The Cloverfield Paradox is a 2018 science fiction horror film directed by Julius Onah and written by Oren Uziel, from a story by Uziel and Doug Jung. Produced by J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot Productions, The Cloverfield Paradox is the third installment in the Cloverfield franchise, and follows an international group of astronauts aboard a space station who, after using a particle accelerator to try to solve Earth's energy crisis, must find a way home when the planet seemingly vanishes. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi, Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, and Aksel Hennie. Like 10 Cloverfield Lane before it, The Cloverfield Paradox is not a direct sequel to Cloverfield.
Once announced as a yet-to-be-named Cloverfield film in late 2016, later code-named "God Particle", the film's release was delayed several times. A surprise trailer aired during Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018, advertising the film's final title and its release on Netflix, which had purchased rights for the film from Paramount. The release occurred immediately after the game.
- "After a physics experiment with a large hadron accelerator causes the Earth to seemingly vanish completely, the terrified crew of an orbiting American space station is left floating in the middle of now-even-more-empty space. When a European spacecraft appears on their radar, the Americans must determine whether it’s their salvation, or a harbinger of doom."
- —Early Synopsis
In the near future, Earth is suffering from a global energy crisis. The collective space agencies of the world launch the /tg/ Station to perfect the Shepard particle accelerator, a project far too dangerous to test on Earth. If successful, the station would provide an unlimited supply of energy for the entire planet, but some pundits argue this would create the "Cloverfield Paradox" and open up portals to other dimensions to let monsters onto Earth. The crew includes Ava Hamilton, who frets about leaving her husband Michael Hamilton for potentially many years; the two have struggled with the death of their children years prior, which has left their relationship cold.
The crew are unable to get the accelerator working for about two years, but eventually they are successful. However, the system overloads, causing a massive power surge on the station. When they restore basic functions, they find that Earth is nowhere to be found, and the station's gyroscope, necessary for navigation, has gone missing. As the crew assess repairs and try to find out what happened, strange events happen all over the station.
Strange noises from behind a wall lead them to find a woman named Jensen who is fused among the wires, who they manage to extract safely. Volkov fears something is under his skin, and suddenly is compelled to craft a gun, but before he can threaten the crew, he convulses and dies, with the station's colony of worms spilling out of him.
While repairing the ship, Mundy's arm is pulled into the walls; he is rescued but his arm is severed clean off, completely painlessly and without bleeding. They later find his arm elsewhere on the station, moving on its own accord. They see the arm trying to write something, leading them to dissect Volkov's body to find the missing gyroscope. Once installed, they are able to locate Earth on the opposite side of the Sun, but as they receive transmissions from it, they find out that people there believe the Cloverfield Station was destroyed during operating the Shepard.
After conversing with Jensen, the crew determine they were pulled into an alternate dimension: one in which Hamilton had decided to stay on Earth with Michael and her children as a civilian engineer, Jensen had taken Tam's place as the lead engineer of the Shepard, and in which Schmidt had sabotaged the mission as a German military operative. They conclude that the Shepard's malfunction caused them to cross dimensions, and the strange events are all related to parts of multiple Cloverfield Stations trying to co-exist in the same time and place.
Tam identifies the issue with the reactor and gives Schmidt the appropriate changes to rectify it, but she is also killed in a freak accident. While the rest of the crew agrees they need to reactivate the Shepard without modification to return them to their dimension, Hamilton debates about staying in the current one to be with her children.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Michael learns that they have lost communication with the Cloverfield Station, and that some major accident has wrecked the city, and he sees signs of a giant creature off in the distance. He begins to drive to the hospital to offer his services as a doctor, but stops to help a frightened girl, Molly, in the ruins of a building. Learning the hospital has been destroyed, he drives Molly to an underground shelter belonging to a friend, and takes care of her wounds.
As the Cloverfield Station crew prepare to re-engage the Shepard, diverting power from their life support systems, another strange circumstance causes Mundy to be trapped in a strong magnetic field that leads to that section of the station exploding, killing Mundy and leaving the station adrift in two parts connected only by a few support beams, with the accelerators still spinning dangerously. Kiel sacrifices himself to manually disengage the accelerator ring, even though it could have easily been done remotely as described by Hamilton.
Hamilton makes plans to take the station's shuttle to return to the alternate Earth with Jensen while the others continue to activate Shepard to return to their dimension and restart the power supply. However, Jensen turns on them, recovering the gun Volkov made and using it to threaten the crew and kill Monk, believing that this crew killed her own crewmates, and wanting to make sure Shepard stays in this dimension. Hamilton eventually overpowers Jensen, takes the gun, and shoots a window, ejecting Jensen into space.
Hamilton decides to return with the crew, but leaves a message to her own self in this dimension with the required adjustments for the Shepard device, but reminding her of the value of her family. Hamilton tends to Schmidt, the only other surviving member of the crew, and they use Shepard to return home, and then make Tam's modifications to engage the Shepard to provide the power supply as intended. The two then are forced to evacuate via shuttle to return to Earth due to the lack of life support.
Michael is contacted by the control station letting them know they are back, but couldn't be warned in time about the state of Earth before they evacuated the Cloverfield Station. He angrily demands that Hamilton and Schmidt be told not to return to Earth. As the shuttle breaks through the cloud layer, Clover comes up roaring through the clouds.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton, the British communications officer aboard the Cloverfield Station and Michael’s wife.
- David Oyelowo as Kiel, the American commander of the station.
- Daniel Brühl as Ernst Schmidt, a German physicist.
- John Ortiz as Monk Acosta, a Brazilian doctor.
- Chris O'Dowd as Gordon Mundy, an Irish engineer.
- Aksel Hennie as Sasha Volkov, a Russian engineer.
- Zhang Ziyi as Ling Tam, a Chinese engineer.
- Elizabeth Debicki as Mina Jensen, an Australian engineer from one of the alternate timelines.
- Roger Davies as Michael Hamilton, Ava's husband.
- Clover Nee as Molly Pontanuis, a young girl rescued by Michael.
- Donal Logue as Mark Stambler
- Suzanne Cryer as Newscaster
- Simon Pegg as Radio Voice
- Greg Grunberg as Joe
According to screenwriter Oren Uziel, God Particle was not conceived as Cloververse film, or a story connected to the Cloverfield brand at all. The circumstances of the script were not dissimilar to the spec script written by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, whose script was rewritten as 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Uziel penned the script a year after completing the script for Shimmer Lake, and before the pre-production of 10 Cloverfield Lane. It was shopped around for years before he was approached by J.J. Abrams, who later purchased the script to use for the Cloververse film franchise he later created.
Uziel and Abrams rewrote the script during the production of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Uziel expressed he was uncertain what it meant for the film to be a part of the "Cloverfield Universe", other than production quality from working with Bad Robot and Abrams and the association with the Cloverfield brand would result in audience attendance.
God Particle was first announced in 2012 although the closure of Paramount's InSurge label put the film's release in jeopardy. The first hints that the film was connected to the Cloverfield brand came when a piece of the viral marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane included a soundclip that was supposedly from the International Space Station.
March 29, 2016, /Slashfilm reported Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo were cast in the film. The following month, Variety reported that John Krasinski was in early talks to join the film to play one of the astronauts. Whether or not he would appear in the film was unclear because of other commitments with a television series.
May 5, 2016, Elizabeth Debicki was cast in the film also to play one of the astronauts, and following her on May 10, 2016, Daniel Brühl also joined the film. Chris O'Dowd and Zhang Ziyi in late May 2016. The following day, May 27, 2016, John Ortiz and Aksel Hennie joined the film. Cinematographer Dan Mindel was confirmed to join the film from his résumé.
Filming for God Particle began on June 10, 2016.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a critical score of 19% based on 75 critic reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. Caillou Pettis of Daily Film Fix gave the film a negative review, and stated the film was "A colossal disappointment as its script is incredibly lazy, has next to no suspense, and its characters are unlikable due to thin character development."
- The gas station at the opening is called Kelvin like in J.J. Abrams's "super 8" and the USS Kelvin in Star Trek (2009).
- The scene with the earth front of the sun is a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- When Michael is scrolling his phone looking at social medias reaction to the outbreak of chaos, some messages flash past his screen are as follows:
- "What the hell is this!?! Did the Martians finally figure out a way to get here!?!"
- "Goodbye everyone, I love you"
- "My house is shaking, OMG i think a plane crashed"
- Did anyone else here that sound!?!?!? its going to haunt me forever"
- "OMG!!!! 5 city blocks just disappeared. This cant be happening ...."
- "My kids are crying, I dont know what to tell them"
- "que demonios pasa? el mundo se esta acabando o que"[note 1]
- Tam's death was similar to the death of the character Charlie Pace from LOST, a television drama produced and created by J.J. Abrams.
- "What the hell is going on? Is the world ending or what."