Oh wow, this popped up out of nowhere. I mean, I knew this existed and that it was down the pipe, but I thought I remember reading something that this new Cloverfield movie had gotten delayed. Turns out, I guess that was a lie. But here’s the real kicker for me. Netflix? Really? Why? The previous films were theatrical. Why not this one? Oh well. It’s released, so I’m interested as always.
Actually, since I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, and it was late at night, I never watched the trailer. Quite literally, I don’t know what this movie is about. So… onward, I guess.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Gugu Mbatha-Raw (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST , MISS SLOANE , CONCUSSION , and upcoming films IRREPLACEABLE YOU  and A WRINKLE IN TIME ), Daniel Brühl (THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE , BURNT , JOYEUX NOEL , and upcoming films 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE  and MY ZOE ), Chris O’Dowd (MOLLY’S GAME , THOR: THE DARK WORLD , and the upcoming CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ), Elizabeth Debicki (VALERIAN , GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 , THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. , and upcoming films PETER RABBIT  and WIDOWS ), and Ziyi Zhang (TMNT , HERO , and upcoming films GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS  and GODZILLA VS. KONG ).
In support, we have David Oyelowo (A UNITED KINGDOM , CAPTIVE , and upcoming films GRINGO  and CHAOS WALKING ), John Ortiz (GOING IN STYLE , and upcoming films NOSTALGIA  and REPLICAS ), Roger Davies (stuff I’ve never heard of), Aksel Hennie (THE MARTIAN ), and Clover Nee, making her feature film debut. Congrats, miss.
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Julius Onah, known for a bunch of short films. Penning the screenplay is Oren Uziel, known for 1 episode of TV show MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY (2011 – 2013), and short film MORTAL KOMBAT: REBIRTH (2010). Composing the score is Bear McCreary, known for HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017), and upcoming film I STILL SEE YOU (2018). The cinematographer is Dan Mindel, known for ZOOLANDER 2 (2016), and the upcoming PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (2018). Finally, the film has three editors, Alan Baumgarten (MOLLY’S GAME, JOY , and ZOMBIELAND ), Matt Evans (unknown stuff), and Rebecca Valente (unknown stuff).
Overall, the Cloverfield franchise hasn’t let me down yet, so lets get to it.
This is my honest opinion of: THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX
The Earth is suffering from a power crisis that threatens to plunge the world into a war for what they have left. In order to solve this problem, the most brilliant minds from around the globe have collaborated aboard the space station The Shepard, to create a source of unlimited power for the world. Their initial attempts yield no success and after nearly two years aboard the space station, they’ve almost given up hope. But after one more fresh attempt, it works… briefly, before the station gets flung into space and the Earth is nowhere in sight.
You gotta hand it to these Cloverfield movies. When they get announced, it takes us by complete surprise, the intrigue skyrockets to the heavens, and certainly leave their marks in the minds of those who see them. The first one is pretty polarizing, some like it, some don’t, and the second was much more favorable among the masses and has generated many theories as to how it connected to the first film. Sadly, this movie is going to be remembered for something entirely different; for how bad it is. Yeah, if you’re anything like me, then this kind of hurts.
To be fair, it’s not a horrible film. There are some things about it that I like. Some of the visuals are pretty cool. There’s this one scene where a character is found stuck in a wall impaled by wires and chords. Another weird-ass scene where some dude gets his arm randomly caught in a wall and can’t get it free as the wall literally moves him around. Another scene where a room filled with water has a hull breach and the water snap-freezes. And another weird scene where a dude is pulled into a wall by… metal tentacle things. When these things happened, I was rather taken with with the effects.
Also, the acting is pretty damn good, specifically with Mbatha-Raw, Debicki, Brühl, and Zhang. I mean, they’re mostly dull and uninteresting characters, but the actors themselves have just enough charisma to keep me interes- er, paying attention, we’ll say.
Unfortunately, the things I like about it are pretty superficial and cosmetic at best. The film as a whole is a mess. It’s like everything these characters encounter is supposed to be a plot point goes nowhere and barely or never gets referenced again.
Early on, Volkov (Aksel Hennie) suggests that the only reason why their project keeps failing is because Schmidt (Brühl) is sabotaging it on purpose because… somehow that means Russia will get some of Germany’s resources if the project works? If I heard any of that correctly. Then at some point, a character vomits up a crap load of black worms. A character remarks, “Well, at least we know where the worms came from.” Uh… when were the worms referenced? Were they referenced at all? Remember when I said a character gets an arm caught in a wall? Well that same character loses the arm, unhurt by it in a bizarre show of sense of humor, but cruises through the entire movie barely acting like the arm was ever lost at all. If I lost an arm, I think I’d be traumatized or freaking out just a little bit more than this character was. Oh, and this arm somehow develops a mind of its own and writes to the crew. It makes zero sense.
In fact, so much of this movie makes zero sense. Throughout much of the film, they reference so much that we the audience never see. Events that we’re supposed to take at face value, wars that are about the begin between nations, choices that the characters once made, but only get referenced later on toward the end, it’s a convoluted mess. What’s even more bizarre is that all of this is supposedly supposed to take place back in 2008 when the events of the first film take place. But this is totally shoehorned in because that movie simply gives you the impression that it takes place in the present day, present world. There’s no references to war, or shortages of resources, a super high-tech space station trying to solve the problems of the world, nothing of that nature. I mean, okay sure, the concept of dimension-jumping isn’t lost on me, but… yeah, that’s not the impression this movie gives by the time the credits start rolling. Somehow, it’s like the movie is trying to convince us that “the future” was back in 2008. Blow me, movie.
I’m not going to lie, I thought the Cloverfield movies were going to do something similar to the video game franchise Final Fantasy, in that every succeeding installment isn’t a direct sequel of any kind. They only share a few things in common. In the case of Final Fantasy, the sequels share only the title of “final fantasy” and the giant chicken creatures, the chocobos. Cloverfield seemed to do something similar. They only share the title, this shady organization called Tagruato, and the soft drink company Slusho!, which Tagruato owns. Speaking of which, if you do your research (which no one is asking you to do with these movies), it’s mentioned that Tagruato mined the addictive special ingredient Seabed’s Nectar found in Slusho’s drinks, mined by the Japanese company, which is supposedly a major reason why Clover attacks New York. So… with that in mind, this movie is supposed to be the explanation where Clover and the other creatures come from. But… didn’t CLOVERFIELD already explain (kind of) where Clover came from? How does PARADOX tie in to anything? We know how it’s supposed to tie in, but it’s kind of weak as hell, isn’t it? Or am I seriously missing something? Would you be surprised if I had, given how bat-shit confusing this installment is?
Overall, I can’t say this is a good movie. It’s story and script is so beyond chaotic and devoid of any real focus that I can easily see someone hating this movie. You won’t hear me argue. Having said that, I did like some of the visuals and appreciated the efforts of the cast, but yeah, here’s to hoping that the Netflix inclusion is retconned and we never speak of it again. I can’t recommend this. It’s not the worst movie I’ve personally ever seen, but it’s not good. It’ll sooner give you a headache just trying to follow the many plots than the shaky cam of the first film. The future unleashed a whole lot of confusing and senseless things.
My honest rating for THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX: a weak 3/5