Director: Julius Onah,
Starring. Daniel Bruhl, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, USA. 1h 42m
There was an amazing phenomenon back in 2008 when the original Cloverfield (2008) movie was released, it was interesting and enjoyable but it started and ended so obscurely, but the mystery gained the film fans and soon it became a franchise. The sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) is a brilliant, thriller, so very different from the original and yet so very scary with Alfred Hitchcock vibes but had hardly anything to do with the original film apart from the final 10 minutes. Looking forwards for a continuation of the story I was a bit shocked that there was a side step into the past but finally there is a reason why a giant bat-like beast appeared on the earth and took the head of the statue of liberty, but again this film has very little to do with the original movie, detail on why at the end of the review. Or just scroll on fanboy.
So not only do Netflix advertise this on the night of its release which happened to have been during the Super bowl, they expected a huge surge of dedicated fans to tune in, hopefully they weren’t expecting to rival the numbers, I don’t think they were bargaining on most of the immediate reviews to be more concerned about this ridiculous stunt that the movie itself but when you deliver a hashed job and make a fuss about it, people will notice!
So with very little notice Cloverfield Paradox was thrust onto an unsuspecting audience and in all fairness it’s a good science fiction thriller but the ludacris links to any other Cloverfield film is loose and messy. But there is a reason for this.. We enter a world in the not too distant future where we have a power shortage, the world is on the brink of war and conflicts are sparking up due to the lack of resources. An international group of scientists embark on a trip into space to test a new device which will sort out all of our power issues and hopefully bring about world peace, despite crack pots on the news saying this device will open a gateway and unleash demons (like we don’t know what’s going to happen), so after persistent failed attempts the get down to their last shot and it works, then it fails and they basically blow themselves into another dimension, but think they have shot themselves into space. Some incredibly strange things start to happen, their worms go missing from their enclosure (stay with me) and they find an unknown woman in the walls, with all kinds of wires and pipes growing through her body as if this is the Harbinger experiment. She instantly recognises the star of the movie, Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who has a terribly sad backstory and a lover who keeps in touch from earth, Michael Hamilton (Roger Davies) and keeps her distance from Ernst Schmidt (Daniel Bruhl) but keeps quiet about why until the shit really does hit the proverbial fan later on the movie. Eventually the Russian delegate cracks, 3D Prints a gun and tries to kill the crew before exploding and then things get even stranger. Eventually the team piece together where they are and what’s possibly going on along with a plan to right the wrongs.
The film was the God Particle film that no one was interested in, but bang Cloverfield in the title and juice up the beginning and end and you have a money maker on your hands, this also happened with 10 Cloverfield lane, which was a movie originally imagined as The Bunker, both of these projects were hijacked by J J Abrahms who added in a tiny bit of magic and slid it into the Cloverfield universe, hence why both don’t quite feel the same. There was no power crisis in the original film, it didn’t feel like anyone was ready to push a button to destroy another country, it’s all fluffy nonsense.
Still the film does have it’s merits, the visuals are impressive, both CGI and practical effects, Cousin It makes an appearance and helps the crew out to find clues and there’s a degree of tension. The apparent relationship between Ernst (Bruhl) and Tam (Zhang) is non existent, they fight like a couple and that’s it, also she speaks absolutely no English throughout the whole film but everyone seems to understand her but doesn’t respond in Chinese and I really couldn’t see the point in having her there , the team dynamics are very shoddy it’s hard to believe they had worked together for more than 5 minutes and to see a group of the world’s most brilliant intelligent sciency folk start squabbling like childish nationalists just doesn’t add to the narrative, we already know the world is in turmoil. We get it.
The plus side is that Onah is a dynamic director, the stylish space scenes are faultless along with some very forthright shooting on the interior of the ship. The story bounces around quite well, both on board and back on earth, as Michael struggles in a world that keeps losing power and is being destroyed by “monsters” but his hypocritical oath keeps him positive and helping others when he can.
R – Cloverfield (2008), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), Shin Godzilla (2016), Life (2017)
L – Sci fi films that almost made it..
A – Hijacking a movie