Verdict: 1 / 5
Remember a hubbub few years back when The Martian ridiculously won the Golden Globe for best comedy, even though it wasn’t one? It was such a sham that people took to the internet, adding laugh tracks to clips from Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama. Well, The Cloverfield Paradox is kind of like those laugh track clips. Watching it, I found myself rolling around with hysterics during some scenes, the end of the world never seemed funnier to me, and I wondered if the title was actually supposed to be The Cloverfield Parody instead.
Except the problem is that it’s supposed to be taken seriously.
If you’re a Cloverfield fan who’s been desperately longing for more, then prepare to be massively disappointed. For all the instant hype this surprise release generated overnight, this film itself is a waste of time and if it had been released on cinema circuit it would have rightfully bombed. It’s the sort of film MST3K dreams of ripping apart, that’s how bad it is. In fact, I’m sure that The Cloverfield Paradox may have been cribbed from events on the Satellite Of Love over the years.
The plot, or what passes for one, is that the Earth has run out of energy so a space station is tasked with creating a new source of power using a particle accelerator. Naturally, things go wrong. Before you know it they’re lost in space, have entered a parallel universe which is having exactly the same problems, and a Russian crewmember gets a bad case of worms. Oh, and The IT Crowd’s Roy loses an arm, which crawls around and helpfully scribbles notes for everyone because it’s got a mind of its own.
Why? Because… SCIENCE! Oh, and because some guy on TV said that they were going to open a portal to hell, Doom-style.
There’s supposed to be a heartwarming emotional story about how much the boring main character, Hamilton, misses her dead children and her husband. There’s also a B-story showing Hamilton’s equally boring husband driving while texting and generally wandering about while the world falls apart. Which, of course, happens mostly off-screen. Meanwhile, the cardboard cut-out crew of the Cloverfield space station experience more weird shenanigans, make stupid decisions, and then die hilariously stupid deaths like the cannon fodder they are.
If it sounds like I’m being harsh on this film, it’s because it deserves it.
It’s every bad cliché of sci-fi rolled into one giant steaming pile which JJ Abrams has then proudly stuck a franchise flag in. It’s entertaining in how unintentionally funny it is (although Chris O’Dowd’s deadpan comments are little gems). However, as a serious The Cloverfield Paradox fails. The pretentious script is weak, the dialogue is hollow, and the talented cast drift about aimlessly.
It’s likely that you’ll probably watch this film regardless of this review, just because of the name branding of it. That’s understandable – Cloverfield has made its name on viral marketing which makes people curious about it, and it’s kind of hard to resist. Also, because it was released on Netflix, it’s essentially free to view if you’re a TV subscriber. Both reasons are fair enough to make you want to check it out. Sadly though, neither make the film any better and it takes a whole lot more than a Slusho bobblehead, a Tagruato logo and a brief cameo of Clover the Monster to get the job done.
Maybe there’s a parallel universe where this film is actually good, but it isn’t this one. In this universe, The Cloverfield Paradox sucks.