The Cloverfield Paradox: Entertaining, but Frivolous

Sunday night during the Super Bowl Netflix aired a trailer for a new installment in the Cloverfield franchise. This was no ordinary trailer, however, because the film dropped only hours later. The trailer actually said that the film was “coming very soon” but later an email was sent out to the press that clarified that the film would be available for streaming on Netflix immediately after the game ended.

The Cloverfield Paradox was bought by Netflix from Paramount Pictures for $50 million, which was a pretty sweet deal for Paramount considering the film was likely to be a flop at the box office. The use of Beyonce-esque drop garnered extreme interest in the movie, and then allowed viewers to watch it almost immediately. Not having to get dressed, drive to the movie theater, and shell out 15 bucks made The Cloverfield Paradox much more accessible, but maybe that’s why it had so many awful reviews. People go to the movies because they want to see the movie. People watched The Cloverfield Paradox because it was there, and, with most people only having heard of it a few hours prior, they had no time to decide whether they truly wanted to watch it or not before taking the plunge.

Directed by J J Abrams, the premise of the movie is that in 2028, the world is in the midst of an energy crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. A team of international scientists orbiting Earth are trying to find a way to create unlimited energy through a particle accelerator. As often happens in science-fiction movies, things go horribly wrong, and our favorite team of international scientists become interstellar scientists as they end up far away from the Earth that they know.

Like many fans of Cloverfield movies, I was excited at the prospect of a brand new installment. Unlike the previous two films (2008’s Cloverfield and 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane), The Cloverfield Paradox feels less like a horror movie and more like a sci-fi action flick, which is perhaps why so many critics are bashing it. Or, maybe it has a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes because of how many questions it leaves the viewers. Many people on twitter have talked about how they felt that the movie was more confusing than necessary, and it didn’t relate to the first film as much as they had hoped.

The Cloverfield Paradox seems less like a prequel and more like movie loosely related to the others. It takes place in the same universe and answers some questions on how the monsters from the original Cloverfield came into our world, but the only scenes that take place on the ground feel mostly irrelevant. Roger Davies, who plays the husband of Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s main character Hamilton, is the center of focus for the scenes on the ground. Much of what he does on the ground does nothing to further the plot or his or anyone else’s character, so he feels somewhat irrelevant. His character could be seen as a way to further Hamilton, but in practice he just takes away from the story unfolding in space

The movie wasn’t incredible, mind-boggling, or even necessarily good, but it did what movies should do; it was entertaining. Sure, the science was completely whack, the dialogue could feel cardboard at times, but it was still enjoyable. People who went into The Cloverfield Paradox with high hopes were left disappointed, but if you have a soft spot for somewhat silly science fiction movies and you don’t go in with high expectations, you’ll enjoy the hour and 40 minutes you spend watching it.


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