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THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX- REVIEW

Directed By: Julius Onah
Produced by: J.J. Abrams Bad Robot Productions
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Chris O’DowdMbatha-Raw, and Zhang Ziyi

A surprise is always best when you have no idea that it’s coming. It’s even better when that surprise is something that you didn’t know you wanted but happy you have now. That’s the best way to describe Netflix’s leap of faith into the Cloverfield universe with the “The Cloverfield Paradox”. To me, the Cloverfield movies to date have been 50/50. The first “Cloverfield” was “new and different”. A sort of “Blair Witch Project for the Sci-Fi Geeks and a long tease with not showing us a full “monster”. Got to give a movie props for pulling a JAWS10 Cloverfield Lane was a long and boring “swing and a miss” look into people trapped in a bunker during a monster siege. Again, we don’t get to see any monsters. We even wonder if it’s all in the mind of a whacky right wing “doomsday-prepper”. John Goodman couldn’t make that fun. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is a prequel, if we are talking actual space and time. It explains how the Cloverfield Monsters came to be in our universe.

 

An ensemble cast of international stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Mbatha-Raw, and Zhang Ziyi make up just some of the crew for the thriller-space adventure based in the Cloverfield universe. The Shepard is a space station particle accelerator, that the scientists are trying to jump start in order to supply the world with unlimited energy. If they can they can, they will save the Earth from tearing itself apart over dwindling oil resources and supplies. Even in the future we still haven’t adopted solar energy? A six month mission has turned into nearly two years and a do or die deadline fast approaching. When the crew successfully fires their particle accelerator for the first time they accidentally send themselves into another similar dimension. With physics and equal matter occupying the same space and time things start to go bad when their molecules…oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed. But yes, space hijinks and weirdness ensue that both makes sense and still manages to be entertaining. If you are familiar with the Hadron collider particle accelerator conspiracy theory here on Earth, then “The Cloverfield Paradox” is the same thing, but in space. And instead of the “Mandala effect” we got Kaiju. Why is that so hard?

 

I really enjoyed the directing and storytelling style of “The Cloverfield Paradox”. It wasn’t spoonfeeding the audience. It allowed the viewer to discover what was going on along with the crew. Mbatha Raw’s performance as Hamilton is strong and one of the best performances she’s ever given. She really did a great job! We look forward to seeing her in future Cloverfield movies!

 

The visual graphics were believable and felt in place for the not-so-distant-future of “The Colverfield Paradox”. It was called “The God Particle” until recently acquired from Paramount pictures.  According to online reports, Netflix paid Paramount $50 million dollars. “The God Particle” was slated for an April 20th theatrical release date. The powers that be decided to “drop it online [Just after the Super Bowl] because it seemed fun”. During a Q&A with Abrams, Onah, and Stars Roger Davies and David Oyelowo reveal that this was a surprise even to them. Oyelowo says that he got the during the Super Bowl letting him know that the movie was being released that day. Netflix released two trailers during the Super Bowl and then released “The Cloverfield Paradox” just after the game.

 

Similar to the previous Colverfield movies the monsters were largely left unseen and kept the audience to wonder if monsters or man was causing the destruction on screen. At least I felt that was the directors intentions, but during the Q&A it was revealed that the movie wasn’t originally part of the Cloverfield story line but was made to fit. The ground scenes were filmed after screenings left viewers wanting to know more about what was happening on earth. The producers intend for the future Cloverfield movies to be similar to what we’ve seen so far. Short anecdotes “like amusement park rides” that fit into a larger narrative. Despite being a late adaptation to the Cloverfield universe, fear not, the producers didn’t disappoint and we actually get to see one of the Colverfield monsters on screen and for an extended few seconds. Take it all in! I did, but the second thought I had was, is this the Pacific Rim universe? (no, they have no ties but they creatures do look a hell of a lot alike!)