I was at a loss as to what I should review this week. There wasn’t anything showing in theaters I really cared about seeing, or anything I doubt you’d care to read about. But I have to thank Netflix for suddenly dumping an anticipated film on everyone’s lap out of nowhere without warning.
That film of course being The Cloverfield Paradox. Or as it was called The God Particle.
The film’s trailer boasts that finally we get answers as to how the previous films connect. And in a way this film does that. Though really it’s only ever explained in a tiny interview portion at the beginning of the film by a guy promoting his book.
Before we get into that, let’s first get into the plot.
Earth is running out of energy. How? I have no idea. You’d think with so many different alternatives at least one would be viable. I mean, there’s solar, wind, nuclear… build more damns, I don’t know. But the option earth comes up with is build a space station that can somehow produce unending energy.
Remember when the hadron collider was about to come online and everyone was kind of freaking out that it could create small black holes on earth, destroying everything? Well, it’s kind of the same thing here. They think there’s a possibility that if they get their machine to work, it could cause ripples through time, bring monsters and even aliens to earth through different dimensions.
And that explains how the first film and the second are connected. They are the results of the events that happen in this film, all thanks to the space station.
You’re either going to be satisfied by that explanation or you aren’t. But it’s pretty good considering this and the last film was just repurposed scripts that originally didn’t have a connection to the first in any way.
So let’s get into it.
The film stars… Gugu? Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Sure. So Gugu plays Hamilton, a character reluctant to go up in space to help out with the space station. She has a husband that she’ll miss but not much else. You don’t really learn much about her until much later in the film. Though you do see her with two kids in a video playing, yet there isn’t any mention of them. The film has a quick pace to it, so I figured it just didn’t have time to get into showing them yet.
You never see the kids because they died a few years back, an accident caused by a faulty battery she installed.
That comes into play later, so we aren’t there yet.
Also on this station is Chris O’Dowd, playing the comic relief. Thankfully he isn’t doing an American accent in this. It feels so unusual whenever they make him hide his thick Irish native tongue.
The only other person I recognized was Donal Logue, who played the previously mentioned author of the book warning people about the dangers of the space station’s science experiment.
Everyone else looked kind of familiar, but I just couldn’t place them.
For example Elizabeth Debicki. If you don’t know the name you might recognize her covered in gold like she was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I knew I had seen her in something I just couldn’t put my finger on it. She looked like a hotter version of Brienne of Tarth.
Her character pops up midway through the film, stuck in one of the walls. I’ll explain later, we aren’t there yet.
The crew of the space station, named Cloverfield, is starting to get on each other’s nerves. They’ve been up there for 2 years with no progress. And now they are blaming each other for it not working. They are all plucked from different countries, and because of the crisis, some of those countries are about to go to war with each other.
They only have 3 more tries, if they can’t get it working by then, humanity is most likely going to be at war with itself for natural resources.
On their third attempt they finally get it working but something goes wrong. Earth seems to just disappear. Meanwhile on earth, the Cloverfield station has vanished and something has crashed to earth.
Hamilton’s husband Michael is slightly freaking out. Explosions are going off everywhere and they can’t get in contact with the station. While driving to safety, he runs into a demolished building with a crying little girl in the rubble. There’s also something large moving around in the darkness.
Frightened, he takes the little girl and they head for a friend’s bunker. I had to check and see if John Goodman’s character from 10 Cloverfield Lane was named Peter, the one Michael is corresponding with over txt. I had to check the names because the bunker Michael stays in looks exactly like John Goodman’s character’s bunker. Unfortunately his character’s name was Howard. Another missed connection that could have been cool. But I guess that wouldn’t exactly make sense since I believe Michael is in England when all this happens.
Aside from earth missing, so are the worms onboard the space station. Not sure why they have a giant aquarium full of worms but they do and they are currently missing.
The crew keeps hearing monstrous yelling somewhere in the ship, and notice it is coming behind a wall. As they pop the wall open they discover hot Brienne of Tarth fused into the wall with wires running through her legs and hands.
She also seems to know them but they have no clue who she is.
She’s from an alternate reality where she was on the ship not Tam the Chinese engineer. Hamilton also wasn’t there as in this world her family is still alive and she didn’t want to leave them for that long.
Hearing that her family is still alive, she wants to leave with Jensen, aka hot Brienne of Tarth when it comes time to leave.
Unfortunately they can’t go anywhere until they find the gyro… thingy. The thing that tells them where they are. The one who handles that part of the ship is the Russian, who has currently lost his mind. That might have to do with the fact he has those missing worms in his head.
So he of course dies. But not before making a gun in the 3D printer.
Now this is where things start to get a bit weird.
And I don’t really have an explanation for it. Either does the film I don’t think.
Chris O’Dowd’s character Mundy is going around the station, making some quick repairs when all of a sudden the wall sucks his arm in. As he struggles to get free his arm kind of just… gets cut off. But done in a way that is painless and almost surgical. To make things even more confusing is they later find the arm crawling around on its own.
If that wasn’t weird enough, the arm writes out the location of their missing gyro thingy. It’s into the dead Russian.
As they crack him open they pull out the missing gyro and discover they are upside down, behind the sun. That’s why they can’t find the earth. But this earth isn’t the one they left, but another about 9 months in the future where the world is already at war.
To make things worse than they have already been, the station seems to be out to get everyone. Tam the Chinese engineer is killed along with Chris O’Dowd. I don’t really know why exactly. One was trapped in a room and drowned… well, technically frozen in ice. And O’Dowd was attacked by this metal nano putty he uses as sealant.
After learning that her family is still alive on this alternate earth, Hamilton wishes to leave with Jensen, but Jensen has other plans. Her world’s space station exploded, it would take years to rebuild even if they have the plans to make the reactor work. So she breaks open the safe they were keeping the gun and starts picking off the rest of the surviving crew.
Hamilton rushes to stop her, sucking her out a window into space. Not sure what happened to Mundy’s arm though, seeing as it was in the same room.
The only other survivors at this point are her and Schmidt, the German engineer that was caught spying in the alternate world. I kind of wish they did more with that. But like I mentioned, the pacing in this is pretty break neck. It would have been nice if this was maybe 20 minutes longer. It could have benefited from at least a bit more character development.
Anyway, this wouldn’t be Cloverfield if it didn’t have a twist ending.
As they get the machine working, overloading it to get them back to their reality, they head back to earth, completely unaware that giant Cloverfield monsters have invaded.
The thing I liked about the monster in the first film was it was just the baby. Its cries were it crying out for its mom. If this is what a baby looks like, try to imagine how big the adult might be. And apparently it’s so large, it reaches out into the clouds.
And that’s The Cloverfield Paradox. Is it as good as 10 Cloverfield Lane? Not really. That film I thought was more intense. As this might also be considered a contained thriller, 10 Cloverfield Lane had better characters, not to mention a better villain. We know right off the bat something is off with Howard, John Goodman’s character.
It takes the last 10 minutes or so to set up hot Brienne of Tarth as the bad guy. Not that it seems out of place, her actions all make sense, you know why she’s doing it. And you understand it, but… that just isn’t as interesting as a serial killer wanted to have a lady with him in a bunker as the world ended.
It doesn’t really do anything new, it can easily be compared to other films like it. Life came to mind. Also Virus with Jamie Lee Curtis. Cloverfield Paradox isn’t as dumb as Life but I don’t think it’s as entertaining.
If I had to rate Cloverfield Paradox it might be a RENT IT, and seeing as it is streaming now on Netflix, you easily can. If you’re a fan of the other two films, this really is a must.
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