11 February 2018

When Netflix Treated Us To A Dump

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The Cloverfield Paradox reminds me of a present I got a few years ago for Christmas. Ripping the wrapping paper apart with eager anticipation I was forced to fake a smile when I discovered that the only thing that my Dad had got me was a fucking cheap plastic dinner tray. “Oh that's useful”, said my stepmum, “we didn't have a dinner tray but now we can use that one”. So not only did I have a shit present but it wasn't even a shit fucking present for me. Anyway, we all knew that a new Cloverfield movie was coming but I'm not sure that many people knew we'd be getting it quite as soon as we did. Expecting a cinematic release at some point in the year, it was actually announced during the Superbowl that the film would be available to watch on Netflix as soon as the game was over. As a fan of the first movie and an even bigger fan of 10 Cloverfield Lane, I felt the excitement hit me like I'd been head butted in the stomach by an angry dwarf. It literally did feel like Christmas day all over again but better because I wasn't in anyway obligated to see my family. Loading up my friend's Netflix account like the fucking leech that I am, I selected the movie and began to watch it. I appreciate that like it was a gift that was given to me out of the blue. But like the time I got the dinner tray for Christmas, I can't help but feel like what I really got was a slap in the fucking face.

Originally conceived to be a stand-alone movie called God Particle, it was during the middle of filming that it was decided that the film would become part of 'the Cloverfield franchise'... whatever the fuck that actually is?! The first movie consisted of mocked up found-footage that followed a group of clueless but normal people during a Godzilla-style monster smash. The second was a tense thriller in which a woman wakes up from a crash inside John Goodman's bunker and has to decide if he's saved her from an apocalypse or simply kidnapped her. This movie follows a gang of thick-as-shit astronauts as they try to find a renewable energy source in space and accidentally lose the Earth in the process. Meanwhile I slowly lost the will to fucking live. But what the fuck connects them all? Originally I thought that the idea of an anthology series was quite cool until it occurred to me that this was just a cynical way of turning stand-alone movies into a franchise. Perhaps you could argue that the title is irrelevant and if that's how they make money and therefore fund unique stories then it's all actually for the greater good? Except that once it's been decided that a film is part of the Cloverfield series they go back and add in a bunch of extra shit to try and tie it more together. But what the hell are they tying together? What's the main theme? It's like watching a crazy drunk lady attempt to glue all her cats together for reasons that literally only make sense to her.

Perhaps therefore you could argue that what connects the Cloverfield series is that it consists of quality sci-fi movies which rely on a viral marketing strategy. The first film was announced with an obscure trailer and a bunch of intriguing websites. The second was revealed in a trailer and only few months before its release. As mentioned, this third has just been dumped onto Netflix with the word 'dumped' being the term to use considering how much of a fucking turd it is. Which also means that “quality sci-fi” is no longer a connecting element of this series. So what we're left with is a franchise that's only distinguishing feature is its genre and an advertising technique. Wow. Had The Cloverfield Paradox been a good film then perhaps this wouldn't be a problem. But as it stands it seems that the movie was released in this way because Paramount, its original studio must have realised that they had a dud on their hands and that they had three main options to go with it. Release it cinematically, have it ravaged by critics and taint the brand name. Give it a smaller release, endure the stories about how the film is so bad that the studio is trying to hide it, and taint the brand name. Or sell it to Netflix for $50million instantly putting the movie into profit, have it ravaged by critics, but also have most people talk positively about its surprise release and ultimately forget its overall quality! Like my dinner tray Christmas present they clearly went for the third option. They gave us what looked like a present but that was actually a piece of crap that was designed to benefiting nobody but them.

The film itself begins on Earth in one of the many scenes that either scream of re-shoots or just go completely fucking nowhere. An astronaut is essentially saying goodbye to her husband before flying off to space to find a way of providing renewable energy for the planet. If anything depleted me of energy though it was watching this fucking film. The plan goes tits up and her and her crew are blasted across the galaxy for no real reason whilst her husband back on Earth is attacked by a large unseen monster that's in the unmistakable shape of cynical branding! Somehow in space the idiots on the rocket manage to merge their dimension with another which then proves to be the sole explanation for everything that subsequently happens. Why is his detached arm crawling independently around the ship? Dimension problems! Why is there a woman in the walls? Dimension problems! Why is Earth under attack? Dimension problems! Why is there no further explanation or consistent rule to these dimension problems? Dimension problems!! Try to imagine a crap remake of Event Horizon but in which it's the audience who want to tear their own fucking eyes out and you're not too far from The Cloverfield Paradox.

The annoying thing is that the movie might actually have been funny if it wasn't also so fucking boring. If you can think of any cliché from the 'things that go wrong on a spaceship' sub-genre then I guarantee that you'll find them here. It seems that everything from Sunshine to Solaris has had ideas stolen and injected into the brain of a lazy chimp that was then commissioned to write the script for half a banana. By the fact that it premiered on Netflix and is part of an anthology series you could almost see it working as a sort of spoof of itself but as part of the Black Mirror series rather than Cloverfield. Kind of like that episode in which Jesse Plemons holds a group of digital clones hostage within his virtual homage to Star Trek. Except that Black Mirror is intelligent, subversive, and pretty sharply focused on whatever the episodes underlying theme is. Also the characters of Black Mirror are generally fully rounded and complex whereas here they're thinner than the hair at the back of Donald Trumps head. Other than the main woman who we met on Earth I dare you to tell me anything about any of the other characters beyond the fact that they're shit astronauts. What are their motives for being here? What are their skills that make them worthy of being here? In the case of Chris O'Dowd it seems to be that he's the closest person on board to realising he should be in a comedy movie.

When I opened my cheeky Cloverfield present I was optimistic. By about fifty minutes in I'd lost complete patience with it and began fantasising about setting the curtains on fire as though I was going through the fucking menopause. However nothing could quite prepare me for the bile and fucking hate that I felt during the last five seconds in which I simultaneously grew and burst my own stomach ulcers through sheer contempt. I won't spoil anything except to say that it confused the concept of its own fucking cynically corporate and convoluted justification for existing and came dangerously close to tainting a previous movie that I actually like. Wait.. so are these movies part of the same universe or not? Because the complete lack of imagination in these final frames is an insult to anybody with even one jolt of electricity powering their brain. It's bad enough that this movie has plot-holes so huge that King Kong could stick his dick through them.. but now it's dragging down another film with it? Not only that but the CG of these final frames is so shoddy that it's as though an overly hydrated designer was told that they had to finish the scene before they could go for a piss. Was this bit added last minute in an attempt to justify the name Cloverfield or had Tyler Durden literally stuck a gun in some blokes mouth the night before and found out that his dream was to create terrible effects and fuck up already crap movies? Either way The Cloverfield Paradox is the gift equivalent of somebody taking a shit through your letter box and shouting “Happy Birthday” as they wipe their arse on your door mat. I hated it. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time!

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