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Cloverfield Monster Ain’t No Big G

Cloverfield Monster Ain’t No Big G” width=”560″/>

As my brain gradually metamorphoses into a two pound sentient callus, I find myself disappointed by a lot of films I once would have earnestly embraced. Cloverfield was not one of them: This one I thoroughly enjoyed. I got out of it exactly what I went in for: a realistic, post-9/11 Godzilla movie.

That’s not to say it wasn’t entirely without disappointments. In fact, one thing I keep marveling at is exactly how lackluster Cloverfield’s monster design was.

It seems hard to screw up a giant monster. If a bunch of Toho designers can come up with an iconvia a roll of foam rubber and a couple thousand yen, Hollywood should be able to come up with something just as riveting with its CGI technology and $50 million dollars. And, in truth, Cloverfield’s monster is well animated. But it’s also decidedly uninteresting. There’s a reason the monster spends so much time lurking behind skyscrapers.

When you do finally see the killer creature clearly, it’s surprisingly uninspired. The designer has made a point of emphasizing that he tried to come up with a monster that was “biologically plausible” given its background as a deep sea creature, but to paraphrase Mr. Hyde from Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: “God made a lot of ass-ugly creatures on this Earth, but He didn’t see fit to make any of them with three legs. Why do you think that is?” It’s because tripodic creatures are easily destabilized, and evolution embraces symmetry as its central mechanical ideal.

So it’s not “biologically plausible.” Who cares? But worse, it looks stupid, as do many of the creature’s other features, such as a strangely humanoid face and a gigantic, pulsing bladder on its forehead. The parasites that pour off it are straight out of Starship Troopers.

It’s a good enough monster, certainly, but hardly superlative. And it certainly pales in comparison to some of the speculative fan designs. Cloverfield’s all about the premise of a realistic Godzilla movie, but the monster will never hold a candle to the Big G.

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