“I Don’t Know What To Believe Anymore…”
Dropping out of nowhere and onto Netflix in a remarkably abnormal and somewhat anarchic fashion, The Cloverfield Paradox, the second sequel to Matt Reeves’ 2008 shaky-cammed monster marathon Cloverfield after 2016’s claustrophobic, 10 Cloverfield Lane, bears it teeth without any sign of meaningful marketing or propaganda-esque pushing aside from a thirty second trailer proceeding its’ release only hours before its’ availability worldwide on everyone’s favourite streaming service. Whilst such a decision is undoubtedly refreshing and boundlessly groovy, the question remains whether the film itself is worthy addition to a franchise which deserves plaudits for its’ adventurous attempts at building a somewhat Twilight Zone infused shared universe, and with a cast list featuring the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Miss Sloane), Daniel Brühl (Rush) and David Oyelowo (Selma), and a ideas-based narrative which attempts to solve the ambiguities of its’ predecessors, The Cloverfield Paradox, on paper, has success stamped all over it. Unfortunately however, Netflix’s latest high profile release is a ludicrous mess of a movie, one which begins in absorbing fashion with acres of room to flex its’ muscles but then descends into a shark-jumping bore-fest which not only veers the franchise off course, but could potentially endanger it completely.
Attempting to gel together the mystery at the heart of the franchise in regards to the origin of the destructive beast from the first entry, The Cloverfield Paradox, directed by big-time debutante, Julius Onah, follows Mbatha-Raw’s Ava Hamilton as she crews up with her expeditious space team aboard the Cloverfield Station in order to test the particle accelerator by the name of “Shephard” which has been designed in order to combat the life-threatening global energy crisis on Earth. Mixing in elements of Interstellar, Event Horizon and in regards to its’ dealings with augmented reality splits, the rather excellent, if little seen, Coherence, Onah’s movie suffers from having too much to say without any real follow-through, and with a wildly inconsistent tone which rakes in awfully timed comedy amidst perils of catastrophic possibilities, The Cloverfield Paradox is undoubtedly a missed opportunity and hands down the worst entry of the franchise thus far. With Chris O’Dowd being the glaring error of casting, with his supposedly intellectual character undoubtedly the most cringe-worthy performance of the year so far, and elements of slapstick-laden body horror amidst dialogue which can only be described as the cinematic equivalent of a paint by numbers book, Netflix’s latest big budget cornerstone is really quite poor, and even when the ideas on the surface are interesting enough to warrant some form of applause for trying, the execution is badly managed and ultimately, a sobering disappointment.
Overall Score: 4/10
For those of you who are debating this movie – racing fan or not, I highly recommend this movie. The story of James Hunt & Niki Lauda’s rivalry is a powerful one. A duo who bite at each other, attack and fight in the worlds most dangerous sport – F1 (Yet they do meet in the original F3 class which ignites this feud), especially until recent decades that have incorporated many safety precautions. In a form which can only be described as a documentary/biopic, this film follows the world of motor sport and the friction is caused between champions. As a true story, you can expect a few things to be exaggerated but overall, I feel they played it well with their individual stories. Nothing was over the top and it was done with respect. For a motor sport movie, the story is one of the best to follow due to the complexity of it. Two similar men with the drive to succeed pushing their boundaries and giving one hell of a show for the public and media alike. Complex figures in a complex sport. As a selection, the story is perfect. It’s exciting, dramatic and poetic wrapped in a raw and passionate love of Formula 1 with bitter tragedy and undeniable respect.
For a sport that moves at 180mph, with cameras that were very basic, you couldn’t capture life in the cockpit of these rockets. Ron Howard has giving us this unique view point through a barrage of stunning shots, angles and cinematography. Race scenes are vivid with light and colour, and with enough shake and blur to position the viewer on the nose cone of the car. A particular favourite of mine was the scenes shot inside of the helmets. The small scene is quick, yet elegant. Filming from the top corner of the visor, it’s giving you a view of the racers eyes as they flick rapidly back and forth with the rush of colour outside. The shot is something the really resonates and conveys the emotion beautifully, even off the race track.
Take the time to go to a cinema that is strong in all the categories – A dedication to movies, a screen which is crystal clear and a sound system that thumps you right in the chest. Making this executive decision will increase the enjoyability of this movie. Sound is crucial for this film, a score composed by the one and only Hans Zimmer and a soundtrack laid by 3litre V8 engines. The spark of the engine is so powerful, it smacks you hard but it’s so damn satisfying. Blended with Hans Zimmer’s impeccable score, adrenaline begins pumping and becomes increasingly exciting. Zimmer has the incredible ability to maintain his trademark style but vary each piece perfectly to the desired movie.
Casting for a movie of this degree needs to be spot on, fortunately Ron Howard was. Mixing big names like Chris Hemsworth (James Hunt) and Olivia Wilde (Suzy Miller), alongside a few other notable faces and some small actors/actresses is always a difficult thing to do. Getting that balance is crucial when you want them to play their character perfectly. Actors may not have the ability to pull off certain accents from different areas of Britain and those with more experience, far out way the smaller actors. To anyone else, the British accent would probably stand out to them but as a Brit, I notice really bad British accents and I didn’t actually pick up on any accent issues. All of the actors played their roles perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda. His performance was brilliant and did raise moments where he showed the tremendous courage Niki had during the vacuuming of his lungs. He showed the brilliant mind, the amazing racer and slowly transitioned into the man with something to lose. Gaining fear but playing it logical. Do be aware though, Olivia Wilde only pops up for 4 or so scenes where she does very little within the plot but the trailer does make it out that she is far more involved.
So the round up the movie, I would say that it is up there with some of this years greatest movies, with possible Oscars and other awards on their way. The movie can be watched by anyone but they have to be literate. It’s educated and doesn’t focus on the mindless action but it does include some fairly disturbing scenes from Niki’s hospital stay and a crash during a race which ripped the head off of a racer. A movie like this needs to be seen by people who can appreciate it for everything that has gone into it and not expect Fast & Furious to break out. For an incredible movie, I’m giving it a 9/10.