The basic formula for Cloverfield movies now seems to be to take some totally unrelated idea and just add a monster in, and bam, instant franchise! Both 10 Cloverfield Lane from 2016 and now this, The Cloverfield Paradox, have been exactly that, taking unrelated scripts and turning them into sequels to the 2007 monster movie that was a hit for about a minute back then. I remember liking that one pretty well as a kid. These new ones, eh, they're good for a laugh. 10 Cloverfield Lane was a movie that posited that while giant monsters might be scary, they're no match for an out-of-breath and aging John Goodman, who is the real threat here by a country mile. And now let's talk about The Cloverfield Paradox.
Director: Julius Onah
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki
Co-written with Tony, Michelle, Will and Jonathan.
This thing was released on Super Bowl Sunday, and judging by its quality, it was finished about an hour before its release and nobody ever bothered to watch it to check what they were releasing. This shit is like a school project slapped together the morning of, no effort or planning at all.
I guess you can't say the first 30 minutes is uneventful – there's so much stuff happening that it's actively confusing to watch. It's a lot of shouting and running around and solving random little problems only for other ones to immediately pop up, all while annoyingly peppy film scores play in the background. There's no real characters introduced so much as just sped by you like mass-introductions at a crowded party, and everything is so fast that you can barely follow it.
Somewhere in this mess, a story does seem to emerge – apparently, this scientist named Ava and her husband, a doctor, are having problems because their children died in a house fire. I guess Ava sees going up to this space station to work on a solution for energy as good martial therapy, and who am I to judge? Sounds like you guys have a handle on this for sure!
Other characters include rich and deep writing like 'sneaky looking German engineer,' 'loud annoying Russian guy' and 'Brazilian religious guy who has no dialogue except talking about praying.' Wow, I sure am glad we've evolved past thinly veiled racism in the future.
The movie just kind of... keeps throwing shit at you, I guess; not content with just sticking to one bad sci fi cliché and instead trying all of them, like an indecisive shopper at a JCPenney's trying on everything. They find some random woman buried in the wall – damn, I hate when you forget about those. Apparently she's someone from a whole other dimension who worked on that version of the ship. I dunno. It's confusing and not explained well. Yay science fiction!
And then the Russian guy, who has been the worst and most annoying character in the whole movie, starts losing it and then vomits a bunch of worms everywhere – like, a comical amount of worms. Not the normal amount of worms people usually vomit at all. He dies, which is a mercy because we don't have to listen to him bitching anymore. I guess they have to clean up all the worms, but they don't show this part out of brevity. Good choice, movie.
There's other weird shit that happens... like a wall of the ship that, for whatever reason, eats this guy Mundy's arm – why? There's really no explanation! There's also no blood – it's a clean cut and ends up looking like a cartoon.
What's even weirder is that the arm comes back as a living, sentient being and writes to them that they need to cut open the Russian guy to find this part of the ship they need – I guess the Russian guy had eaten it when he was hungry. I dunno. Like, why would these people listen to some disembodied arm with no questions? Are they that starved for ideas? This shit might as well be a game – who are we going to cut open next to see if there's anything inside? It's like 'open up the box and see what mystery prize you got!'
Then we have the only Chinese woman on the ship – nobody speaks Chinese to her except for the German guy, so honestly it seems like nobody else can even communicate with her at all. That seems like a weird set-up really. She gets trapped in some kind of chamber where water starts flooding in... because this movie is random enough to seem like it actually has a plan. Honestly, the fact that the Russian and Chinese characters were killed off seems vaguely political to me. This movie has an agenda!
All of this weird stuff that happens on the ship seems to be totally without explanation except 'they went to a different dimension!' And after this, it pretty much stops happening, sooooo... good on the movie for having so much of a point, I guess...
I guess a lot of the rest of the plot revolves around the main lady, Ava, finding out that her kids are still alive in this dimension. Apparently in the original timeline, she turned on this light thing in their house and it set the house on fire, killing her kids. Here, they're still alive – and I was so hoping for a Rick and Morty-style plot where she goes and kills the alternate version of herself and then takes over in a new life. For a while, it actually looks like that's what she wants to do – but nope. Biggest disappointment in the movie.
Instead we just get more dumb shit happening – more screaming and shouting as random stuff goes wrong on the ship as an excuse for the movie to keep going. They for some reason send the one-armed guy up there to fix it, because if I trust anyone to fix a delicate situation, it's a man who just lost an arm less than an hour ago. He seems like the best choice! If you're curious, what he does results in the ship blowing up and losing half of the entire goddamn thing. Awesome plan, guys.
Then the ship is about to self destruct AGAIN – honestly, you'd think they would be used to these things by now. This guy Kiel, who has barely been a character the whole movie, decides to sacrifice himself to fix it... they tell him there is DEFINITELY a way to do it remotely and he doesn't have to die, but this motherfucker has to play the martyr. Or maybe he just really hates everyone else on the ship. Or maybe he realized what this movie was doing to his career.
Then, because this movie is just a series of random catastrophes with no rhyme or reason, the blonde parallel-universe chick, Mina, flips her Evil Switch ™ and goes nuts, shooting everyone on board in some attempt to stop them from taking the energy source back to their own dimension. I guess just asking nicely is out of the question. She kills Random Brazilian Religious Guy and then shoots the German engineer a few times, only he somehow survives - I guess he just took more vitamins that day. They end up killing her by jettisoning her out of the ship and into space – disappointingly never using that severed sentient arm to do anything about the problem...
Finally we get the end – they return to Earth only to be surprised by a huge, giant-ass monster popping up through the clouds, apparently brought on by the stuff they were fucking around with up in space. Those idiots! How will this monster EVER stand-out when we already have Godzilla and Pacific Rim in today's world? It'll be a total social outcast and reject. Fuck.
This movie is ridiculous and terrible. Everything was total nonsense and the whole thing felt like it was put together in a rush just to get it out quick... the story was incoherent and the tone was all over the place, with some funny parts and some “dramatic” attempts shoved haphazardly with no real sense of direction. It just all sucks. But at the same time, it was funny as hell and we had fun mocking the fuck out of it, so it wasn't a total loss!
And it only barely ties into Cloverfield, really... these movies are just random scripts turned into a “franchise” by inserting monsters into the last acts (or last scene as in this one). You could do that with anything. Tune in for my next Cloverfield movie, which is just The Big Sick except I threw in a giant monster destroying the city at the end. It'll be a scream.
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