The Cloverfield Paradox – Review

Cloverfield; a giant space station orbiting the planet with scientists testing a device to try and solve the energy crisis. Things go wrong and they end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

Expectations run high with a logline like that and the name Cloverfield in the title. Too bad it was one large, confusing, this-can’t-be-only-an-hour-and-forty-five-minutes, disappointment of a film. The way this movie was dropped on Netflix left the viewers of the film with a completely blank canvas. No premonitions and pure excitement, anything could have happened. So what went wrong?

(Warning: May contain spoilers)

Hands down Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and the Beast, Black Mirror: San Junipero) was the best part about this movie. Her performance sold me on the Cloverfield world. Honourable mentions to Chris O’Dowd’s (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids) perfectly timed comedy relief and to Elizabeth Debicki (The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Guardian’s of the Galaxy Volume 2) for making me think we entered some CGI realm; other-worldly.

For what they were given, the cast did the best that they could. Even though the directing was basic and the special effects were adequate at best, the real problems of the film lay within the script. First, that it was originally a film titled God Particle where, “during a war against Russia, a group of American astronauts find themselves at stake when they come upon the fact that Earth has disappeared and that a Russian ship is trying to make contact with them.” Then it was later announced as the third of J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield series. The audience felt like Debicki’s character, Jensen, after the crew warped into another part of the galaxy/timeline; a forced merge and uncomfortable to say the least.  

Secondly, the amount of exposition in this movie is catastrophic. Not to mention the writer must have watched Ruban Fleischer’s Zombieland because they doubled tapped us all movie long. They’ll start the movie with a four-minute montage showing us how long they’ve been in space and what they’ve been trying to do. Cut to present day and the characters then tell you everything that happened in the montage you just watched. This is done throughout the movie. Come on.

Although the little individual stories were good, the movie as a whole felt like just that. A bunch of little stories that haven’t been properly expanded, there was no pay off moment. Nothing felt justified. Characters were pulling out answers to questions that we didn’t even know needed to be asked and skipped over just basic science and logic.

That being said, watching a guy die by worms exploding out of his mouth was very funny.

Overall an ok “scary” movie to watch for fun with friends and to tie into the world of Cloverfield.

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