“A generic world building film that ticks off every trope as it travels slowly along its run time.”
Directed by: Julius Onah
Written by: Oren Uziel
Runtime: 102 Mins
Release: 5 February 2018 (UK) / Streaming now on Netflix.
(It’s been a few weeks since I have last blogged so I am a bit rusty – it is amazing how quickly my ability to form words into coherent sentences has vanished – and so I thought I’d get back into the habit with an inconsequential review of a film that has now been out for a while and already discussed at length, therefore making my [quite possibly poorly written] interpretation hopefully go by somewhat unnoticed until my mojo returns)
I am a fan of the Cloverfield franchise. Like most I have been intrigued with how the creators behind it have managed to surprise its audience in a world of internet spoilers and constant leaks. The first film [Cloverfield], whilst being a tropey found footage cam film, redefined the classic monster movie, and 10 Cloverfield Lane built on the steady foundations to create a wonderfully claustrophobic single room thriller that expanded on the mythos whilst remaining a solitary entry.
The Cloverfield Paradox is the third entry in this ongoing anthology franchise and was released without warning onto Netflix to loud cheers from fans and the disappointed shrugs of critics. It is safe to say, now that several months have passed since its initial release, that the reason Paramount released this film onto a streaming service and not into cinemas is because they knew that it would not do well. It is not a bad film, but it isn’t that great either.
Advertised as THE explanation as to why the creatures that plague the Clover-verse exist, this film is less of an answer and more of a generic world building film that ticks off every trope as it travels slowly along its run time.
One of the main problems with this film, and how Paramount are handling the Cloverfield franchise as a whole, is that this wasn’t initially written to be a Clover-verse film. The original script was called ‘The God Particle’ and had nothing to do with a lot of the events seen in the final film, however the script was not deemed good enough and so received some special treatment to make it fit. I am aware this happens in Hollywood all of the time, yet I feel like it cheapens the franchise. Rather than make something original that fits perfectly into the created mythos the studio execs are just looking for mediocre scripts that they can just shove a monster into and call it Cloverfield.
Because of this The Cloverfield Paradox comes across as a sort of Frankenstein’s monster, with several ideas stitched together to form a creation that is not that nice to look at. Yes, there are some intriguing parts and enough information to have fans fill in a few boxes of their Clover-verse theories books, but when compared to the other two entries it is a poor chapter that leads into the run up of the oncoming television series.
The unfortunate thing is that, despite it being a mediocre somewhat enjoyable addition, this film is an integral part of the mythos. It does answer some questions as well as lay down the foundations for the later instalments, especially considering where the creatures come from as well as opening up the discussion of alternate realities even more. I just wish that the end result had been executed better.