Like many of you, I was watching Superbowl 52 (I refuse to congratulate the city of Philadelphia) and saw the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, a film that claims to explain the origins of the 2008 hit film Cloverfield. A secret Netflix exclusive seemed too good to pass up so I decided to do a last-minute review. For those of you who saw this trailer and thought that you were finally going to get the answers to your ten-year-old Cloverfield questions, I’m afraid you have been misled…again. If you remember 10 Cloverfield Lane, it was a film supposedly in the same universe as Cloverfield but was actually a film that originally had nothing to do with the first movie at all. What happened was Bad Robot got their hands on a film trapped in development hell and decided to add some Cloverfield references to it. Sadly, this is what we are dealing with again.
First things first, I’m really getting tired of the “Our planet is doomed; climate change is going to kill us all” premises. I get it Hollywood; you think everyone is going to die unless they invest trillions of dollars to cut the average global temperature in the year 2100 by 0.17 degrees. But this doesn’t have to be the premise of every movie you produce for the next 7 years. The setup is the world’s energy reserves are going to be gone in 5 years and the earth is on the brink of global war. Funny I don’t remember any of this being mentioned in Cloverfield when it was a bunch of happy New Yorkers Hipsters having a goodbye party for their friend. The crew of the Cloverfield station goes to space find a new source of power, but critics warn this would create the “Cloverfield Paradox” and open portals to other dimensions that will let monsters come to Earth…but don’t listen to that guy, I’m sure he’s nuts.
The ‘answers’ that The Cloverfield Paradox advertised they would give goes like this, The team in space trying to create a new form of energy accidentally cause a rift in space-time which causes them to collide with an alternate dimension (multiverse) which in turn somehow causes monsters to appear in our version of Earth. Now, despite that explanation leaving the door open to more questions and plot holes, this movie won’t answer any of those for you, you’ll just have to accept that “Mistakes were made”.
If you can look past this disappointment and judge the film as a standalone, the film is basically a made for TV version of Life, the horror film with Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal from a year ago that was far better. Our main character of Ava is bland and her motivations are beyond basic. You have some familiar faces like David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, and Chris O’Dowd, however, they are underused to fill time for other characters you simply don’t connect with. You won’t be scared as a horror film, and the Sci-fi is about as forced as the tension. At the end of the day, you won’t get what you thought you were coming for.
The Cloverfield Paradox gets an A+ for marketing, Netflix and Bad Robot got you to watch their latest project by attaching the Cloverfield name to it. Let’s be honest, it is easy to see why Paramount dumped this film because it failed at everything that 10 Cloverfield Lane exceeded at. The best thing I can say about The Cloverfield Paradox is that your disappointment is relegated to Netflix and not $15 at the theaters.