“The Cloverfield Paradox” stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi. Released on Netflix on February 4, 2018, the film is about a group of astronauts who come across a dangerous situation during their space mission.
The film is directed by Julius Onah, and it is the third installment in the Cloverfield film series. Well, this is an unexpected surprise. After many issues with finding the release date, many people thought that the latest Cloverfield movie will never see the light of day. That is, until an ad for it showed up during the Super Bowl, confirming its official release on Netflix. This is probably one of the most unexpected strategies that Netflix has ever done. I mean, why release it right after the Super Bowl…on a Sunday? Usually movie releases land on a Friday or a Wednesday. Anyway, the Cloverfield movies have been known for their mysterious marketing campaign, especially 10 Cloverfield Lane back in 2016 when it released its trailer and official title two months before it even came out. Now it looks like they’re trying the same strategy again with the popular streaming service. Will it work the third time?
Taking place in the near future, Earth is facing a huge shortage of energy. With the world at stake, a group of space agencies launch a space station known as the Cloverfield Station into orbit to perfect a dangerous project that could give the planet an unlimited supply of energy, but could create something deadly as well. Unfortunately, the mission didn’t go exactly as planned as a huge power surge leaves a bunch of astronauts stranded and causes the Earth to vanish into thin air. To make matters worse, they have to face a lot of strange occurrences that are in the station. One of the reasons why I really liked 10 Cloverfield Lane is its sense of mystery and tension that took place in a closed environment. For “Paradox”, they’re attempting to recapture that same feeling that worked in its predecessor. This time, in a space station. The concept of having people getting stuck in space is nothing new in the movie business, especially when they’re dealing with something that isn’t human, but does that really harm the movie in any way? Not really, but as an attempt to deliver the same experience as the last two Cloverfield films, it came up pretty short. The cast delivered some solid performances to their “far from memorable” characters, including Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton, one of the astronauts who is obviously the only character worth caring about. Even though the plot follows its usual sci-fi horror tropes, the film does well in connecting its predecessors together by answering the questions that were left unsolved since the release of Cloverfield back in 2008. The story also included a side-plot that’s supposed to make the audience care for Hamilton and her husband back on Earth. It did feel a bit corny at times, but it didn’t feel unnecessary. Similar to 10 Cloverfield Lane, the film has its sense of mystery and tension that kept me glued to the screen. While those things were handled very well by Julius Onah, they weren’t enough to deliver the exact amount of impact that made 10 Cloverfield Lane a terrifying experience. Another flaw that prevented it from reaching the heights of its predecessors was the third act. The first two acts were nicely executed in terms of its freaky concept and its sense of mystery, but the final act has a few obvious moments that weren’t nearly as shocking as it was before.
Overall, much like the third films in their respective franchises, “The Cloverfield Paradox” falls short compared to its predecessors. However, the film’s engaging sense of mystery and tension and a tolerable cast were enough to deliver a watchable piece of sci-fi entertainment. After watching this movie, I can understand why it’s not as good as the last two Cloverfield installments, but I really don’t think it’s as bad as the critics say it was. A decent continuation of the franchise that’s worth a look at if you’re in a mood for some sci-fi thrills.