Audiences were stunned by the original sci-fi monster movie Cloverfield back in 2008 with its unusual shaky camera style. The in 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane was released in theaters and became a nail-biting hit. This February, Netflix released The Cloverfield Paradox, without any warning. They released the trailer on Super Bowl Sunday and it was available to stream right after the game. This gives us a bit of a glimpse into the possible future of movie releases. It was a bold move by Netflix, but unfortunately most of the film does not live up to the two-hour hype it was given.
Face to face with an energy crisis, a team of scientists aboard a spacecraft have discovered a solution. Unfortunately, that solution becomes a problem, as they shoot a burst of energy towards earth. It shoots the spacecraft backward into an alternate identical dimension in another time in space. It’s not as confusion as it sounds, although the film does leave us with more questions than answers once its done. Hamilton, the main protagonist of the film, has a tragedy hanging over her head as she constantly thinks back to her husband on Earth. This plot line continues into the paradoxical dimension and attempts to make a meaningfully deep connection, in a silly, fun sci-fi film.
The movie works as an amusing sci-fi thriller, but ultimately disappoints with its convoluted plot and uncomfortably forced humor. Chris O’Dowd plays Mundy, who is possible one of the most irritating characters. Mundy attempts to make humor out of almost every on-screen occurrence to the point where viewers cannot wait for his character to get killed off.
The film can’t quite decide whether it want to be a comedic sci-fi, a deep and meaningful film, or just an action thriller. Instead of being a compelling sci-fi movie, the film acts more like a Final Destination film and finds awful and painful ways to kill off the characters. That’s all fun and everything, but it doesn’t seem to fit well here. Sometimes these different elements can mesh well, but here we just get three different movies occurring at once.
The crew is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, and Elizabeth Debicki. Roger Davies plays Michael, Hamilton’s husband back on Earth. The performances here are nothing amazing and even the great Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds, Rush) gives an underwhelming performance here. That is not to say these are untalented actors. The main issue here seems to be the irritating dialogue and direction.
Plenty will enjoy this film, but if plot holes, messy screenplays, and irritating characters really turn you off, then this is one to avoid.