Film Review

The Cloverfield Paradox

So what exactly is The Cloverfield Paradox supposed to be about? A bunch of people on a spaceship that is spazzing out big time? I get what they were going for here, a cool cosmic origin story for the Lovecraftian genre-games of the other two films but this is one slapdash, nonsensical bit of silliness that doesn’t feel warranted or like it has its solid footing in the mythology of this story or simply being an effective SciFi horror at all. In an attempt to provide both backstory, context and texture to both the excellent Cloverfield and its subsequent sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane (which I also was disappointed by, but that’s for another review), this tells the story of an intergalactic mission to quell an incoming war on a distant planet by presenting an energy saving device. A crew from earth does their best but the invention ends up being a mistake, ripping a new orifice in time and space and and causing the forces of physics and reality to do some serious monkeying around. This offers up vague explanations for the monster in Cloverfield, the extraterrestrials in 10 Lane and *some* weird shit that happens in this one too but it’s never enough, never explained clearly and never seems as much fun as it should based on the potential of the overall premise. It’s a shame because they’ve given this thing the royal treatment in terms of casting, which includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, John Ortiz, Chris O’ Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Simon Pegg, Greg Grunberg, Donal Logue, Elizabeth Debicki and more. None of them really get much to do though and seem a bit lost in the uncharted stars of this underdeveloped narrative that tries to be dread inducing and Lovecraftian and just feels like a cosmic sinkhole of muddled missed opportunity. It’s starts off pretty good and the atmosphere of impending ‘something’ as they prepare to activate the device is palpable and exhilarating and then… it’s just loses steam quicker than I’ve ever seen based on the potential it had. Maybe it has something to do with being rushed into production to be released on the fly after a super-bowl game? That in itself is a great promotional idea and tremendously exciting but then at least make sure your film is as engaging and terrific as your marketing campaign because this thing has more issues than National Geographic. Pass.

-Nate Hill

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