‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ is a mixed bag

In the midst of the fifty-second Super Bowl, Netflix decided to go for the extra point and surprise all of us. They not only dropped the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, the long awaited third entry to the Cloverfield franchise, but also announced that the entire film would be available to watch later that night. Needless to say, I stayed up to watch it all.

The film originally known as God Particle (honestly a better title) boasts a star studded cast led by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton, an astronaut(?) who joins the crew of the Cloverfield space station where they will attempt to fire the Shepard particle accelerator, which has the potential to create energy for a now deprived Earth. It’s set in the near future and has a strong vibe of other space thriller films like Alien.

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Let me start with this. I love the fact that the movie does have an incredibly diverse cast. It’s led by a group of truly brilliant actors and actresses like Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl and several others. I also loved the menacing score over the opening credits and throughout the action sequences of the film.

Okay, now the bad part: just about everything else. This felt more like a made for TV film, or a regular old Netflix original, which can be hit or miss depending on who you ask. The cast did the best with what they had.  The script feels slapped together with unnecessary narration that tries to tie it to the other films in the universe.

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Speaking of universes, this film introduces the idea of a multiverse. It has a very interesting concept, but it seems more like a cop out than an attempt to tie together a loose Twilight Zone-esque film series. The multiverse raises more questions than answers:

  • How did the particle accelerator allow dimensional travel/ripping?
  • Why didn’t the scientists (the most knowledgeable people about the Shepard) know that this was a risk? The thought of a dimensional rip was only given from the point of view of the film’s designated crazy man on cable news.

The Cloverfield Paradox benefited from a lack of marketing. If we had waited months, seen more trailers, and watched cast interviews then there would be nowhere near the hype that there was for it. I feel like the Cloverfield brand might work better as a sort of sci-fi anthology series instead of inside the realms of film. It might even shine in that regard. Unfortunately, Netflix already has a pretty successful one of those.

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