Movie Review – The Cloverfield Paradox

Review by Ray Schillaci
The Movie Guys

Perhaps J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield movies were never intended to be a trilogy. Maybe it was just a thought in passing that everyone who saw the title Cloverfield would look forward to a Outer Limits/Twilight Zone experience. The only problem with that train of thought is that it gets totally derailed with the third installment that was shrouded in mystery, and never hit theaters, but instead was quietly aired on Netflix. That aforementioned train not only derails but comes crashing down with a misguided and clumsy hint of a mash-up of the first two installments (that had nothing to do with each other).

Did anybody actually read the script before shooting? Had they, I could not imagine somebody not speaking up, saying – all earthbound sequences have to go and the final sixty seconds needs to be excised from the final print because it serves no purpose except to try and claim this film part of a trilogy. Sure, we get a quick explanation as to why the first two movies exist, but it only comes across like an easy cheat to relieve the writers, producers, and director of their responsibilities to the source materials.

As “high concepts” go, this latest in the Cloverfield series literally goes into the stratosphere. We have nearly depleted the Earth of its resources. Energy is soon to be non-existent, practically throwing us back to the dark ages and beyond. All our hopes hinge on a team of astronauts from different continents launching a new experimental system that in theory could bring free energy to all, solving mankind’s dilemma. But, after several unsuccessful tries, the final trial leads to the disappearance of the Earth.

The Cloverfield Paradox

Damn, what a cool idea. Why even clutter it up with unleashing a giant monster (Cloverfield) or ushering in alien beings out to destroy mankind (10 Cloverfield Lane)? But they do, and they fail miserably. Instead of getting an unexpected fun ending that shocks like the Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon wildly frenetic horror show, The Cabin in the Woods, Goddard and Whedon as producers give us something of an afterthought that peters out by the end.

Relative newcomers, director Julius Onah and writers Oren Uziel and Doug Jung keep the tension and intrigue going while in space. But, they hit the skids anytime they bring us back to Earth, giving us glimpses of the chaos being released. Those glimpses are more like teases with rumbling sounds of giant monsters and their shadows through smoke and rubble while a spouse of one of the astronauts seeks safety. Unfortunately, the audience is never saved through this rapidly falling project that ends in a thud ushering in WTF.

The Cloverfield Paradox

If the filmmakers had just left well enough alone. Not made it a Cloverfield movie, and stuck with their original concept; astronauts attempt to save the Earth, end up destroying it. If they just tweaked some of that and left all the rest of the nonsense behind, that other movie without the heavy weight of the title The Cloverfield Paradox might have been worth watching.
Directed by: Julius Onah
Release Date: February 4, 2018
Run Time: 102 Minutes
Country: USA
Distributor: Netflix

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