A few weeks back, someone let loose that J. J. Abram’s next science fiction film God Particle will be the next series in Bad Robot’s Cloverfield anthology. This is exciting for a couple of reasons: firstly, the last two Cloverfield movies were surprisingly solid and Abrams’ looks to be continuing the tradition of putting unknown directors in the driver’s seat with Julius Onah.
The movie itself promises to follow a group of astronauts working aboard an American space station when something goes wrong with an experimental particle accelerator aboard the ship. While there are already countless theories about where the Oren Uziel-written script will take the cast (including David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl and Chris O’Dowd) suggests that it’ll be a science fiction adventure underpinned by the same human performances of the last two Cloverfield movies.
The idea of the Cloverfield anthology is quite cool, the evasiveness surrounding J.J. Abram’s last mystery box ultimately detracted from the experience of fans confused about what they were getting. In fact, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s only problem was how unclear things were about the film’s shared heritage with 2008’s found-footage monster flick.
Going into God Particle, we’re in a much better spot. Take a classic science-fiction premise, throw in some really personable actors and watch them all go to pieces. Give or take some viral marketing, that’s pretty much the Cloverfield formula – and it’ll be interesting to see how the new movie builds on it.
What’s exciting about Onah’ film being part of the brand (rumored to be moving to a yearly release schedule) isn’t so much about it connecting with the earlier instalment, but the promise that it’ll live up to their high bar of style and quality filmmaking. It’s much closer to the appeal of Black Mirror than it is American Horror Story. It’s not about the proven premise of a monster movie or alien invasion, it’s all about the execution of that premise.
Hell, just look at Arrival if you need a more recent example.
Sure, given the potential for alternate dimensional storytelling that the phrase “when something goes wrong with an experimental particle accelerator” brings to the table, it’s not impossible that more-direct connections with the last two films won’t emerge – it’s just not the point. Even without the Cloverfield connections, God Particle looks like it’s shaping up to be a stellar bit of indie science fiction film. Hangover from our worst fears of 2008 could make for some of the best mainstream cinema of 2017
Watch out for God Particle when it arrives in cinemas on October 27th, 2017.