J. J. Abrams smash hit Cloverfield franchise is back with the surprise release of The Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix following the release of the trailer only two hours earlier.
The film tentatively known as God’s Particle in production is set in the infamous Cloverfield Universe. The film stars the fantastic Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Askel Hennie and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. With the earth running out of energy and a new world war could break out as nations fight for the remaining energy the members of the Cloverfield space station embark on a mission to launch the Shepard Particle Accelerator in a mission to discover unlimited energy.
We pick up the film two years into the expedition after repeated experiments have failed. This film much like the fantastic 10 Cloverfield Lane is a significant departure from other entry’s in the franchise. The first half of this film have the making of a ground breaking and genre defining masterpiece.
The internal tension between the multinational crew resonates in the divided and dangerous world we currently live in. As we progress further and further into the film we get to learn about nuisances of their personality from humour, dealing with personal loss and the effect on them with the weight of the world on their soldiers.
This half is catastrophic and is reminiscent of the original Alien film. The crew act like real people rather than stereotypes. As more and more strange and disturbing events occur the crew are tested and we see the human instinct for self-preservation rise.
Despite this fantastic foundation to the film the second half is unable to maintain the story. The carefully crafted tension subsides and turns into a typical sci-fi thriller. The pacing and storytelling appears to have significant gaps and the editing comes across like the film has not been finished.
Where Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane was their ability to maintain and develop tension throughout the film. The original Cloverfield preyed on the post 9/11 world used the sight of collapsing buildings the splitting of groups of friends desperately trying to rescue and find one another. It also helped dawn a new genre of hand-held camera films. 10 Cloverfield Lane used the claustrophobic confines of an underground bunker and only three cast members to heighten the tension and mystery throughout the film. It cleverly allowed audiences to feel the alien link to be a hoax before the hero of the film discovered the world had changed forever.
The Cloverfield Paradox does not have this. The mix of settings between Earth and the Space Station limits the film and how it builds tension before the finale and big reveal at the end that links it to the Cloverfield Universe.
Overall due to the poor second half this is the weakest of the Cloverfield entries. The editing and feel that the film is unfinished ruins what potential this film built-in its first half. Due to this I can only rate the film as 3*.
A follow-up review will be posted later looking at the cons and future of cinema following another major film completely skipping cinemas.