The Cloverfield Paradox
The Cloverfield series is perhaps the greatest case study of innovative movie marketing in the 21st century. Using the internet to the fullest advantage: Cloverfield was teased with an unspecified trailer; 10 Cloverfield Lane was retitled with short notice after being filmed under the name Valencia; this third instalment was similarly coded as God Particle but pulled the greatest trick of them all with the announcement of an immediate Netflix release following the end of the Super Bowl, where it was confirmed with yet another unexpected trailer.
An exclusively digital release following two theatrical outings means this threequel comes with the baggage of feeling like a direct-to-video product. Watching The Cloverfield Paradox, one can see why it was relegated to home cinema. The new chapter in the otherwise intriguing series is a hackneyed, hideous mess that would have undoubtedly prompted paying customers to ask for refunds.
From a found footage format to a chamber piece and now a space mission, this time around the Cloverfield universe takes us beyond the skies. We follow a medley of slippery scientists embarking on a mission to restore energy levels to Earth after a global alarm is raised about the future of the world, which can only be saved by the implementation of a particle accelerator.
Countless features are evoked with the synopsis: Sunshine, Event Horizon, Prometheus and Life, to cite a few. The Cloverfield Paradox cribs all the bad bits from them: illogical character decisions, a myriad of plot holes and a thoroughly unsurprising narrative arc complete with easily prognosticated jump scares. There’s a nasty irony in how unbelievably unoriginal the movie is considering the genuinely innovative marketing scheme.
JJ Abrams’s idea of taking a space-set script and rebranding it as a Cloverfield flick highlights an intergalactic lack of self-awareness, and it’s especially questionable for a series revolving around Kaiji creatures. This choice of setting is commonly reserved for when a franchise goes off-the-rails and gives up hope, like Jason X and Leprechaun 4. Robert Rodriguez had a laugh by teasing a third Machete film, Machete Kills in Space, where his titular character would wield a lightsaber.
The Cloverfield Paradox is no joke though – nobody’s laughing at how shockingly bad this surprise turned out to be. It’s the third film of the series, it could have been another scary disaster movie. Instead, it’s just scary how much of a disaster the final product is, in every way.
The Cloverfield Paradox is available on Netflix from 5th February 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox here: