"Hey guys, check out my arm. I think my arm is trying to write something." - Mundy
With energy running out the World is on the brink of War with the Russian Federation having already launched a ground invasion of somewhere or other. The last hope for humanity is an international space station and an energy device called "The Shepard", a particle accelerator that is apparently too powerful to be test on Earth. The device offers the hope of unlimited energy, you know through science and stuff, but thus far has proven to be something of a flop. Oh and by the way the space station is called "Cloverfield", what could go wrong right?
Our team of international scientists finally get the Shepard operational; unfortunately they overload the device and suddenly in the aftermath discover they are no longer in orbit around Earth! They discover a strange female on board, Jensen, and further discover they are in a parallel universe, deaths and destruction ensure. But wouldn't you know it things are even worse back on Earth. Can the survivors of the Cloverfield make it back to their Universe, and is mankind doomed to a Pacific Rim scenario?
Well this was a shocker; we had all heard about a new Cloverfield movie and were expecting it to hit cinemas at some time during the year, but subverting all this Netflix dropped the movie out of the blue, which pretty much sorted out my viewing last night. While I could bang on about why Netflix decided on this path, and the possible strategies involved in the decision, let's be honest a cinema release would have been a complete train wreck. To be short, The Cloverfield Paradox is simply a bad movie which does nothing to heighten the dubious reputation of the franchise. This movie and the last, 10 Cloverfield Lane, simply had Cloverfield elements added to try and build a following, but in both cases this just tended to make the two movies lesser than they could have been. Like Lane Paradox is a pretty decent concept on its own but is weighed down by dumb ideas thrust on it by the franchise.
To get some good gravy happening first up director Julius Onah doesn't spare the horses when it comes to the pace going down here. We get a few quick interludes to flesh some ideas out, which work by and largely when we aren't dealing with the human relationships, but fundamentally this is an action movie set in space that rampages from one situation to the next with nary a thought to resting the equines, hold onto your knickers it's a fast ride kids.
Back to some interludes and how this kills the overall flow of the movie. The Producers are so keen on including Cloverfield elements that we pretty much get two movies going down, no one is surprised by the monsters by now so the cloaking of alien incursions did nothing to enhance the viewers entertainment here. They should have stuck to what they had going down, a group of astronauts stuck in an alternative universe trying to get back to their own reality. There's enough happening there to keep us entertained, diverting into subplots really does nothing for the flow of ideas and what we are seeing.
Paradox reminded me of a couple of movies, one released last year and a classic Sci-Fi horror movie that dropped way back in 1997. The whole space station setup was very similar to 2017's Life, which sort of follows a similar trajectory; we get the same space technology and eventually alien lifeforms released into Earth's environment. Oh and to be even more on track we also get an international group of astronauts in extraordinary circumstances using rapidly failing systems to try and survive. More importantly Event Horizon, remember in that movie a ship's drive that folded space lead a crew of astronauts into "hell" with a rescue mission reaping the dubious rewards. In both movies we have a sort of warped reality from which dangers erupt in a variety of forms that make you wonder about the reality people find themselves in. Whereas Event Horizon went full metal horror and didn't shy away from the results Paradox almost plays it for laughs in places, see the Chris O'Dowd arm sequence and aftermath, and definitely isn't playing for the dark crew. Horror light comes to mind, the mixing of genres isn't the movie's strong suite.
Okay there are a number of plot holes infusing the movie that sort of get lost amidst the rampaging pace going down, and the weirdness at the edge of town in the alternative reality. Apparently the Earth is running out of energy, because I guess it no longer has access to wind, sun, or waves as alternatives to fossil fuels. Hey maybe we should have all invested in a couple of sun panels or something. Anyways having established that decades of science are no longer relevant we learn the solution is too dangerous to test on Earth, sooo how exactly is it going to be implemented on terra firma, but hey not important to the movie. There are any number of other issues, including Scientists who are probably the least intelligent people on the planet, but hey let's not get caught up in this one aspect when we can discuss the timelines. Paradox is clearly meant to be a prequel to the orignal movie but is set a whole bunch of time in the future, face palming is allowed right about now.
There's some decent talent on show but to be honest everyone is labouring through this one as we go sandpit crew on the scare show. I was more than excited by the appearance of Chris O'Dowd, Roy from The IT Crowd bitches, but was confused by his character who goes all comedic during certain scenes which sort of stands out like a rusted Jefferies Tube. Call out to our Sci-Fi peeps there. Anyways O'Dowd's character Mundy loses his arm to an organic wall in one scene and naturally everything descends into Ash vs the Alternative Universe, O'Dowd gets to play an astronaut who has a perfectly cauterized arm stump but no one seems overly concerned about this including Mundy, who is happy things don't hurt. The rest of the cast have even less to do, though Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Hamilton) is given some motivation that raises her character to slightly above the cardboard cut outs which everyone else has to deliver.
Guess we should pull up to the curb on this one. There's some violence going down but not enough to wet the appetites of the gorehounds who might stumble onto this movie, and for those after some naked flash, well the space station is pretty sparsely covered. That's about all we can do in terms of the flesh, but hey there's always your video library for that.
So another Cloverfield and we're batting 1 for 3, with Paradox not being the one. While Lane had the whole dopey monster thing pasted onto the end of an otherwise good movie Paradox has things duct taped on like a cheap second hand Hyundai Excel that some Bogan has slammed Transformer stickers onto. The space station is called "The Cloverfield", and Donal Logue has to appear on TV during the course of the movie explaining "the Cloverfield paradox" that risks "shattering reality" and unleashing "monsters and demons". This is simply poor movie making, we have a bad Sci-Fi movie with an attempt to connect it to another movie, effectively giving us a hybrid that was an afterthought. No recommendation here, for sure knock it over if needing to catch anything with "Cloverfield" in the title, but be ready for something less than an ideal movie experience. The paradox here is they keep making these dodgy attempts to keep pretty much a fail of a franchise going.