The Cloverfield Paradox [2018] is the third film in the secretive Cloverfield franchise that has been known for generating mystery behind its films before suddenly releasing them without a typical marketing campaign. This latest follows a crew aboard a space station attempting to use a particle accelerator to generate endless energy to solve an energy crisis back on earth. As expected, the use of the accelerator produces unexpected results. Directed by Julius Onah and starring an ensemble including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, Ziyi Zhang, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Askel Hennie, Roger Davies, and Elizabeth Debicki.

The way of the future. Originally titled “God Particle” this film was a secretive project that was re-worked into the Cloververse similar to 10 Cloverfield Lane [2016]. Not much was known about the film which ended up getting its release date pushed back on several occasions. Then suddenly, with little to no warning, Netflix debuted the first trailer for the film during the Superbowl with the trailer ending in the announcement that the film would be available to stream after the big game. A surprising move that fits perfectly within this surprising franchise, advertising for a film and then releasing it only a few hours later.

“We’re not in Kentucky anymore.” The film follows a group of scientists on a space station orbiting the earth. Aboard the ship is the largest particle accelerator ever made, and the goal is to stabilize it enough to generate limitless power to resolve an energy crisis plaguing the earth. Of course, with such immense power and unpredictability the particle bashing ends up sending the space station elsewhere far from earth…and then things get weird. Normal rules no longer apply and the laws of physics go out the window.

Luckily no lens flairs though. The whole production looks striking. The effects are kind of fantastic in a myriad of ways beyond the typical big CGI spaceship and the like. The camera work is a bit predictable for a “sci-fi space horror” kind of picture (tilting down the corridors) but overall everything services the story well enough and don’t take away from the experience. The script is entertaining, but it feels that the science of it all is kept as bare-bones simple as possible as not to confuse the less logically inclined viewers. The plot and narrative all hold together fairly well despite some stereotypical character issues here and there, but it does feel like everything happening off the space station is the stuff not from the original script that is there to tie this into the Cloververse as much as possible. And…it doesn’t really do too great a job.

Surprisingly unsurprising. There are some clever and unique moments when things go awry, but ultimately the beats of the story are typical and unexciting and the ending is really unspectacular. It’s understandable why this film was chosen to be fitted into an established franchise rather than released on its own because there’s not quite enough to really hold its own as anything new. Unfortunately, as the next entry into this mysterious Cloverfield universe that’s being established, there’s really not quite enough to really hold it there either.

Visually striking and overall entertaining, but there’s absolutely nothing surprising from the latest in a franchise built on surprises.

The Cloverfield Paradox
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating 4 Votes