Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

The latest installment of the Cloverfield movies came as a surprise. When people actually watched it, for the most part, they hated it. I see a lot of negative reviews from fans and critics. To get to the point, it is an okay movie. I love the franchise. The first film is a unique take on a monster movie with the sequel being one of the most intense thrillers I have seen in years. The Cloverfield Paradox explains the franchise in a somewhat interesting way, but not the most satisfying of executions.

The story takes place in a space station with various scientists from around the world trying to solve the planet’s energy crisis. The world is on the break of war, and they might be able to do some good for mankind if things go well. However, as the name of the film suggests, they get sucked into another dimension. The main threat becomes their own reality as they try to get home.

The scientists that take place on this station are Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who gets the most development as a character, Kiel (David Oyelowo), Schmidt (Daniel Bruhl), Monk (John Ortiz), Mundy (Chris O’Dowd), Volkov (Aksel Hennie), Tam (Ziyi Zhang), and a mysterious woman who gets transported to their station from another dimension named Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki). Nobody is that special of a character. Hamilton gets the most fleshed out with her relationship with her husband Michael (Roger Davies). Even then she is not the most exciting characters. A relatively typical troubled past and a relationship that has nothing unique to it. Other than that, nobody gets a whole lot of development. All of the actors do a fine job, but they are left with characters that do not have the best dynamic and typical drama that feels too short to give any weight.

The story was a bit difficult to understand for the most part to see what their primary objective in space was. The time paradox was not only mentioned in the title of the film but even in a throwaway scene with a guy on TV saying that this will happen. Which felt too forced. Let the audience discover what is happening in a more natural way like the first two movies. The mystery of the franchise is great, and this movie gave an easy answer. Even with the time paradox that explains this universe of movies, it did not feel as satisfying because it felt too easy to explain these events. However, this does make sense since J.J. Abrams has said in the past about the first two films being connected, but not in the traditional sense of a direct sequel. Cloverfield Paradox gives more insight to the other movies (I won’t put in too many details about that). It is interesting throughout the film to explore this idea but did not feel right exactly.

The directing was well done from Julius Onah, and the writing was interestingly done by Doug Jung and Oren Uziel, but maybe handing this movie to more experienced people would have been the smarter idea. The franchise has always done marketing differently and usually gives the power to people less experienced for a possible big break, but things did not work as well here. Maybe with someone with experience with a similar style of movie and in this genre then things could be different. Who knows what messed up from making this into an okay film from a great entry to the film’s universe.

There is a lot that is special to the franchise, especially the first two movies. There are strengths to the latest film with its special effects and interesting story but fails to deliver with characters and better development of the universe. Maybe keeping everything a mystery would have been better off since a time paradox feels too easy to explain the events in different movies. I personally enjoyed it as a fan of the series, but it is the weakest of the three. Something is just missing that puts it up to par with the other films. With a possible World War 1 entry that is rumored to come out late this year, we may get a film that will have something to it that makes this franchise so special.

You can see the movie for yourself on Netflix. As a fan of the franchise, I would highly recommend the first two films, especially the second 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Score: 6/10

Image via Netflix




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