Directed by | Julius Onah
Produced by | JJ Abrams, Lindsey Weber
Written by | Oren Uziel, Doug Jung
Starring | Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, Zhang Zhiyi
Run Time | 102 minutes
Certificate | 15
Plot | Earth’s resources have strained and are now at breaking point. An international crack team of scientists have been sent to a space-based particle collider to run a last ditch experiment to create a new, clean, free source of energy. The experiment misfires badly, to potentially catastrophic consequences.
Review | The Cloverfield Paradox is the third film in JJ Abrams’ Cloverfield cinematic universe. Whilst not on the level of the vastly superior 10 Cloverfield Lane, it a decent enough sci-fi horror.
As with the other films in the shared universe, Paradox can be viewed as a self-contained story. That being said, this entry does provide overt, tangible links to both of its predecessors (there are plenty of easter eggs for the keen viewer). Like 10 Cloverfield Lane, this was an example of Bad Robot Productions purchasing a script and modifying it to fit their Cloverfield universe. It remains to be seen whether that was a worthwhile venture.
Since its release, Paradox has been met with a mixture of reviews ranging from mediocre to outright bad. Casting aside a few issues (which we’ll come to in a moment), this seems quite harsh. Yes, there are a number of issues – particularly surrounding the ‘science’, as well as a number of bonkers things that happens as part of the ‘horror’ that aren’t explained past a throwaway line that seems to just be there as an excuse to cover whatever ideas they come up with.
The tone fluctuates between two distinct poles at points. There is definitely an Event Horizon vibe, though this 15 certificate films never ventures close to the horrific gore in that cult sci fi horror. At other times, the tone morphs towards the absurdity seen in the likes of the Evil Dead trilogy. It can’t quite seem to make up its mind what type of sci fi horror it is meant to be.
All that being said, the casting is mostly great (even if roles are underwritten) and they eke out as much character from the script as possible. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is probably the stand out in this regard, especially demonstrated by an impassioned speech late in the film.
It’s also worth noting that, once things get going, everything moves along at a decent clip, and it is never boring. Fun enough mindless fodder.
The Verdict | A flawed but fine brainless sci fi horror that neither hurts nor enhances the Cloverfield universe.