Review of 'The Cloverfield Paradox'

cloverfield_paradox.jpg In the near future the situation on Earth is deteriorating as energy supplies run low leading to lawlessness, famine and war. A group of scientists from various countries work aboard the space station “Cloverfield” on a partical accelerator that will provide Earth with an infinite power supply but continually experience technical problems. When they finally experience some success they quickly discover the space station has been transported to another dimension, one that seems determined to kill them all. Will they be able to get home in time to save the Earth from destruction?

So the whole plot can be described without mentioning a single character. That is a symptom of what is wrong here: Only one of the fairly benign characters attracts our attention and this only because the narrative is told from her viewpoint – Hamilton (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a British scientist who is determined to return to her husband on Earth from her exile in another dimension. Plot is relatively thin and is really an excuse for a lot of horror-film shenanigans borrowing more than a little from “Alien” (and the rest). There is little here to really attract us to the characters as we never really get to know them beyond their stereotypical surface: The suspicious German, the suspicious Russian, the cocky Irishman (played by the brilliant comedian Chris O'Dowd, sadly extremely underutilised here but perhaps wanting to break out of comedy), the genius Chinese woman (not speaking any English), a mysterious visitor (good/bad?)…

The action is also not really all that compelling as we spend a lot of time listening to the computer counting down or watching the space station…there is not even a lot of running away from anything. There is a scene where they are out in space suits leaping about but that is the height of the action here.

So, that is the not-so-good, on the plus side the effects are really quite good and the horror is genuinely, er, horrifying at times (if more than a bit gory). The space station is a nice bit of eye candy on the outside (weird spinning habitation wheels and all) but inside is as they always are: Boring corridors everywhere.

Of course the premise of the various Cloverfield films has been to be quite bizarre and tie up all the plot points in the final reel but here there are no real mysteries to be solved with only a slight unexpected twist at the end (no doubt as a specific nod to the other films). I am disappointed as it could have been so much better.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2018-07-03

Directed by: Julius Onah

Studio: Bad Robot

Year: 2018

Length: 102 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction