Review: ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Was A Surprise Disaster From Netflix
When I saw the Super Bowl advertisement that told me that a surprise sequel to Cloverfield was coming out, I was ecstatic. When I saw it was premiering on Netflix right after the game, I knew I was going to stay up late to watch that bad boy. The Cloverfield Paradox was something that didn’t feel like it has anything to do with the original movie until you see the parts that feel shoehorned in.
“Oh, I guess this was reshot in parts like that other sequel.” I said to myself during the film.
Like 10 Cloverfield Lane, I’m pretty positive that this movie was originally not supposed to be part of the Cloverfield universe, but the producers saw it could be reworked into one. They probably should’ve just written one specifically for that reason instead of chopping up a script and spilling plot points that make no sense at all. The last one was actually a good movie, but this one was the movie they re-worked into a bad work.
Premise: In the near future, Earth is suffering from a global energy crisis. The collective space agencies of the world prepare to launch the Cloverfield Station for testing of the Shepard particle accelerator, which would provide Earth with infinite energy if it works, but pundits fear it will create the “Cloverfield Paradox”, opening portals to other dimensions and allow horrors from those to threaten Earth. Among the crew is Ava Hamilton, who frets about leaving her husband Michael, a doctor, for potentially many years. The two struggle with their relationship after losing their children to a house fire.
With a stellar cast, competent directing, and a premise that sounds interesting, this movie fails to be good in almost every sense. It’s like watching Battlefield Earth — it looks like it costs a lot, it has a good team behind it, but everything else is a disaster.
While the cast is good, it’s lack of use for many of them is apparent. Do you know when you see a major actor or actress in a movie, and you know it’s not a cameo, and they have 2 or 3 scenes, then they disappear? That’s about half the cast. From the start of the movie you will see all of these characters for no reason, have them be underwritten, then have them die in pointless ways. The plot explains why they die, but it’s obvious the production of this movie was a complete mess from day one.
There are a few good surprises, however. This was already in the promotional material before it was announced Super Bowl night, but when something happens and the Earth disappears out of the space station window, I genuinely was taken aback. Space is a nightmarish vacuum of death, so looking out of the window and seeing your home replaced with nothingness is truly terrifying.
Paradox delivers on multiple moments like that which is meant to “shock.” The problem with having exciting shock moments is not being able to explain them in regards to the entire plot which they are supposed to be a part of. It was a whole bunch of LOST polar bear moments. You get to the end and wonder what any of that stuff had to do with this stuff. I almost feel like the writer who changed the script handed this in thinking it was due a month later, but got away with passing this off. No one noticed, they shot it, and Netflix said “F it, we’ll make it a gimmick Super Bowl spot movie.”
I can see why this film was dropped on Netflix by Paramount. This movie would’ve bombed big time, but since everyone has Netflix, they know people will all watch it out of convenience. It’s the sole reason I’m reviewing it right now: It was there and I didn’t have to leave my house and pay $15.
Overall, the movie was a complete mess. It’s another movie I wonder what could’ve been if it wasn’t hacked to pieces and put back together with other parts that don’t fit. If you have nothing do so for 2 hours, I guess it’s okay to watch it, but you’ll never get that time back.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.