The final of the current Cloverfield movies. Like Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, Cloverfield Paradox goes in a completely different direction than the previous films.
This is, what I would call, the early 2000’s TV Sci-Fi version of Cloverfield. The plot tries to be pretty dramatic with the earth in a power crisis. They need to go into space to test out a machine that would be capable of solving earths power crisis. The best and the brightest are sent up and spend almost two years trying to get it to work while things get worse and worse on earth. Eventually, they get the machine up and running, but something is out of balance and things start to go hay-wire on the space station. Can they figure out what is happening and correct it in time to save earth, or will they all die?
Cloverfield Paradox is weird, and the style is just oddly done. Like I said, it is very reminiscent of an early 2000’s TV movie. The acting isn’t great, the style isn’t great, but it is still pretty enjoyable.There was something about the camera that reminded me of shows like Dark Matter and Helix on SyFy, and while it is kind of enjoyable to watch a movie with that look and feel, it was also kind of disappointing simply because the other Cloverfield movies have been such a high quality and well thought out. Because of that, it doesn’t feel like it quite matches with the rest of the series.
As for the writing, it also has that below par feel as compared to the other Cloverfield films. It is fairly hokey and while they try and keep a level of drama up, it doesn’t work. It also doesn’t help that the acting isn’t able to live up to the writing. Even though the writing isn’t great, there are two characters that are pretty solid, maybe three. Jensen and Monk, played by Elizabeth Debicki and John Ortiz respectively, are two characters that seem to have the most and best motivation and they actually live into that motivation more so than the other characters. Unfortunately, the main character, Hamilton, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, is a stiff character that they try and give depth to but it doesn’t work with her acting. Roger Davies, playing Michael and Daniel Bruhl as Schmidt are the other two best acted characters. The one surprisingly poor performance was Chris O’Dowd, from The It Crowd, it wasn’t that it was bad, but this seemed to be more of paycheck role than anything else.
Overall, this is a pretty basic Sci-Fi popcorn flick which isn’t as good as the others. If I didn’t have expectations and hopes for it, and if the Super Bowl teasers hadn’t made it look better, I think I would have been more inclined to enjoy it. It’s too oddly goofy at times and too poorly acted to be anything more than a bridge to what should hopefully be a good fourth and final Cloverfield movie.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Do not read below if you don’t want it spoiled.
I like a lot of the concepts for this movie. The idea of parallel dimensions and possibly even them not being from our Earth is interesting. However, that aspect is kind of glossed over as they look at it. It’s about getting home or then not getting home for the main character, and the motivations are a little bit weak. While it makes sense that they are capable of jumping back into action very quickly, it feels like it is rushed at times and compared to the first two Cloverfield films, in this one the characters aren’t allowed to breath and develop as much. I do think, as I talked about above, a fair amount of that can be attributed to acting as well. But the whole concept of parallel dimensions is something that’s interesting and it opens up a lot of questions for me as I think about it.
The biggest question about this movie, for me, is where does it fit into the Cloverfield universe and timeline. We don’t see monsters much like the first two, until late in the film when we see the typical shot of the giant Cloverfield monster. But that doesn’t help us place it in time. It seems probable that this is a while after the first two Cloverfield films, except for the monster shot. It opens up the possibility that the first two parallel universes they go to, the one where they start and the one which is where they transport to the first time, might be different Earths, because there is the power crisis, and in the first two Cloverfield movies, there isn’t a power crisis. I don’t remember it well enough to remember if it is possible that the last spot they go is truly Earth from the first two movies. It seems more likely that this is 10 to 15 years after the first two movies. But it is definitely open for some speculation as to when and where this one takes place.
Final, more spoilery focused thoughts. Would I watch this again, probably, because it’s part of the Cloverfield movies, but I wouldn’t randomly watch it again as I would with the other Cloverfield movies. I think that this movie gets the acting wrong and the style wrong as compared to the other movies. The slapstick nature at times, such as when Chris O’Dowd’s character loses an arm is just weird as compared to a lot of the rest of the story they are trying to tell. Should you watch it, only if you care to watch all the Cloverfield films.
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