but it seemed to change in size and demeanor as the film went on. We never really got to know the monster, and maybe further screenings will make it more clear, but it seemed to not act as a single monster. I think that this may have been part of the point, but it seemed to go from incredibly destructive to kind of a nuisance to incredibly destructive.

The thing in the background is supposedly a satellite that is connected to a deep-sea drilling company. According to the viral marketing this somehow woke the creature and caused the satellite to de-orbit. Don't dig for a more coherent narrative, there simply isn't one.

On a separate note I noticed a lot of odd things during the party scene which was either my imagination, or more likely, a lot of infuriating clues and messages that lead nowhere. The best I can recommend is just to enjoy the monster scenes and totally ignore the plot. I think he did his best to try to say, "ignore plot please," when establishing the characters that absolutely no one could connect to emotionally. At least I hope that was what he was trying to do.
posted by geoff. at 11:58 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Slusho is made by a company called Tagruato. Slusho shows up a number of J.J. Abrams projects, most notably Cloverfield and Alias. There are a number of sites about Tagruato, including this one and this one.

Also, here is a non-ARG site that's collecting as many Cloverfield clues as possible. There's a bunch of stuff on Despoiler's Cloverfield site as well.
posted by Nelsormensch at 12:00 PM on January 21, 2008


Not sure why one of my links got turned to bold, but here it is again: http://cloverfieldclues.blogspot.com/
posted by Nelsormensch at 12:01 PM on January 21, 2008


I had no idea that the virals were this elaborate. If you look at Rob's myspace page, it appears that the cover for the surprise party was watching season seven of buffy. Heh.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:12 PM on January 21, 2008


I heard that the satellite supposedly "woke up" the monster when it crashed into the sea (as glimpsed in the final shot of the movie), but that doesn't make sense to me. From what I saw of the viral marketing, the creature came from the Mediterranean.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2008


Ok, all you viral lovin' people, what's the story behind the monster? Native to earth or some illegal alien? What was it doing at the bottom of the ocean?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:36 PM on January 21, 2008


Another high-jacking (forgive me): What was up with the Statue of Liberty's head? The party was downtown, right? They had already seen glimpses of the destruction of midtown. Weren't they looking uptown when the head came flying towards them? And since the monster was already in the city, how did it knock the head off anyway? Or was the head knocked off by flying debris?
posted by Evangeline at 12:58 PM on January 21, 2008


What was up with the Statue of Liberty's head?

It was a dramatic scene. To think of it as anything else ruins it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:11 PM on January 21, 2008


Don't get me wrong - I thought it was a great scene. And I can accept it when sci-fi monsters defy the laws of physics, but this seemed like a particularly egregious error (assuming I'm right). I know nothing about square-cube laws, etc., so if a layman like me can spot something like this, it's a pretty obvious mistake.

And hey, weren't you the guy who started this thread looking for answers?
posted by Evangeline at 1:17 PM on January 21, 2008


Perhaps the creature had already removed the head and carried it uptown?
posted by Bookhouse at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2008


Perhaps the creature had already removed the head and carried it uptown?

I don't know if that's the right answer, but I really, really like the image.
posted by Evangeline at 1:32 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ya, but not those answers :) I loved the film, especially in it's contrast to the monster movies of the 50s, but plots points and physics weren't high up on it's list of high points. I mean Lilly running around in heels? The camcorder battery not giving out for seven hours and surviving being thrown around all night? Hell, Hud even continuing to carry the damn camera around?!

But the movie is lovely statement on how screwed America is and how everyone knows it deep down but is pretending otherwise, which works fine as long as nothing really bad happens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:37 PM on January 21, 2008


If you want to get nitpicky about it, it would make more sense for the monster to methodically destroy the soldiers and tanks one by one, instead of just kind of flopping its tail around like it ain't no thang. Or what about the weird, Brownian journey across Manhattan? I mean it was apparently able to get from Midtown to the Brooklyn bridge rather quickly, but just kind of stays around Central Park? What is it a tourist from Cincinnati? And in the middle of all the chaos the government managed to setup a field hospital incredibly quickly? And what about the little monsters? Why did they just appear at dramatically important times?

Don't let the gimmicky nature of the film and its mise-en-scene attempts to fool you. This is not an attempt at realism. JJ Abrams invites this when he does viral marketing, but it is more akin to mythological monster stories, where things didn't really always make logical sense, but it wasn't suppose to.
posted by geoff. at 1:38 PM on January 21, 2008


BTW, here is a very pithy, but cool review of the movie by Tyler Cowen (an economist with an interesting blog).
posted by bove at 1:52 PM on January 21, 2008


BTW, here is a very pithy, but cool review of the movie by Tyler Cowen (an economist with an interesting blog).

A commentor from that blog suggests something I had thought of as well -- that the inevitable sequel shouldn't move the story ahead in time, but instaed simply show another person's camera. Personally, I felt that the movie was better when it was about the monster attacking the city, and sort of lost steam when it was just about the characters (say, everything after the girl from Freaks and Geeks died). A camera from a journalist could include much more footage of general humanity in turmoil. There's 8 million stories in the ravaged city, and this was just one.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:02 PM on January 21, 2008


At the party, there was a passed out girl on the couch. Do you recall anything special about that shot? I heard there was and I remember the shot and wondering why they were lingering on it, but didn't catch anything special.

It's Jamie Lascano from jamieandteddy.com/ - another viral marketing site tied to the movie. To access the videos, click on the bear pictures, and the password is jllovesth. Inside there's a series of videos she made for her boyfriend Teddy who was away on a trip. I presumed he (Teddy) was dead as he may have discovered something about the seabed nectar the Japanese drilling company (Tagruato) was harvesting for their subsidiary, Slusho. The seabed nectar was the packet he sent to Jamie that said "Keep Frozen" and instructed her not to eat. In video 11, Cloverfield Clues presumes she did eat the packet and she says she's going to Lily's party.

Lilly (the non anglo looking girl) was the only one to escape, yes? She was put in a helicopter ahead of the other three and that seemed to take off and make it.

I thought she died, I thought her helicopter went down. Although to be honest, I was watching the movie through knit of my scarf that I had pulled over my face because I was scared (and naturally, the scarf would save me) so I could have missed it. But, in Rob's final video in the tunnel he mentioned that it killed his brother and Hud and Marlena. No mention of Lily passing away.

The final scene of Rob and Beth on the ferris wheel, did you notice anything in the background? Supposedly something is there, but I didn't catch it.

I was looking for it, and didn't see it. Apparently, according to the viral sites, it's a piece of the Hatsui satellite from the Tagruato drilling company. It's supposedly "woke" the monster up. I've also read somewhere that Tagruato was drilling all over the globe and looking, in cold waters, for the seabed nectar. Someone hypothesized that the seabed nectar drilling woke the monster.

If you stayed till after the credits, what was in the audio transmission?

Here
is what was said.

And... on preview, wow, holy nerd girl.
posted by jerseygirl at 2:23 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't remark on the passed-out girl.

We thought Marlena's midsection rapidly expanded, then exploded- like a massive internal haemorrhage, ebola-stylez. The earlier-posted idea about anticoagulants in parasite spit was awesome.

I think Hud's monster was the same big monster, although I agree the scale was nuts. Camera zooming in agains a blank, reference-less sky is a good rationale.

You know, I really didn't understand the size of the monster AT ALL. One second it was on land smashing buildings, and then suddenly its tail came out of the river and smashed the bridge? Huh? How did we not see the giant monster walk into the river? And if it was still on land, how long is that tail? ...Or, was the tail a part of a second monster? It really looked different to me- the big land monster was brownish, smooth and moist, and toady looking-- whereas the river-tentacle looked scaly and black to me, like a snake. Anyone have any input about that?

Also, I thought the little spidermonsters were younguns, not parasites, and the big monster had some babies on its back or clinging to its belly or something, like a centipede. I did think maybe there were different-shaped legs on the little ones, but I can buy that if I look at caterpillars and butterflies- they seem to have different legs too although they're the same animal.

I'm pretty sure Lily lived. I LOVED it that she didn't whine about her stupid gold high heels, although I don't for a second believe that she or Hud would go along on Rob's errand to save Beth.

I didn't see the thing fall into the sea in the final shot, but a friend suggested that it's a nod to Mothra coming to earth.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:46 PM on January 21, 2008


The only two questions that I think maybe haven't been fully answered are the Marlena and Lily issues.

Justinians answer about anti-coagulants in the bites is really clever, and that would account for the eye-bleeding, but she died because her gut cavity rapidly inflated and blew out, similar to the soldier we see on the gurney. This means that something introduced into her blood stream caused a chemical reaction that rapidly produced a ton of gas inside her with no means of egress. Of course, why it only happened once the medics spotter her as a bite victim is pure movie.

When the main helicopter took off, and that big flaming hunk of something smashed into the street, I thought it was another chopper, possibly Lily's. But Whoever said that she wasn't mentioned as being killed by Rob under the bridge makes an excellent point.

You want to talk about plausibility? How about the fact that the monster managed to sneak up on the three of them in Central park without a sound, despite the fact that the military was in the process of pumping ordinance into the thing non-stop for the last two hours? Did they go on a DOJ-mandated coffee break and collectively stop shooting so the thing could tiptoe through the tulips?

(and for the record I strongly believe that to have been the main beastie. There's just no dramatic reason for the filmmakers to introduce a baby-monster for that scene. Generally, they erred on the side of movie instead of plausibility. For example, why was the monster SO interested in stopping in the park and eating Hud? All those people running around and shooting it, and it's just GOT to eat Hud?)

It's a movie, underneath all of the clever cinema verite trickery, and your disbelief will be most suspended, young grasshopper.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 3:02 PM on January 21, 2008


Of course, why it only happened once the medics spotter her as a bite victim is pure movie.

It was beginning to happen anyway, but the techs had experience with it and grabbed her and pulled her into an enclosed area so she would've...sprayed over everyone.

How about the fact that the monster managed to sneak up on the three of them in Central park without a sound,

I don't think it snuck on them, it was just already there and seemingly not moving. But still you'd think the 15 story monster would be kinda hard to miss, you know?

For example, why was the monster SO interested in stopping in the park and eating Hud?

Because Rob and Beth needed to be alone at the end, saying "I love you". to provide full circle to the themes of the movie. Can you imagine if Hud was there with them? "Well, what do you guys mean by love, you know, like get married and settle down love or just fuck buddies or what and are you only saying 'cause we're about to die 'cause..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:16 PM on January 21, 2008


I don't think it snuck on them, it was just already there and seemingly not moving. But still you'd think the 15 story monster would be kinda hard to miss, you know?

Make that a 15-story monster that at least should have had artillery shells, Javelin rockets, cluster munitions, and JDAMs exploding against it every two seconds.

And yeah, clearly the two leads had to have the last moments to themselves. I just found it odd that they iced Hud by having the monster look at him, think about him, ponder what it means to be a monster under the lens of our media-obsessed over-documented culture, decide that it would rather toil in obscurity and simply destroy cities for the love of destroying cities, and react angrily against the hype by finally deciding to eat the cameraman.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 3:32 PM on January 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


My theory is that the monster didn't want to be photographed and had been following Hud all the way through the film to destroy the camera.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:13 PM on January 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


So was the girl on the couch (Jamie) actually sick from eating the nectar that Teddy sent her? What is sea bed nectar, anyway?

I read that one of the cast members has commented that unless someone was specifically shown dying, we have to assume they'll be alive -- for the sequel.
posted by Locative at 5:07 PM on January 21, 2008


Confirming the object that is seen falling into the sea on the Coney Island footage at the end of the movie. When the video cuts out after the explosion in NYC, the video camera is filming the ocean and the object is seen falling from the sky on the right hand side of the shot, right before we see Rob and Beth sitting in the ferris wheel.

One assumption is that Robs camera is filming the first glimpse of monster as it arrives here (uninvited)
posted by worker_bee at 5:24 PM on January 21, 2008


Make that a 15-story monster that at least should have had artillery shells, Javelin rockets, cluster munitions, and JDAMs exploding against it every two seconds.

The Army had cleared out by the time Rob, Beth and Hud's helicopter crashed in Central Park. By the time the monster started munching on Hud, the military was maybe five minutes away from going "scorched earth" on Manhattan.
posted by Nelsormensch at 6:31 PM on January 21, 2008


I think Rob's camera actually created the monster at Coney Island. The monster then comes into Manhattan to find Rob and the camera that called it down to earth. The sequel will open a few months later when Rob, having figured this out, has to travel back in time to both Coney Island and Manhattan to convince his past selves not to use the camera. It will be called All Bad Things ...
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2008


I don't think you are going to get closure on this (where the monster came from, exactly why did she blow up etc etc...) ... certainly not from JJ Abrams. The sequel is inevitable (given the smash opening weekend) and he's going to keep something back for that (and the inevitable viral stuff and other spin-offs - comic?). I've got a bad feeling he's going to try and spin it out forever like Lost.

To a certain extent I can live with that (hey, I stopped watching Lost a long time ago)... but if he has Kirk and Spock drinking Slusho I'm going to be very annoyed.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:10 AM on January 22, 2008


Don't know if anyone else has posted this, didn't look like it. Also don't know off the top of my head how to post links, so here's the long of it:

http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/01/09/cloverfield-building-a-better-monster/

"Production notes" from Cloverfield--Abrams comments on what the monster is and why it does what it does, also what the little monsters are.
posted by starbaby at 7:29 AM on January 22, 2008


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