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Beth: "What is that?!" Hud: It's-it's-it's a terrible thing."
~ Beth McIntyre and Hud Platt after the group sees the Clover.
Lily: "Do you guys know what it is? Out there? Do you know what that thing is?" Pryce: "If they know, they ain't telling me. Whatever it is, it's winning."
~ Lily Ford and Sergeant Pryce talking about the Clover.
The Clover, also known as the Cloverfield Monster, is the main antagonist of the 2008 found-footage monster film Cloverfield, the first film released as part of the Cloververse. A similar creature also briefly appears in The Cloverfield Paradox.
The Clover's origin is not explained by the film or its accompanying marketing material. What is known is that it emerged from the Atlantic Ocean, along with the parasites. Clover was 350-feet tall, yet still an infant. Before the events of the film it fed on an ocean floor liquid called seabed nectar, which is used in the film's famous icon, the Slusho! the company, and is believed to be highly addictive.
It was awakened by a falling satellite, seen in the final shot of the film which, chronologically, takes place before the events of the movie. The protagonists of the film (Rob, Hud, Lily, Marlena, and Beth) were unfortunate to have encountered the monster's attacks up close four times, and eventually, all died, except for Lilly who escaped into a military helicopter.
When the monster awoke, it then rampaged through New York, killing and eating any human it came across. Worse, a large number of giant parasites were released from its body and attacked the humans as well. It even went as far as to rip off the head of the Statue of Liberty and toss it into the streets of New York. The military entered the city shortly after the creature's appearance (implying that the government had been tracking it and was aware of its nature for some time) and engaged Clover in battles of ever-escalating intensity all over the city.
At the end of the movie, since regular bombings and bombardment had little effect on the Clover, the U.S. Air Force launched an immensely destructive attack (possibly an unusually large bomb or a series of very high-yield bombs) as a last resort in an operation that was named "The HAMMERDOWN Protocol." This ultimately killed the monster, its parasites, and also damaged or destroyed much of that region of New York City. Among the dead were Rob and Beth who hid under the Greyshot Arch in Central Park. In their final act they proclaimed their love for each other before being killed when the structure was destroyed in the strike.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Although the Clover monster did not appear in the spiritual sequel to the first film, an alien spaceship that appears at the end of the film had the exact same roar as the monster, so it is possible they are related. But considering the Clover monster is a sea monster and this monster is most likely from space due to the fact that it is a spaceship, this is impossible. No mention of the Clover beast is made by the characters, and the connection between the movies, if any, is not clear.
The Cloverfield Paradox
At the end of The Cloverfield Paradox, a Clover monster of the same species is seen with its head lashes through the clouds, and roars. This is believed to be an adult version of the monster, how it got to Earth is unknown but it is possible that The Shepard opened up gateways to millions of dimensions so it is possible that this monster entered Earth from the world in Cloverfield. This is implied to be Clover's mother.
The Clover is a quadrupedal aquatic monster with a long, forked tail. Its slender, triple-jointed front legs are longer than its hind legs, ending in multi-fingered hands that can bend backward, allowing the creature to knuckle-walk. Its hind legs are also double-jointed while its skin is light grey with darker speckles. Two "external esophagi," which end in tooth-like projections, extend from the monster's lower chest. The Clover's head has sharp, bony features, two eyes with massive black pupils, and a pair of membranous sacks on the sides, which can inflate and recede back into the head.
Powers and Abilities
Immense Strength: The creature possesses immense physical strength due to its enormous size as it was able to wipe out several landmarks with ease, including tearing the head of the Statue of Liberty off and throwing it into the streets of the city. The creatures tail was shown to be strong enough to smash through the Brooklyn Bridge, which was fortified to withstand 49,200 tons of pressure. It was able to damage skyscrapers, push over large buildings and in one early scene completely destroys the Woolworth Building, which crumbles to the ground in seconds.
Immense Durability: The beast seemed to be virtually invulnerable to conventional weaponry, withstanding shells from M1 tanks, AT-4 rockets, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, helicopter-fired rockets, field artillery and Mark 82 bombs (these last delivered by a B-2 bomber). The heaviest bombs had enough force to flatten Clover to the ground, though it was able to recover quickly. The creature was, however, killed by a last-resort strike which damaged much of Manhatten, codenamed the "Hammerdown Protocol". The nature of the munition used is not known but it is likely a very high-yield explosive such as a fuel air explosive, a thermobaric "MOAB" or a deep-penetration weapon designed to destroy bunkers (possibly multiple such weapons delivered in rapid succession). The military waited until the creature had entered the open areas of Central Park in an attempt to minimize collateral damage.
Immense Leaping: When attacking the helicopter containing Rob, Beth, and Hud, the Clover managed to achieve a leaping height of approximately 560 feet.
Aquatic: Clover can survive in the deep sea where it originated. What it was seeking in the urban environment of New York is not explained.
Whatever weapon was used at the finale couldn't have completely obliterated the entire area Clover was in, since the video camera which had footage of what the human protagonists experienced was not destroyed; this likely rules out a nuclear weapon. This could most likely explain why audiences believe that it is more likely the monster survived than had been killed by the bombings, although J.J. Abrams stated that the monster was killed. In any case, the United States ultimately survived the Clover rampage, as the beginning of the film shows government classification information indicating that the film itself is recovered evidence in military possession.
The screen time of Clover was kept to a minimum, with the humans and giant parasites taking up most of the screen time. Much of Clover's rampage happened off-screen with the audience witnessing the shocking aftermath.
A 14-inch limited edition figure of Clover was released by Hasbro on December 24, 2008. It comes with accessories including the damaged head of the Statue of Liberty, two changeable heads of the monster (one with an open mouth to represent his calm mood and the other with a closed mouth to represent his agitated mood), and 10 static figures of the monsters parasites.
In a MAD parody, Clifford is spoofed as the big monster attacking the city.