Initially set up as a possibly exciting prequel to Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Cloverfield Paradox fails to deliver, suffering from a lack of characterisation and an unsound storyline.
Late on the same Sunday night as Superbowl, as I went to turn on another episode of Israeli political thriller Fauda on Netflix, I came upon a strange teaser of a movie called The Cloverfield Paradox. I thought surely it had something to do with the Cloverfield films, the name was just too similar.
But I hadn’t heard that any sequel called The Cloverfield Paradox existed, let alone was to be released on Netflix. So I noted it for the next day and carried on my merry TV watching way.
The next day, I looked it up, and was ecstatic when I found out that it truly was another installment of the franchise.
It had an awesome lineup of actors, and after seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane I thought the movie itself couldn’t go wrong, so I put it on my must watch list and didn’t really bother to look at the reviews.
Two weeks later, on a Friday night, and after looking forward to it all day, I sat down and watched it. And it was okay. Just okay.
The Cloverfield Paradox takes a different approach to its predecessors, basing the majority of the movie in space. It focuses on a group of international astronauts and scientists who, after the world faces a global energy crisis, are launched up into space to work on creating a particle accelerator which could not only power the entire planet but also (according to a conspiracy theory writer we see being interviewed as a member of the crew watches TV) could rip a whole in the fabric of space and intertwine multiple dimensions, creating chaos, and releasing monsters and other beasts.
It sounds awesome at first, but we never actually get to see much of that.
What could have served as an interesting prequel to the first films ended up being just another alright space film.
Instead of trying to recreate the worn ‘space station in peril as the world fall in disarray’ theme and impress us with its visuals, which to be fair, were quite good, The Cloverfield Paradox should have focused on the human perspective on earth.
There just wasn’t enough going on between the characters to justify the length of time we watch the crew go through cliché space ship plot-fillers, like the Alien-esque stomach scene.
The lack of chemistry between the characters left a lot to be desired.
Take the film Arrival for example. It took its time to focus on Amy Adams’ character and her relationship with not only her other human counterparts but also with the aliens.
We delved into her thoughts, her feelings, her opinion on the concepts of morality and communication. We built a personal connection with her and the film’s other characters, and because of that, Arrival became one of my favourite films of all time.
That’s also the reason 10 Cloverfield Lane was so good. They weren’t afraid to get in the heads of the protagonists, which is why I could sit there and watch 3 people in a bunker for almost 2 hours without losing interest.
But with The Cloverfield Paradox, I was left with several characters running around a ship that I never got to know, and this just left me with a lack of empathy and tension, not only with the characters but the movie itself.
Also, there was a serious lack of continuity, starting with the film’s concept: the space mission.
The reason behind the energy crisis on earth made absolutely no sense.
Why was there no such thing as solar power, hydroelectric power, or a type of algal biofuel? Wouldn’t that have been a timelier and sustainable way to generate energy than to send up a space station that only might work, especially when the world could possibly be on the brink of war?
That and the film’s editing left me feeling just confused half the time, instead of worried or scared.
In the end, The Cloverfield Paradox will leave you mildly amused, and a bit disappointed if I’m honest. I'm sad to say it, but it’s only something you might watch during the day while during some chores, not as the evening’s main entertainment.