The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Film Review

The film everyone is talking about, announced during the Super Bowl that it would be released on Netflix after the game. Is this a new method of releasing a film or was this just damage control.

  At the start of the year, in my most anticipated films of the year list, this film was one of them. Under the title, God Particle, earlier reports mentioned that it wouldn’t be released till 2019. Other reports were stating that it would never be released or even questioned if it even existed. Then out of nowhere I get a message from one of my friends in the dawn of the night saying that the new Cloverfield film is available on Netflix. Much to my astonishment, it was all over social media, this new way of releasing a film with no marketing, apart from the Super Bowl teaser. It was exciting but I was also apprehensive as usually when a film has very little promotion it is usually to limit the damage of poor box office returns.

The world is running out of energy and on the brink of a large scale nuclear war. The last hope is a bunch of astronauts who are above the Earth in a space station running an experiment that would harness unlimited energy. The experiment is highly dangerous and has the ability to rip open space and time and unleash aliens and monsters, according to an expert on the television within the film. After the experiment was successful, things turn out to be slightly different. No-one is the same and everything is different.

A good concept for a sci-fi, the idea to rip open time and space is not new but an interesting avenue to take and play upon. This film will be known for it’s release method and sadly that is all it will be known for. The Cloverfield Paradox is a generic science fiction films that is full of stale characters that are hard to get invested in because of their lack of development. Praise must be given to the diversity of the cast, we should live in an age when this should be expected but we must triumph for the cast of POC’s. However, the character are generic and plain. There are some moments of hilarity from Chris O’Dowd’s character but never really go anywhere. When you can’t invest into a character when they are under threat, the tension dissipates.

The visuals do look great and some action scenes are fast paced and well shot but as said previously the action is slightly dimmed due the lack of character. There was also very little chemistry between the characters. For a team that has been together for almost two years it seems strange that they act like they just known each other for about 20 minutes. There is no connection between the crew and when someone is in danger it doesn’t really impact anyone. It was just really odd and was a major obstacle in being immersed within the film.

Also the connection with the Cloverfield universe was very weak. Some scenes were bookended to remind you that it was a Cloverfield film but they were out of place and didn’t really make sense. This was a Cloverfield film in the same way those Star Wars BB-8 oranges tasted like Star Wars. It was just a label to sell a film. I think the label harmed the film, I was sat throughout expecting some sort of connection and what I got was an out of place scene that felt so forced, it was comical. For a film that I adored back in 2008, it was a insult to try and force this onto a film that actually had promise and was ruined by the Cloverfielding of this film.

The Cloverfield Paradox had a lot of promise but was harmed by the Cloverfield label. Would this would of been made if it didn’t have the label? Probably not and that is not necessary a bad thing. This needed better characters, an ensemble film relies on the ensemble. If the characters doesn’t work, whatever surrounds it, which is a good concept, falters. This film is equivalent to lighting a firework, being excited for the sparks and the firework not going off. I don’t like to speculate but this exciting release looks to be damage control. From the constant shifted release dates to the return to theatrical releases for the 4th film. Cloverfield Paradox is a good sci-fi concept that doesn’t deliver and to connect it to the Cloverfield universe is laughable. So much promise but if only it was as exciting as the Super Bowl announcement. It was far from it.


Rating – ★★

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