Outer space misfire a triumph of distribution, a failure of everything else
“The Cloverfield Paradox” has carved out a place for itself in the annals of cinema: it marked the fastest turnaround from must-see event to disappointing dud in history.
If you were watching the Super Bowl, you know the story: Mysterious trailer is unveiled — hey, it’s that third “Cloverfield” movie you maybe-sorta heard is coming! — and it’s headed to Netflix right after the game. What? It was the film industry’s version of pulling a Beyoncé, unveiling a surprise blockbuster with no advance warning.
Except Beyoncé delivered. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is space junk, a jumble of clichés assembled from parts of “Alien,” “Event Horizon” and any number of better outer space odysseys.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is Ava Hamilton, a crew member on board the Cloverfield Station. It’s 2028 and Earth is in trouble, and Hamilton is part of a team tasked with testing a device that would provide Earth with infinite energy.
Except things don’t go as planned! In addition to the mechanical failings on board the ship, the crew members start acting strange. Loyalties are tested, Mundy (Chris O’Dowd) loses an arm (and acts like he’s lost an eyelash), and a stranger shows up in the walls of the ship that seems to know everything about them. Meanwhile, plot threads dangle and character motivations change from scene to scene.
What does any of this have to do with “Cloverfield?” Not much, but then neither did “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the loosely connected sequel to the original 2008 hit about a monster invasion. “The Cloverfield Paradox” proved the film industry is capable of delivering a bombshell. Hopefully, next time it doesn’t blow up in everyone’s faces.
‘The Cloverfield Paradox’
Not rated: Violence, language, gore
Running time: 102 minutes