We all know about the viral marketing campaign surrounding the film, and concerning the monster in, Cloverfield. Designed to drum up interest, it did just that, generating a record $46 millions dollars in its opening weekend. Sadly, I didn’t feel the movie lived up to the hype. The whole reason for the campaign, the monster, wasn’t even explained in the movie. Turns out, there was a reason for that.
Did you know there is a Cloverfield Alternate Reality Game tied into the marketing campaign? I didn’t either.
(Potential Spoilers to follow.)
ARGs are nothing new. LOST has had two, Halo has as well, while the movie A.I. started this whole, current, mess with its ARG, The Beast. But this one for Cloverfield has me perplexed. I stated in my review of the movie that I thought the marketing campaign had done a good job of generating interest in the monster, along with a host of questions. Questions which the movie then goes about not answering. I’m guessing many people felt the same way I did, as Cloverfield only made $12 million in it’s second weekend. That’s a huge drop. I’m guessing word of mouth had something to do with it, as most people, like me, wanted more answers about the monster.
If only they, and I, had known about the ARG, we could have learned all we needed to know about the monster before hand! That’s right, a lot of the questions I had about the monster are answered by the ARG, or at least the possibilities are narrowed greatly. I find it curious that the marketing people chose this strategy. If you’re going to make a monster movie, you’d better be ready to explain the monster in the film, or, at the very least, make the characters interesting enough to make people forget about the monster. That didn’t happen, and the marketing campaign hides the information, the answers that people want, in an ARG that most people didn’t even know existed or would even bother to participate in.
Now maybe this works for the younger set. People who have more free time to surf around the web and decipher clues and leads and such. But for me, I don’t have the time or the interest to do so. I’d like at least some of the answers to be in the film I’m watching, thank you very much, not buried around the net on a bunch of obscure web sites. If I’m going to be surfing on the web, it’ll be elsewhere.
Now we learn that, unsurprisingly, there is talk of a sequel, with its form still up in the air. It could be either the same events told by a different set of people in N.Y. (lame), or, as the the Cloverfield Clues blog puts it, “a more traditional movie that could provide the answers to some the the original film’s lingering questions.” Now, I find the term ‘lingering questions’ laughable. They aren’t lingering. If you’ve seen only the movie, they are stomping around New York, destroying buildings and dropping parasitic lice. Of course, if you’ve been involved in the ARG, you already know the answers to almost all the questions, so why make another movie to address those? That statement pretty much illustrates the problem I had with Cloverfield. The only question that hasn’t been answered in the ARG is: What happened to the monster? This would almost certainly have to be a more traditional monster movie, but will it be as successful as Cloverfield? Proabably not. I guess we’ll see.
For now, I find it somewhat disappointing that the story as told in the ARG is, to me, more interesting than what I saw on screen.