The Cloverfield Paradox Review – beware, minor spoilers ahead

The Cloverfield Paradox is a very flawed movie. However, it’s nothing to be as bad as critics and people are making it be.

But, as always, let’s go with order.

Cloverfield Paradox 1The Cloverfield Paradox is the third installment in the CloverVerse, the J.J. Abrams franchise that is famous more for its secretive (or experimental, depending on how you want to see it) release methods. 2008’s Cloverfield marketing consisted of trailers and poster without names on it, but the release date (and eventually the title would be revealed on that day). 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane marketing started merely 4 weeks prior release, and the film itself is loosely tied with the first one – it’s more like a spin-off set in the same universe narrating a totally different experience.

People in the field knew that a third CloverVerse movie was approaching – but obviously, it was an unknown project in the mainstream. Hence its Superbowl commercial saying ‘Watch It Tonight After The Game’ was a spectacular way to release it.

Anyways, let’s get into the movie itself.

The Cloverfield Paradox is about a group of scientists up in a space station, with the ultimate goal to get a particle accelerator to work in order to create an infinite self-sustainable energy source. They ultimate do, but things go south when they realize they are not in the same place anymore.

The film plays around with two things:

  1. The question: ‘What happens if the particle accelerator work?’
  2. The answer: ‘Reality bends and fucks with you’

And that’s exactly more or less what happens.

The whole things are foreshadowed at the beginning with a guy being interviewed theorizing about the reality-bending creating a bunch of paradox that would ultimately unleash certain demons et cetera… Anyways, I’m not gonna describe the plot further. Shit, a lot of shit happens.

A lot of people criticized that a bunch of that shit happening is unbelievable. Now, I don’t recall any valued theories about reality bending and what would happen if two dimensions mix each other. They may are there, but sure as hell, they are not proven to be true. That, of course, does not mean they are false, but at the same time, it’s everyone’s game.

Cloverfield Paradox 2Yes: everything that happens in the movie is valid, no matter how stretched it is. Everyone who thinks it’s impossible can just shut up.

Now, I enjoyed the movie, as I said. But, there are quite some flaws.

The editing is all over the place.

For starters, I felt the movie should have spent more time on building the team, instead of having a montage and just throwing us in the midst of the 47th try. We indeed again go into the ‘feel vs understand’, like it was for lonely pratt in Passengers: we do understand the dynamics, but we don’t feel them. In addition, most happenings are very fast, losing all the possible creepy suspense the story was able to prepare during those sequences.

Also, the soundtrack is so invasive it’s annoying. Again, it kills the mood and the tension scenes have. I have the feeling that who directed this and edited it had no idea on how to do a proper narration. The physical part (aka how the movie is shot) is fine, but the whole thing is clearly done with no understanding of building an atmosphere.

Because the script is there. Sure, some lines could have been rewritten as well as some details (Oleyowo keeps running around, it feels ridiculous at a certain point), but both the plot and story are interesting enough to give the project a certain potential that unfortunately never met.

The actors are all fine. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, our protagonist, carries the movie without any problem, and she’s the one we can clearly value the most as she’s the only character with enough build up to have a rational opinion on.

The other character valuable is Elizabeth Debicki, the trump card so to speak. She is enigmatic and creepy enough to make me invested in her.

The rest of the cast suffers from the undercharacterization from the beginning. It’s a shame because everyone does the best they can, but in the end, we just see them pissed off at each other but we don’t know how they got there.

The Cloverfield Paradox is a very flawed movie. But overall I can say I enjoyed it.