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Cloverfield Paradox: Conspiracy and Confusion

March 23, 2018

Courtesy of The Daily Beast

Courtesy of The Daily Beast

When you hear someone talk about a movie they’re excited for, it usually doesn’t come out for a few months or even a few years. But not for Cloverfield.

On the sunday of Super Bowl 52, there was a 30 second trailer for a new Cloverfield movie with a release date. “TONIGHT” was the only label. Instantaneously, online boards were filled with questions and theories, all to be not really answered. But just minutes after the Super Bowl, the film was on Netflix.

Now, this good marketing. Advertise your movie to millions of people and have it ready within hours. While the marketing is good, sadly the same cannot be said about the movie. Now, this is a warning for all, there will be both minor and heavy spoiler for Paradox and other Cloverfield movies.

Back in 2008, when the original Cloverfield came out, it was a cult classic. With its shoestring budget and realistic acting and camerawork, Cloverfield has become remembered as one of the best found footage movies of all time.

In 2016, when 10 Cloverfield Lane came out, with it was an extreme deviation from the original style and became a psychological horror, appealing to claustrophobics and those afraid of John Goodman.

And now, in 2018, we have been given another Cloverfield movie. Now titled The Cloverfield Paradox, the movie takes place on a space station. For those who don’t remember the plot or for those who don’t care about spoilers, here’s a refresher.

The basics is, a crew on a space station is testing a beam that will create an infinite source of clean energy, but after the experiment goes wrong, the crew is sent to another dimension. After witnessing an array of insane events within the space station and the crew is picked off one by one, the last crew member is sent back to their dimension that has been torn apart by monsters and aliens. As the movie closes, we are left with one last scene of a gigantic “Clover” monster.

With a plot like that, you’d think the movie would be amazing, right? Well, you’d be wrong, sadly. Julius Onah did a decent job on this movie, but he feels like he shouldn’t really have directed this movie. He had no previous connection with the Cloverfield series or any of the cast or crew. In fact, he had only made four films before this, three of them being short films that were never recognized by any critics or festivals.

The other movie Onah directed was a movie titled “The Girl Is in Trouble.” Now, this movie is an odd piece itself but it’s nothing amazing critically and to those who saw it. Just a typical B-rate action movie.

Getting back on the topic of Paradox, the movie does reflect the amatuer styling and experience of the director. There’s constant vulgarity and jokes, and the movie itself just has a “random=funny/scary” tone. Now, yes, the original Cloverfield had this, the cursing, but this was few and far between. The first 20-30 minutes had it constantly, but as the movie built up, so did its maturity.

Another thing, the “random=funny/scary” can work. Just look at movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Babadook, two critically acclaimed movies that are completely random. But what they do different is that the randomness contributes to the story in some way. But Paradox just uses it for jumpscares and jokes, that for the most, part fall flat.

The camerawork is beautiful though, it’s honestly the best thing about the movie, the scenes of terror and destruction displayed on Earth and the scenes of gore and death within the station is easily some of the best camerawork of the year. But the rest of the movie pales in quality, sadly, except for the special effects.

The acting is what’d you expect from a Cloverfield movie, the actors are trying their best and expressing their feeling with their dialogue and movements. But wait, no they’re not! Half of the time these robots are just stone faced and act surprised or scared when the director tells them to, which he tells them at the wrong time. At times of calm, characters will have expressions that make no sense. Or if they are acting right, it’s cut off by a cheap jumpscare, it really seemed like these people didn’t know what they were doing half the time.

The special effects are actually really good, much better than expected. When Volkov spewed the worms, it was hard not to cringe while watching. Even the cut off arm was pretty stunning. But there are some points where the special effects were horrible, like when Tam was frozen, it looked like she was just in a pool and the put on ice filter in post editing. But besides part, and some smoke or destruction effects, it’s pretty good effects wise.

The funny thing is, this has been the biggest Cloverfield movie for things like lore and timelines. With new theories popping up with the new discovery of different dimensions, the Cloverfield ARG (alternate reality game) has boomed in popularity. Now with a new crowd to appeal to, Netflix users, the franchise itself has received more attention, which hopefully gives the crew an idea to make a better movie next time.

So, overall, is The Cloverfield Paradox a good movie? To the eyes of true fans, no. To the eyes of people that have never seen a Cloverfield movie, yes. But if you just want to have a decent psychological horror, honestly, it’s pretty bad. Actors don’t give it their all, and the plot is executed very poorly. There could’ve been something great out of this, but with a novice director and crew, this movie falls flat. In the end, The Cloverfield Paradox is a

2.5 out of 5.

It’s a barely passable movie with it’s camerawork and special effects, but besides that, there’s nothing for this movie. Let’s just hope Overlord goes better than this. With a different director, setting, and era, there’s high hopes for this movie. We’ll have to see and find out. But when it does come out, we here at Tornado Press will be there!

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