The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), a failed clash of dimensions

The third Cloverfield, again a completely different take on the same event. However, it is the first Cloverfield movie I would recommend to skip.

The Cloverfield Paradox is set in a space station, where the Shepard – a particle accelerator – is tested. The Shepard should theoretically be able to supply earth with abundant energy, which would be a good thing since, due to energy shortage, tensions are high and world wars are about to happen. Of course, there are also the paranoid ones who claim that the Shepard might cause ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’: different dimensions will clash and mix with each other.

The Shepard test succeeds, and with it, the paradox. The space station is gone in ‘our’ world, and ends up in a different dimension. But not exactly in the same way, there is an extra crew member – switched from the space station of that dimension, who knows all of ‘our’ crew – , people act strange, and the station itself seems changed too, almost alive, like it has a mind of its own.

Some ideas are fun; one of the arms of a crew member is devoured by the ship, to show up later as an own identity, wobbling around, and giving hints in writing and gestures. The arm seems fun and friendly, while we have no clue why the ship sometimes attacks the crew. The idea is that due to the dimension shift some things end up in the wrong place: worms and the accelerator inside the Russian crew member, the crew member who shifted stations, but why would that make the ship able to devour an arm? However, we are not given the time to start being afraid of the ship, because the crew also needs to get back to ‘our’ dimension and has to think about engineering, accelerators and paradoxes, and on top of all that there is a personal story of the English crew member, who lost her children in our dimension, and wants to save them in this dimension. There is a lot going on: horror elements, sci-fi, personal pain and dilemma’s, but unfortunately none of it gets interesting.

armirish.PNG

Actually, the most interesting part of the movie is how the crew members are portrayed. Every crew member is from a different nationality, flag stitched on their outfits. The best of the Earth combined, in a mission for energy for all. ‘We’ (the ones we trust most and shape our perspective to the story) are England and USA, (fittingly called parents) England, communications officer, with her personal story, wanting to save her children, and USA commander of the ship and hero. UsA saves the crew, the mission and possibly worlds by sacrificing himself. (Mom England with focus on the wellbeing of her own children, Dad USA with focus on the good in the world. Still the same parental roles since the ancient Greeks.)

USAUK

Brazil is a good guy as well, religious (an archaic, exotic element) but trustworthy. Ireland is the funny one, even though his arm gets cut off, the arm never becomes scary and stays helpful.

The obvious bad guy is Russia. He (blonde white male, also visually the opposite of the good guys) is being volatile from the beginning, not trusting Germany, throwing a tantrum, Germany starts fighting with him and hero USA has to intervene, reminding them that we all have to work together. After the shift Russia is the one who has all the worms and the accelerator inside him and he starts walking around wildly with a gun. (!) Russia dies first, from the horrific contents inside him, throwing up worms.

Then there are the others. Germany and China converse in Chinese together. This shows that they are different from ‘us’, we literally cannot understand them. They are unknown. Both experts in engineering, another area they share but we don’t. Can they be trusted? While the new crew member is not specified as a nation, we can suspect (due to accent, and being tall and blonde) that she is from Northern Europe. While she is different anyway, since she is from a different dimension with entirely different motives than the rest, she is geographically part of ‘the others’. Interestingly in The Cloverfield Paradox the boundary to ‘otherness’ starts in continental Europe.

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