The Cloverfield movies have been an enigma, to say the least. Loosely tied together by the monsters that inhabit their universe and releasing when they feel like it. The original Cloverfield released back in 2008, just to put things in perspective. Then fast forward EIGHT years ahead to 2016 and we get the fantastic 10 Cloverfield Lane. Great movie, but it isn’t until the end that we realize just how this and the original are connected. The Cloverfield Paradox is yet another installment that does it’s own thing while also keeping itself vaguely associated with the series.
For the past couple years rumors had been coming and going revolving around the next movie in the Cloverfield series. Known as the “God Particle” back then, this installment was a screenplay, bought and re-written (multiple times mind you) in order to fit it into the Cloverfield Universe. Generally by now, a trilogy of movies would have summed things up and worked it’s way towards a conclusion, but not Cloverfield. Here we are, three movies in, with a fourth on the way, and we have more questions than answers it seems. Which isn’t a bad thing in this case considering these movies have gotten progressively better since the original.
Cloverfield, introduced us to the monsters, they took center stage in the shaky-cam original. On it’s own it served as a solid found footage film that didn’t necessarily need or warrant a sequel, but hey, good movies make good money so why not see how much you can get away with. Eight years later we get 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is by far the best so far, and that focused more on a trio of people just trying to survive and figure out how things got to this point. The Cloverfield Paradox focuses on a group of scientists in space playing around with God Particles and multi-verses and quantum physics. A natural next step in the Cloverfield universe, obviously.
This film is more of a prequel/ runs along side the first film kind of thing.. I guess? Earth is running out of resources and the human-race is on the brink of war. In an attempt to create everlasting, renewable energy a group of scientists go into space and spend 2 years playing around with, what is basically a giant Hadron Collider. That way if anything were to go wrong, only they would blow up and not the planet. It’s important to note here that this movie takes place in outer space, so obviously anything that can go wrong does go wrong. In an attempt to not spoil anything the movie dabbles in alternate realities and the idea that atoms can exist in 2 places at once, in fact proving that alternate realities can exist. If nothing else, this movie is great for those that love the science behind it.
Near the beginning of the film a news anchor interviews some unknown important guy that hints as to why these monsters appeared in the first place. While it isn’t touched on in the way that it should, this seemingly minor interview actually gives us some rather important information. Basically, when you’re playing with atoms, there is a potential ripple affect that can cause serious abnormalities in space time. The author/scientist states that a number of things could happen should the firing of this gadget be successful. He claims that alternate dimensions could be opened and “demons” could be pulled in… among other things. Hopefully the next Cloverfield movie touches on this important bit of knowledge because guess what, after the team fires the laser these creatures start appearing on Earth, so I feel like that dude knew what he was talking about, its always the “crazy” ones.
Anyway, this sets the stage for the other two films, hence prequel. However, while things are happening to the crew in space, we also get little clips of the shit going down on Earth, hence the “running along side the first film” idea. This is all we get in terms of answers for the over-arcing story. The Cloverfield series are the only Kaiju type films that doesn’t focus on the damn Kaiju’s!
The pacing of this movie is pretty solid for the duration of the near 2 hour run time. We get our opening, shit hits the fan, and things don’t really let up until the end. While this film is far from perfect the cast does a good job playing their designated roles and the immense amount of CG is pretty spot on. As I previously stated, this film kind of just does it’s own thing. The name, or term, Cloverfield is tossed around, but aside from that and some brief scenes on Earth, it just stands on it’s own. Really, this should have been the first movie in the franchise, seeing as how it’s more of a stage-setter than a sequel.
What this film does very well, but sadly not enough of, is the body horror. What good is a sci-fi film without some seriously disturbing scenes right? From rooting around in a guy’s chest cavity to a woman randomly appearing in a wall, The Cloverfield Paradox does a great job of occasionally turning your stomach. Sadly, these moments are fleeting.
The biggest issue Paradox runs into is distinguishing itself as what kind of a movie it wants to be. It’s a Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller, that sometimes gives you a laugh and maybe tugs at your heart strings.. The cast does a good job of working with the roles they’re given but some characters go grossly under-utilized while others were blatantly favored. This makes it difficult for you to always care about whats happening to these stranded characters. Sadly, the movie is pretty predictable as well, for those familiar with the genre’s it pulls from, no one is reinventing the wheel here.
While The Cloverfield Paradox suffers from identity issues, it’s still a movie you’ll find yourself enjoying, regardless of it’s issues, and not all movies can say that. The great cast, body horror scenes, and Cloverfield lore we get teased with make this a decent installment in the franchise. Hopefully the fourth one will give us the remaining answers we still have questions to. And with the random, early release of the film on Netflix, who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing that sooner than we think!