The Merciad

New ‘Cloverfield’ is substandard

Anthony Miller, Staff writer

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Warning — this review contains spoilers for the film.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Netflix announced that a new “Cloverfield” movie was going to be available to watch on the service after the game.
This surprise announcement, combined with the rumors I’d heard of a troubled production and the fact that this was originally going to be a theatrical release, made me realize that this movie would likely not be amazing.
I didn’t get something amazing. I didn’t even get something passable.
I got something bad.
And the more I think about this movie, the more I dislike it.
The premise admittedly holds promise.
Earth’s energy supplies are running low, and the nations of the world come together to send a team of researchers on a mission to conduct scientific tests in space, which may hold the key to infinite energy.
After a seemingly successful test, the Earth disappears and reality itself seems to start to fall apart.
The problems first arise with the poor plotting of the movie.
To give an example, the movie opens like so many other movies of this kind do, with the sound of news footage establishing the state of the planet and the premise of the film.
What better scene to follow this exposition dump with than a scene where the main character and her husband sit in a dark car and explain the premise of the film to the camera?
Another poor plotting issue is the fact that everyone in this film is an idiot.
If you thought the crew of the Prometheus was stupid, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
This is the kind of crew to hear a monstrous screaming coming from behind a wall and decide to open the wall up just to see what’s inside.
Another scene that displays the stupidity of the characters is a sequence where all the metal in a room starts flying at high speed towards a wall.
Instead of the character in the room ducking down to avoid, you know, getting smashed in the head by flying metal, he walks slowly and inquisitively towards the wall.
There are multiple scenes that play out like this, where characters ignore basic common sense for the sake of plot.
All of this is before I get to the weird tonal inconsistencies in this film.
The first death scene in this film is horrific and surprisingly shocking, but it gets undermined when the comic relief of the crew caps the scene off with a snarky quip.
In fact, all of the characters constantly underreact to everything that happens in the movie.
The Earth itself literally disappears and they freak out about it for all of two scenes before moving on.
At one point, a character loses an arm, and he reacts like he forgot his keys at work.
A man literally explodes, and his friends’ first instinct is to make a snarky quip about it.
I don’t have enough time here to go into all of this movie’s problems, but one final one I have to mention is a subplot revolving around the main character’s husband back on Earth.
You could remove it from the movie and nothing would change.
It feels like it was added at the last minute, which, if the testimony of those who saw this movie during test screenings back in September is to be trusted, it was.
I’m already at 600 words, so I’ll just end this by saying that if you want a good version of this movie, go watch Event Horizon or Sunshine instead.
I expected better from a movie bearing the name “Cloverfield.”

1.5/5 Stars

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New ‘Cloverfield’ is substandard