Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

By Tarini Venkat

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), a Netflix Original science-fiction movie directed by Julius Onah, was just released after the Super Bowl on February fourth.

A prequel to both Cloverfield (2008) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), which were both directed by J.J. Abrams, this one just had Abrams’ title on production.

It’s supposed to explain the events of these two movies, and it does, admittedly play this part, but only somewhat. Although the ‘scientific’ explanation for these monsters is farfetched, the very ending scene connects to the ending scenes of both Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

It stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelow, Elizabeth Debicki, Zhang Ziyi, Daniel Bruhl, and Chris O’Dowd. Perhaps the only redeeming feature of this movie is that cast is very diverse- the main scientist and character in the movie is a woman of color.

Due to the trailer played during the Super Bowl, the film got a lot of attention. Netflix reportedly paid over fifty million dollars on this movie, but it only scored an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes (the audience score was 55%).

“The fastest turnaround from must-see event to disappointing dud in history.” said Adam Graham, film critic for the Detroit News.

It also seems more like a Black Mirror episode than a horror movie, because it is a dystopian that takes place in 2028 during a world energy crisis- except unlike Black Mirror, there is absolutely nothing scary about this so-called ‘horror’ movie.

Also, several of the events that are supposed to be ‘scary’ are just the bizarre ‘body-horror’ cliche, without any real explanation. In fact, it’s kind of hilarious- it’s the kind of bad movie, like Sharknado (2013) which is enjoyable to watch ironically, with your friends. All of the ‘dramatic’ lines are delivered so somberly that it’s kind of funny.

Since the whole conflict in the movie is that while searching for an energy source in space, the scientists accidentally unleash an alternate universe, the ‘Anything can happen in an alternate universe’ logic serves as justification not only for all of the non-sequiter events that happen in this movie, but as a justification for all of the non-sequiter, random events that happen throughout the entire franchise.

Another thing it seems like is a parody of Nolan’s Interstellar (2014). Similar to Interstellar, the main character is a scientist who goes on a mission to save the world, which is dystopian due to lack of natural resources, but mostly wants to save their family. However, once they’re up there, everything goes horribly, and comically wrong. Unlike Interstellar, the mishaps that occur when the space crew creates the ‘Rip In The Fabric Of Space-Time™’ is more comical and silly than powerful or emotional.

It also borrows from Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), and Cuaron’s Gravity (2013).

All in all, this is a movie worth watching- but only ironically.

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