Film Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (USA, 2018) is not so complex

Not so long ago, in a galaxy pretty close, on a planet called Earth we saw the release of Cloverfield. Ten-Years-Ago to be precise. It was a hit at the time, unique with its clever use of found footage that had not been done to death (just yet). With J.J. Abrams producing and Matt Reeves directing, it really was a sleeper hit with a cult following and that was that. Everyone moved on and we continued to enjoy J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot production films for many years to come… then BAM! out comes 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman and begins a Cloverfield Anthology/Franchise of films all somehow interconnected within the same universe.

It’s now 2018 and we knew something was coming to the big screen this year to continue the series, the film The Cloverfield Paradox (named The God Particle while in Production) was finally announced via an intriguing trailer for the film which screened during the Super Bowl. To add to the surprise, the trailer let us know it had just been released on Netflix!

You heard right, the film was released pretty much immediately and completely skipped its anticipated theatrical run. Is this a good thing? I personally would have loved seeing another one on the big silver screen, but I can’t complain because I have one hell of a comfy couch.

Julius Onah (Writer of 22 Jump Street) directs with a script from Doug Jungh (one of the writers for Star Trek: Beyond). The film’s cast, meanwhile, is wide and varied, starring Daniel Brühl (Avengers Age of Ultron, Rush), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror), Aksel Hennie, Chris O’ Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi and Donal Logue (Gotham).

The story follows a group of crew members which includ engineers and scientists (and a Monk Medic) orbiting Earth on a space vessel named Cloverfield Station. On board they are working with a device known as the Shepard Particle Accelerator. In a future where energy and resources are exceedingly short of supply, the Shephard Particle Accelerator is too powerful to test out on Earth, however, if they succeed in containing it in space, it could bring an unlimited supply of energy back home.

From there, you can imagine how things go head over feet pretty fast, the crew must work together to try and survive an extremely fast evolving hostile environment. Sound familiar? It’s been done before, but has it been done with the Cloverfield name attached? No… but does that make it better? Only just. The film’s overall premise and set-up is brilliant, it could go in so many directions and I was genuinely intrigued and excited, especially after the wonderfully dark and gritty 10 Cloverfield Lane. But what we end up receiving is just another episode of Black Mirror crossed with Passengers.

Yes, there is a hand that walks on its own, I still cannot quite explain that one.

While you may think that doesn’t sounds bad, you would be right, it isn’t bad, it just doesn’t go anywhere we haven’t seen before in recent years. After the first 20 minutes, the horror vibes of Event Horizon kicked in and I got so giddy and happy, for it to to just turn back on it’s horror premise and go out with a fizzle on a standard, how many ways can we kill off each crew member one by one slowly, sci-fi schlock. The movie Life did it better, even if Ryan Reynolds didn’t last long. I will give credit for the film’s score by Bear McCreary however, it was one of its few highlights, working on other TV and Film and Video Games for years now, with The Walking Dead and 10 Cloverfield Lane also among his credits.

What also makes this slightly more bearable for me is the integration of the Cloverfield universe, without it, I’m not sure the film would be worth more than a passing mention. Which is sad really, because the marketing behind this film is so far advanced for our time, it was probably even more exciting than the film itself.

Think about it… the film released its trailer mere hours before its release, leaving absolutely no time for internet trolls to start hacking it pieces, no internet forums and social media pages with fan theories for 6 months before its release. The film comes out and all we can do to see what it’s all about is to watch it! It is pure genius, no matter how you put it and I absolutely loved the change in marketing. Imagine if the Star Wars films never got a Theatrical Trailer before release? I can’t even begin to fathom the idea; the pure chaos it would cause.

I am actually starting to wonder how many other films after The Cloverfield Paradox and Bright will get the Netflix treatment at the rate this is going? Bad Boys for Life anyone? Cannot wait!

Review Score: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Cloverfield Paradox is out now on Netflix