The Cloverfield Paradox
The Cloverfield movies’ marketing campaigns have been absolutely fascinating to watch. The first trailers or posters for the films have been announced mere weeks before the film is set to premiere (when some productions begin nearly a year before), creating the sort of shockwaves that sent people into the theater to watch it. The third installation of this franchise has gone even farther in its unconventional marketing: it premiered its first trailer during the Superbowl match and announced that the film would be available to watch on Netflix right after the match.
The Cloverfield Paradox is the supposed origin story of the strange going-ons in the previous Cloverfield universe. After an energy crisis on earth, a space crew is sent to space to try and figure out a way to harness an energy source so that they can use power the entire world permanently. However, during one of the tests, the crew accidentally rips a hole in the space-time continuum launching them into an alternate reality.
The sci-fi intrigue is certainly there to capture our attention, and there is a spectacular cast assembled as well with the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, and Chris O’Dowd popping up. However, there is a certain aspect of the film that you can’t help shaking off; this film was originally going to be called God Particle and was not going to be part of the Cloverfield franchise at all, in fact it was filmed that way. It was only during the editing process that minor references were made in order to tie the film into the franchise. This may have cause the studio Paramount to abandon releasing it in theaters, thinking it would be a flop, and instead it was sold to Netflix.
This narrative disconnect is very apparent, to the point that you are basically just watching an independent sci-fi movie. This may have been fine if the movie had only been worth watching. The problem here is not only an unexplored aspects of alternate realities, but the whole structure and plot of the film are incredibly generic, down to it’s silly twists and villains in the end, which you can see coming from a mile away.
You can’t help but feel such an amazing opportunity wasted with this J.J. Abrams-produced franchise, and the amazing cast is downtrodden by a wonky script and indifferent directing. In the end The Cloverfield Paradox, might answer the origin story questions you had from previous films, but it does so in a predictable and incredibly bland manner that doesn’t make it worth your time.