Editor’s Note: This article is spoiler-free, for those who haven’t see the movie yet. However, outgoing links may contain spoiler information.
Who was to know that when J.J. Abrams launched the first trailer for what we now know as Cloverfield that the buzz surrounding the movie would be so powerful that the famous Mann Chinese Theater in Los Angeles would have a special midnight showing of the film? Well, we won’t say “told you so!” — in fact, we didn’t tell you much, except that there were curious web sites to be found in July of last year, and that the Ethan Haas viral web site was officially unconnected to the 1-18-08 mystery. Thankfully, there are many resources out there for fans of the movie to get caught up on what’s happened in the web campaign so far, in case (like me) you decide that today is the day you finally take a look at some of this stuff.
I began this morning by taking a look through the Cloverfield forum section at Unfiction. I thanked my lucky stars when I came across this post by TheRabbit, which summarizes the story so far, chronologically, and links to all of the relevant sites. It’s easy to follow and helps to connect some of the dots that Abrams and his crew have left along the trail. Essentially, the experience seems to be a tale of the effect of environmental misdoings, which may or may not be connected to a secret ingredient in a popular beverage. I highly recommend reading the post, which looks to be a work in progress.
From there, I surfed over to cloverfieldclues.com which has been an ongoing archive of news regarding the movie and the online experience. The owner of the site, Dennis Acevedo, was recently interviewed on the NPR show “All Things Considered” as part of a feature on the movie and the buzz that was built along the way — our own Sean C. Stacey was also interviewed, but his contribution never made it to the final edit. The Cloverfield Clues web site offers readers a chance to view archives of the in-game web sites as well, which was handy to see today, as many of the sites are “under construction” after the U.S. release of the film.
Onward I went, to the Cloverfield wiki at Despoiler, which is another great source of information and archived items. Wikis seem to be the easiest way to compile info into a trail, and this one is as comprehensive as one would hope. User contributions help to keep facts organized, while discussion is relegated to tabbed Talk pages. The latest news page has documented the recent changes to the game’s web sites, and updates are ongoing.
So now that we’re all caught up, what now? Will the experience keep going, now that the movie is out? Will we see an extended reality that further explains events as they happened in the film? Or is this it for the Cloverfield web presence? While no one knows for sure — except Abrams and his creative team, of course — it seems to be a shame if all of this goes fades into the ether.