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Jocelyn Noveck’s “Cloudy 2” Sets Out to Spoil (And Does, Immediately)

In response to Jocelyn Noveck’s 624‑word review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Associated Press

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The first three words of Noveck’s “Review: ‘Cloudy 2’ _ gorgeous visuals, cheesy puns” are a spoiler, and indeed, the review indulges itself in spoiling things, right until the final sentence when it reiterates the first spoiler—just to make sure you didn’t miss it.

As an art form, the review has few hard-and-fast rules; subversion of the craft has become—for whatever—reason laudatory, proving rules are made to be broken. Yet Chesterton once said that art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.

Artistically and morally, it’s safe to say that relying on spoilers as a central conceit is the height of offense. Or is it genius?

“It’s not too much of a spoiler,” the author claims, yet Noveck delights in exposition that answers unasked questions with reckless abandon.

Gorgeous Visuals is one of those works that relies on graphic exposition, a snuff piece that kills what once lived and saps the life from its offspring. It’s devastating.

The fact is, Gorgeous Visuals is well-written, entertaining, and at a glance bereft of the shock value of its first sentence. But it resonates. Haunts.  It spoils early and often.

The audience is chilled, and should be.

Is this accidental, or exemplary of the latest subversion of the shifting lines drawn to contain the form of the review? As Noveck says, “enough on the plot.”

In an age where the world was largely uncharted, maps carried the warning “HERE THERE BE DRAGONS.” To say any more about the review than “HERE THERE BE SPOILERS” would be inappropriate.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation