Film
The Cloverfield Paradox

Year
2018

Starring
Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi, Gugu-Mbatha-Raw

Directed by
Julius Onah

Tagline
None

Synopsis

An international company of scientists aboard a space station orbiting an Earth in crisis, attempt to solve the planet’s critical energy needs, but end up colliding their reality with another.

Review

This movie is a real stinker, there is no real way around saying that. This may not surprise the nerdier cinephiles, such as myself, who have been following the headlines regarding this troubled production. Once known as “The God Particle”, this movie’s rocky production and the aftermath is painfully apparent upon viewing. Unlike its predecessors, there is no tension and very little to be gained in the ways of entertainment value. However, it is still a win for Paramount and Netflix, even if everyone who watches this chaotic disaster of a film loses.

I have many complaints about the movie. The first has to do with the narrative structure. There is none. That’s a real problem as that’s the basic foundation on which you build any competent story. Things just kind of happen at random in this movie. While chaos can be a real obstacle for characters to overcome, it has to have a purpose. Random things can’t just happen for the sake of having them happen. That’s why The Joker is so effective in The Dark Knight, while his violence seems random he is also constantly testing Batman on a moral and emotional level. That’s is not what happens here. The weird dimensional story feels like a ham-fisted and convoluted excuse for having a series of unlikely and ridiculous events happen while also being able to provide an equally convoluted reason why all the Cloverfield films are connected.

This leads to my next complaint: the lame attempt at trying to connect the films. The original Cloverfield was a mediocre, found footage Kaiju film, but it was a standalone story. The second film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, was a thriller that was later retooled to fit into the Cloverfield brand. It was also a standalone story and a better one than its predecessor. The Cloverfield Paradox undermines that by trying to explain why and how those events happened and it is terribly unsatisfying. What excited me about the prospect of a Cloverfield franchise was the idea that each film would be its own story, seemingly unrelated to any of the other films. That kind of anthology film franchise would spit in the face of current conventional Hollywood attitudes regarding franchises and shared universes. This movie throws that exciting idea out the window and instead shits on the legacy of the first two films in a clumsy attempt to justify its own existence.

If you couldn’t tell, I really hated this movie. None the less, Netflix and Paramount struck gold with their unconventional style of release and marketing. It’s sad to say, but the story behind that is way more interesting than the movie itself. If you’d like to learn more about that, check out this article from Rolling Stone.