Greetings from the Ethereal Plane,
As per the viral marketing standards of J.J. Abrams, we were granted another installment of the Cloverfield franchise with The Cloverfield Paradox. According to various sources, this film was originally titled God Particle before Abrams and company snatched the script and added a bit of extra footage to tie it in with the Cloverfield mythos. 10 Cloverfield Lane was similarly bought and morphed into a Cloverfield film, but Paradox suffers tremendously with plot holes, misdirected characters, and strange events that don’t exactly match the quality or themes of previous installments.
The gist of the film is summed up in a recording from a scientist warning a news anchor of the possible repercussions the crew of Cloverfield Station might enact if their Shepard reactor is successfully initiated. Playing on fears of Hadron Colliders and environmental decay that have plagued us over the past few years, an interesting concept is poorly executed. Not that we didn’t enjoy the odd scenes of two realities merging into each other. There are definitely redeeming qualities about this film. What irked us was how sloppily Paradox attempts to tie into the Cloverfield universe. Minus a few looming shadows of Clover, and a (quite ridiculous) scene at the end that shows Clover, his size far too large to be of the same dimensions of the beast in the first film, there are no clear-cut connections between this film and the previous two.
There was a perfect opportunity to display cosmic horror with the opening of parallel universes, but rather than actually seeing monstrosities pouring from the sky (as the scientist conveniently explains early on), we are instead wrapped in an uninteresting story of the crew mashing between their universe and a parallel version of themselves. The acting is great for the most part, except a few weak accents from actors who are clearly not of the nationality they portray. Special effects are on par with much of Hollywood’s biggest films, especially the scenes where we see the Cloverfield station and earth out in the distance. As far as character development, there was an untapped source of interesting drama with the main character’s allure to the separate universe where her children are still alive. This device is explored temporarily before being dismissed in its entirety moments after.
We have a film that could have easily been the Event Horizon of a new generation, but which fails in its attempts to bank off the success of a popular franchise. It wouldn’t be right to say the film isn’t worth viewing. There are bizarre scenes that are entertaining in their own inexplicable nature. Where Paradox fails is in its efforts to alter a script that was interesting by itself, and in its inability to recognize where the story wished to go all along.