THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)
Directed by: Julius Onah
Written by: Julius Onah, Oren Uziel, Doug Jung
Director of Photography: Dan Mindel (Enemy of the State, John Carter, Savages, Star Trek, Pacific Rim Uprising)
Run Time: 102 min
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Do you remember as a child doing the color by numbers paintings? Is that still a thing? Well, that’s what ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ felt like. 1 = blue, 2 = red, 3 = bending space-time..you get it.
When Earth’s natural resources are running low, nations threaten to invade nation, and a multinational crewed space station is humanity’s last, best hope. Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) reluctantly agrees, and is convinced by her husband Michael (Roger Davies) to take to space to be a part of something bigger. The Cloverfield Station’s purpose is to discover a new form of reusable power that will save humanity.
Test after test of their super collider / flux capacitor / timey-wimey machine fails. They spend weeks, months, and years afloat in low Earth orbit desperately trying to get this thing to work. Each crew member wears their national flag on their shoulder, to 1.) Let us know it’s a multinational effort and 2.) Convince us the money spent on accent acting was well spent and convincing. All the while Michael is keeping Hamilton up to speed about an impending invasion of the Russians and other global strife. After being evacuated, he hits the road and finds a little orphan girl. I think her name was Red Herring.
With their backs to the wall, with only enough fuel for three more experiment tires…SUCCESS! Or, so they think. Space time is ripped, a portal is opened, flinging the Cloverfield Station into another dimension with a parallel Earth.
A woman, Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki), appears and is tangled in the wires behind a wall panel, and other strange things begin to happen.
Crew member pukes up a barrel of research worms, another has his arm sucked into the wall panel and severed off (it later crawls around autonomously), the same crew member is engulfed by a web of metal tentacles into the ships hull. While another is almost drowned, then frozen like a fish in a shallow North Dakota pond. One after one, crew members are killed until the final two survivors make their way back to the Earth’s surface.
A world filled with…KAIJU! (yawn)
Woman of color in the lead role. The Blacks aren’t the first crew members to die.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
When multiple “Oh shit” moments would have been perfectly reasonable or expected, sadly they were glaringly absent. The use of science to explain the paradox was weak and a missed opportunity.It felt like the drama was artificial injected giving us a mock sense of suspense and expectation. Tried to tangentially tie-in to ‘Cloverfield’ and ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ by the thinnest of threads as possible.
‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ tries to jam, unsuccessfully, ‘Alien’, ‘Then There Were None’, and ‘Interstellar’ into one predictable movie. Forget what I said about color by numbers painting. This was more like a puzzle for preschoolers. Four to five large pieces that fit easily together, but simple and uncomplicated. With such a cast of talented, proven actors who did their best with material that was far beneath their abilities, this movie did them a disservice.
written by Jerrell Young