Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Man, talk about a quick turnaround review! No one had any inkling we'd be getting the next CLOVERFIELD movie tonight (let alone even a title!), but the rumors of a Paramount/Netflix deal with the film were revealed to be true as The Patriots and The Eagles squared off. Dropped online directly after the game was over, the latest installment of the franchise, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, serves as a prequel to the last two films, CLOVERFIELD and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. Well, although it's a prequel it's ALSO more of an origin, as it gives the ultimate set-up to what caused monsters/aliens to appear on Earth and the various complexities that creates in this "CLOVERFIELD universe".

The film begins with scientist Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) struggling over a decision to take on a space expedition to harness a new form of energy via a particle accelerator. She's unsure of tackling the mission and her husband, Michael (Roger Davies), gives her the push she needs to take it on. The problem (which I don't recall from the first CLOVERFIELD), is that energy resources are an issues on Earth and it's causing all kinds of issues, including geopolitical ones that are spelling out invasions from other nations and a general state of unrest in the world. Enter the Cloverfield, a space station that is attempting to fix the world's problems with a renewable energy solution via a particle accelerator. However, the use of this isn't exactly embraced by everyone as critics (including an "expert" author in a cameo from Donal Logue) say that it could possibly unleash monsters or demons from another dimension. Uhhh, yep.

So, that's as far as I want to dig into spoilers as THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX dives deep into the science fiction realm of twists, turns, conundrums and shocks that vary on a scale from "Holy Shit" to "Saw That Coming". But, make no mistake, it's a very fun film with some really fun, crazy and even heartfelt moments that make it a worthy entry in the overall CLOVERFIELD saga (thus far). We see Mbatha-Raw's Hamilton onboard the Cloverfield space station and attempting to create a steady beam of energy with the accelerator as the opening credits roll, a series of unsuccessful attempts in their wake. The crew, consisting of Daniel Bruhl, Ziyi Zhang, David Oyelowo, Aksel Hennie and John Ortiz are your usual rabble of sci-fi scientest types, although a bit more vanilla on the personality scale (with O'Dowd supplying the majority of the well-timed laughs), but each actor brings their own shade of charm to their roles, even if they don't particularly shine in any way.

Well, except for Mbatha-Raw, who gets the meat of the movie as she deals with a conflicting personal tragedy (which slowly unravels throughout the film) and, in turn, the scenes with the most emotional impact. Also in the mix is Elizabeth Debicki (who makes one hell of an entrance) who plays a mysterious scientist that throws them all for a loop. As I mentioned before, there are plenty of "Holy Shit" moments here and I found myself yelling at the screen numerous times or laughing aloud at some of the stuff that comes into play. I'm tap-dancing around spoilers, but there are many moments here that are familiar (think PROMETHEUS, ALIENS, SUNSHINE, THE THING etc.), but also slightly askew in a really fun way. In many ways I can see how this had a struggle to the big screen as it's not exceptionally cinematic, which isn't to say it doesn't look good, but it's not overflowing with style or pizazz. It's perfectly well done and competent, but not a standout in terms of vision or execution.

However, it is a great addition to this ever-growing CLOVERFIELD universe and certainly answers some questions that open the door to almost limitless possibilities in continuing the series. With rumors that the JJ Abrams produced OVERLORD is also part of the CLOVERFIELD world, we could next be seeing a major jump in time for the franchise and it would certainly take PARADOX to explain how that's possible, so it makes perfect sense that this one would be ushered out to viewers pronto. I won't say this is my favorite of the series (10 CLOVERFIELD LANE still holds that spot for me), but again it advances this universe, which could easily be a long-running franchise in a new kind of Twilight Zone world. Perhaps the episodic nature of these films is best suited on Netflix. I'm really fine with that. Keep 'em comin'.


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