The Cloverfield Paradox review

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Aina Martin
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The fact that the Cloverfield franchise was atypical was already known, but this time, Bad Robot Productions - the production founded by JJ Abrahms - really surpassed them all. After a long wait, a slightly thin viral campaign and little certain information, the third chapter of the Cloverfield saga not only is it presented with a trailer during Super Bowl LII on February 4th, confirming the title The Cloverfield Paradox, but is also released very soon after on the Netflix platform. No notice, no previous announcement, no press preview. Yesterday, February 5, most of Netflix viewers, fans and subscribers stopped, surprised by the news. Needless to say: the hype has taken over everyone, letting himself be lulled by the idea of ​​seeing the new Cloverfield. But how is this third chapter positioned?

A particular franchise

The story about Cloverfield is a bit peculiar, born in 2008 as a film based on the discovery of a memory card in what was once Central Park. Inside the memory card is recorded the story of a group of young people who, in the evening, find themselves involved in what initially appears to be a nuclear disaster but which, shortly after, turns out to be something much, much worse. In the days following the release, fake sites, videos and news populated the world of the internet - a bit like what happened in the case of The Blair Witch Project - taking everything as true. The Cloverfield Paradox, directed by Julius Onah, would like to be the prequel, the origins of what happened that night; or rather, what gave access to the terrible creatures to planet Earth. The campaign began last January with an announcement by Tagruato, the multinational around which all viral marketing and the cinema universe revolves: "Tokyo, January 10, 2018, Tagruato has started the development of a technology for a revolutionary energy source. in what CEO Garo Yoshida called a huge step forward for our planet. This renewable energy will be developed over four years, then it will take another six years for international regulators to approve. This source will be launched. on January 18, 2028. "

War of the Worlds

The film was in development since 2012 with the title The Particle of God, but without being linked to the series. Only after the development of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a spiritual sequel released in 2016, it was decided to confirm it as a third episode, postponing its release over and over again. The Cloverfield Paradox therefore reinforces the hypothesis of a universe that unites all three projects and, in addition, is the key to the connections of the two previous films, giving a more or less precise vision of the future. The idea is not just to explain the origins of all this, but to play a lot with the concept of paradox in order to mess up the timelines within which all three stories move. In fact, the peculiarity of this franchise is that in addition to the title, all three films have distinctly different styles. In the first case we are talking about a real monster movie, in the second a psychological thriller and in The Cloverfield Paradox the structure is that of a common thriller set in space that, not a little, winks at the most recent Life and Alien: Covenant.

The story revolves around a group of astronauts who, thanks to the use of a new experimental technology, are trying to solve the problem of a strong energy crisis that is leading the planet to complete destruction. Their mission is to catalyze, through a particle accelerator, as much energy as possible from space. In this way we would have an inexhaustible source of energy that would allow the survival of the whole world. But what could all this entail? As absurd as a hypothesis, catalyzing such a mass of energy risks opening the doors of parallel universes, mixing them together.

For a good first part of the film, the development of the story is very interesting, even though it immediately shows itself, as a typology, the most canonical of the three. Theories, hypotheses, a marked dose of suspense and the right mix of suspicion between all the protagonists, astronauts belonging to different countries, make the narrative structure very decisive. Even after what is the triggering incident, the immense obstacle facing the protagonists, it seems that the film knows exactly where it wants to hit. Except that, playing too much with the same concept of paradox, the film begins to become a set of gimmicks without any real coordination between them. It is perfectly understood that the intention is to cancel the logical sense of time, allowing all three films to coexist in the same universe formed by different timelines, but at the same time the concept is extremely confusing. The ideas are sketchy, thrown to the viewer without giving them the right weight. We cradle on the idea of ​​the paradox, exploiting it without common sense and, therefore, taking as valid any gimmick or trick placed within the narrative. The second part of the film becomes surreal. One of the hardest things to do when narrating parallel, unreal, or imaginative worlds is to create narrative coherence in that world. Giving rules even to the most illogical world possible, in order to make it plausible for the spectator: instead, in The Cloverfield Paradox everything is left to chance, to the spectator's interpretation, giving the sensation of haste, fatigue and laziness.

It would seem that the director, screenwriters and JJ Abrahms himself have thrown in the towel halfway through the project, tired, bored, unable to find better solutions than those used up to that moment. Just like the protagonists, the film also loses its bearings, loosening its grip on audience involvement. Undoubtedly we are faced with a mostly enjoyable narrative, which gives us a pretty clear idea of ​​where the franchise will want to point in the future, but at the same time it is a film that has not managed to fully exploit the material. at your disposal.


Overall The Cloverfield Paradox, although it is a film that is in some ways enjoyable, turns out to be a rambling operation, without rhyme or reason. A film that relies too much on tricks and tricks, revealing itself to be the least successful work of the entire saga.


  • The film is the key to the expanded universe of the entire franchise
  • History has failed to fully exploit its strengths
  • The film is by far the least successful of the saga
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