The Cloverfield Paradox

02/11/2018 14:30

Film: The Cloverfield Paradox

Year: 2018

Director: Julius Onah

Writer: Oren Uziel

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo and Daniel Brühl



This film, much like most people, I heard about while watching the Super Bowl. It had a strategic campaign to reveal this and state it was hitting Netflix. I’ve liked the previous two films, so I was down to see this. Pretty sure I saw this as part of my year end round up. The synopsis being orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

We then start with a couple in a car. They’re Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Michael (Roger Davies). We learn from the radio as well from their interactions that there is an energy crisis on Earth. Tensions are running higher and they are waiting in a long line to get gas for their car. There are black-outs that are happening more and more often. Hamilton is a scientist who has received an offer to go into space for a mission that could solve this problem. Michael tells her to go, stating that it could be over as soon as six months and they need her. It should be pointed out as well, this is the near future.

We then get a montage of scenes that show the crew in this space station as they work. They haven’t been able to solve the problem as fast as it was planned. It’s already been around 2 years they’ve been up there. The head of the crew is Kiel (David Oyelowo). Along with him are Schmidt (Daniel Brühl), Monk (John Ortiz), Mundy (Chris O’Dowd), Volkov (Aksel Hennie) and Tam (Ziyi Zhang). The tensions on the station are starting to run higher too as Volkov blames Schmidt for the failures, stating he is working with the German government for this mission to fail so Russia can be wiped out.

Right before the next experiment, Hamilton and Michael talk via a video conferencing. She reveals that they only have enough fuel to run tests three more times. In the control room they are watching an interview of Mark Stambler (Donal Logue) on a monitor as they prep. He is talking about the dangers of the experiment they are conducting. The Cloverfield Paradox is stating that this could rip the time/space and that things could come from other dimensions into ours.

They perform the experiment and this time it works. There’s a problem with it and fire breaks out. Everything is shut down and they realize something, they are no longer orbiting Earth. They cannot contact mission control as they have no idea where they are. Tam then hears something in a wall. It is opened up to find Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki). She is tangled up in the wiring and they have to cut her out of it. Once she wakes up, we learn that she was part of this crew and knows Hamilton. The thing is that they don’t know her. Jensen claims to have the job of Tam on this mission.

Other weird things start to happen and it causes the tensions to run even higher. Stambler might have been right and they have to get to the bottom of things that are happening before it is too late. The fate of the world is resting on them and bigger problems might have arisen as well.

As I said earlier, just like most everyone else who watched the Super Bowl or at least heard about the dropping of the trailer during it without a warning. This definitely intrigued me. I did learn after watching this, that much like the previous film 10 Cloverfield Lane, this was a script and film that was going to be made, but J.J. Abrams purchased it and tweaked it to join the universe. I have to say that, much like the previous film, if this one was just released without the Cloverfield aspects used, I think I still would have enjoyed it.

The reason being I love the concept of time, space and dimensions. When they are crossed and the issues that it creates, it makes for compelling drama and horror as well as moral decisions. For this though, I almost feel like the Cloverfield aspects hurt it, because it again doesn’t need those things. The final thing at the end I just feel is there to ensure we know it ties back in. I will continue to watch the films in the series and reserve to move my rating up to see how things all fit together. This does seem to explain at least how some of these things end up on Earth and time travel could be involved.

The acting for this film is really good though. I like Mbatha-Raw and I can’t fault her character for the decision she is faced with. I don’t have children, so I can’t completely commiserate, but she was very believable in the job she did. Oyelowo was solid. Brühl makes for a great character that you never know if he is good or bad. He just has a way about him to make you feel like he is hiding something. O’Dowd brings some good comedy. Debicki was really interesting too. She was so menacing that I never trusted her, but she provides answers to things so it is hard not to. I thought the rest of the cast round out the film pretty well also.

For the effects, they were a majority of CGI. This is something that was needed for what they were going for and it doesn’t really bother me too much. I thought it looked good which is really all that matters. There also seemed to be some practical effects that looked solid as well. I thought the editing of the film needed to be tightened up a bit. It kind of drug in the middle for me which caused me to lose interest just a bit, but I don’t find it boring. It does have a good climax that reeled me back in, but the resolution left a little to be desired. The score didn’t really stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film.

Now with that said, I still feel that this is an above average film with great concepts. Everything to do with space, time and dimensions I was on board for as it fascinates me. The Cloverfield ties-in, I don’t currently love. Part of this is they feel forced while the other part is I don’t know where it is leading us. The acting for the film was good. The editing had some slight issues for me. The score didn’t hurt or help the film in my opinion. The setting of the film did help, being stuck in a space station. You get that claustrophobic feel which is good as well as the mistrust of those around you. If you like the Cloverfield, I’d say give this a viewing. I also think this could be viewed on its own. This won’t be for everyone, but I did feel that this is above average and worth a viewing.


My Rating: 7 out of 10