The Cloverfield series has always been a strange one for a number of reasons. The main one is that Cloverfield embraced viral marketing like no film had ever done it before. It was a smart thing to do, because the ARG involving the first movie meant that with that the marketing was done. People would take care of that by themselves just by taking part in the game.
And The Cloverfield Paradox is the next logical move in that direction. After months of speculation, fueled by the movie not having a trailer so close to the release date, Netflix dropped the bomb during the Super Bowl. As soon as the match finished The Cloverfield Paradox would be out on the site. And they only had a 30 seconds trailer for it! It was a very smart move to do, especially in terms of generating buzz. However, does the film live up to this move? Not really. The Cloverfield Paradox is a victim of its own hype. Still, it looks like Paramount knew they had something unsalvageable in their hands. So offloading it to Netflix was a smart choice. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
This review contains some spoilers, but mostly because by sharing them I want to see if they’re real. I still can’t believe this movie happened. I keep thinking it was a weird dream.
“That’s my fucking arm!”
The Cloverfield Paradox involves a group of astronauts on a space station. The world is facing an energy crisis so they’re doing trials with a particle accelerator to see if they can fix it. However, once they manage to start the accelerator weird stuff starts to happen. And that’s pretty much everything that happens in the film.
The film tries to make these happenings horrifying, but still there’s something unintentionally funny about them. On one scene one character complains that the worms they had were missing, and minutes later a character explodes into worms. Chris O’Dowd‘s arm gets trapped in a hole, when they free him the arm is gone and later said arm is seen dragging itself around the station. And the arm “asks” for something to write. I swear I’m not making this up, a disembodied arm that still moves, and it’s not like Thing in The Addams Family. The film treats these events as something scary, but they have more of unintentional comedy to them.
I mean, Chris O’Dowd sees his arm, dragging itself on the ground and just points at it with his other arm and says “That’s my fucking arm.” What did these people smoke and where can I get some?!” By the way, I almost forgot, we have an earth sideplot as well, but it doesn’t contribute anything to the film at all. Well, it only gives a half-assed excuse to get more connections with Cloverfield as a franchise.
I can’t even think of any other quotes apart from the one of the arm
The thing about Cloverfield as a series is that it’s the Frankenstein monster of movie franchises. JJ Abrams is a mad scientist who walks around the Paramount lot, looking for films and approaches people with “Nice film. You know what would make it better? Making it part of the Cloverfield universe!” So they grab stand-alone films and then add connecting elements to the script, both a genius and lazy move. Still, it worked with 10 Cloverfield Lane.
It didn’t in this case. It might be a case of the odd numbers being the worst ones of the bunch, we’ll see when Overlord or Something Cloverfield Something gets released. Honestly, this film is such a waste. It would’ve been better as a comedy. Sure, it gives some explanation about why weird shit goes down in this universe, but it’s just so half-assed,
But I have questions. What if the real Cloverfield Paradox is that there is not a single field of clovers in any of the movies in this franchise?! What if the Cloverfields are really the friends we made along the way?!
Really, he loses an arm and he’s very chill about it. You can’t make this up.
Allow me to tell you a story. It’ll make sense in a while.
Two years ago I was back in Spain, either for Christmas or the summer. My mum and I were walking around my hometown’s park and we noticed a shed. We were confused by it, she assumed that it had something to do with the water company, I had no idea.
I walked past that shed repeatedly, a couple of times I saw the door open. I didn’t dare to look, it was this instinctive response of “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know this is a bad idea.” But last December I finally dared, I saw the door open and took a peek inside only to find a toilet. And I remember feeling this utter sense of disappointment at how terrible this revelation had been.
That underwhelming feeling of “So that was it?” was similar to the one I had watching the film. It’s such a waste. Getting a cast with people like Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who is the best thing in this film), David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd and Zhang Ziyi and underusing them like this movie does is a crime. The film would’ve been better as a comedy where O’Dowd chases his arm around the stage station!
Make me wonder how this film was when it was just The God Particle. It probably didn’t have such a lazy ending back then. I keep thinking that maybe what this franchise needs is to have a movie specifically written for it, rather than just cannibalizing an already existing script and adding tenuous connections to a bigger picture that makes little sense.
The Cloverfield Paradox is a victim of both its own hype and taking itself too seriously. And the connections to Cloverfield as a franchise are the laziest things I have ever seen.