The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Directed by: Julius Onah
Written by: Oren Uziel
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Chris O'Dowd, Clover Nee., Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Ortiz, Roger Davies, Zhang Ziyi
What is it all about?
Its….well…..you see…..there is this spaceship and………Roy from The IT Crowd is part of the crew. There is a problem on Earth so they do something, that triggers total utter chaos for reasons the film only bothers to try and explain for half the running time and oh yes! Its all connected to the original Cloverfield, not to 10 Cloverfield Lane which was a much superior film to the two, but now plays no significance anymore to the overall narrative. Confused? You will be!
Dropping onto Netflix like a sudden explosion which for a few people will be a much welcome delight, but for the more cynical minded, simply before “word of mouth gets around”, the latest addition to the now established Cloverfield universe is an odd ball that comes across like a gigantic space opera mess. Its muddled, confusing but never ever boring!
We have come a long way since we attended Rob’s farewell party, filmed entirely by his best friend Jason, a massive get together that was rudely interrupted by a mysterious creature that ripped apart the city with a fearsome rage. Ever wanted to know how that creature came about? Well Paradox is the film for you, even though at times its best that the entire mystery of what happened is left to the imagination because the explanation on offer here, doesn’t exactly thrill you like you expect!
Like the monster near Liberty Island, Cloverfield Paradox rampages across its own script, without a care in the world, leaving behind a mess for those watching to pick up the pieces. It does not care if the majority of it doesn’t make any sense, because the hope is that the last five minutes will give the fans of the franchise what they wanted and you will forget about the glaring plot holes that makes you what to lock yourself away in bunker with a demented John Goodman and think for a while “What is happening here?”. And what about 10 Cloverfield Lane? How does that fit into the narrative? To be honest, it could become the Halloween III of the franchise as it plays no part in what develops here, even though I do get the Paradox and the alternative universe that the set of films are trying to establish!
With the likes of Black Mirror having massive success, you can see now that the Cloverfield brand are now trying to set out a style of anthology films that basically have a some sort of link! While the original was of the found footage genre and the second, a slow burn built with sheer tension, the third goes all out and throws the kitchen sink at the screen, it doesn’t work for the majority of the time, especially as we have more or less seen all of this before!
Basically the Earth is in trouble and we not talking about a Meteorite heading our way and needing to call on upon Bruce Wills and co to do some drilling! Here, Earth’s energy is virtually running out and in about five years there will be none left which has already led to war beginning to break out. Astronauts are sent to space for one final mission to save mankind. To reboot something by using a Particle Accelerator, the usual Sci Fi nonsense that will have you twiddling your thumbs and just going along with it!
A stark warning from Donal (GOTHAM) Logue about what this experiment could do, is all you need to know about the film’s plot, I mean its such an important scene that once its played it out in all its three minute glory, then you basically get what is going too happen and what caused the original event in Cloverfield! The single scene is so plot heavy that if you somehow take your eyes off the screen and miss it, then you may be left scratching your head at what follows next.
The Astronauts of course ignore the rambling of a mad man, go along with what they were set out to do and hence we finally get the reason why a giant monster decided to gate crash a party way back in 2008. Its an explanation that will no doubt leave many of you cold because the beauty of the entire set of films is the mystery of it all. Even 10 Cloverfield for all its claustrophobic tension soaking atmosphere left us with more questions to ask, Paradox tells us in no uncertain terms what is happening and we are left with nothing but an unsatisfactory aftertaste.
Anyone hoping for an ALIEN meets Event Horizon will be massively disappointed as the film offers no alien or ghostly goings on, instead offering sprinkles of some really good scenes that are left on the wayside, no doubt thanks to a script having been rewritten for the Cloverfield brand. Cool moments like the Worm scene, maybe Alien possession, ghostly cries from within a wall, to even a severed arm having a mind of its own, are either explained, totally forgotten, or end up in such a confusing manner that you just give up caring. Fans of the criminally underrated masterpiece Coherence may get a kick out of the saggy plot on the spaceship, but when the brief moments on Earth are more memorable and exciting and hint at a better story, then you know the film has problems.
But despite all this, the film is never dull. The silliness sweeps the film to an OK watch and the fleeting moments of the monster itself only reminded me at just how much I loved the original and how there is still room for a proper sequel, one preferably with Mary Elizabeth Winstead back as Michelle and doing her best Ripley impression.
For me personally, my biggest gripe with Paradox is that somehow they had Chris O’ Dowd in the film and not once did he offer to solve the problem by saying the words “Have you tried knocking it on and off again?” which much like the film itself, is nothing more than a total wasted opportunity………….