The Cloverfield Paradox

Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) *A Paradoxical Slog*

Ziyi Zhang and Daniel Bruhl in The Cloverfield Paradox
In an era where movies are heralded and marketed years in advance, the Cloverfield franchise is an outlier as the films tend to drop fully formed out of the blue with little to no warning.  However, even for this franchise, it was a surprise during Superbowl LII to learn that the third film in the franchise was done, was being released on Netflix, and would be ready for streaming as soon as the game was complete.  10 Cloverfield Lane was one of the best surprises in recent years, so I was hoping that, despite Netflix’s touch with movies, the sci-fi anthology franchise would continue its hot streak.  That….is unfortunately not what happens in The Cloverfield Paradox.
David Oyelowo in The Cloverfield Paradox
In theory, The Cloverfield Paradox is the movie where we find out where the monsters came from.  In practice, aside from being located on Cloverfield Space Station, the film has very little to do for most of its running time with the other films until you get to the very end.  Screen Crush has a very thorough video below explaining the myriad of tiny connections and larger ties between the three Cloverfield films.  They do a MUCH better and INCREDIBLY more thorough job than I ever would, so let’s focus on the actual film….briefly, because it’s honestly not worth dwelling on for very long.

The Cloverfield Paradox
Cloverfield Space Station is rocking a giant particle collider that will (somehow) provide clean, free energy to the dying Earth below if they can get the stupid thing to work.  However, after firing it off, the station finds itself in a different dimension, and then all sorts of wonky things start to happen on the station.  Despite having strong actors like Daniel Bruhul, David Oyelowo, and Ziyi Zhang, the script is extremely weak, and pretty soon everything descends into “crazy people on a space station”, which if you’ve seen more than a handful of science fiction movies, you know exactly what you’re getting.  It’s not until the end of the film that you return to getting to the origins of the Cloverfield monsters, and when you do…it’s fairly confusing.  If you’re a fan of the series and feel the need to be a completionist, by all means slog through this, but you may just want to watch the video from Screen Crush and wait for the fourth entry, Overlord, which is coming to theaters this fall.


The Cloverfield Paradox Poster

11 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) *A Paradoxical Slog*”

  1. I watched this today and if you lower your expectations it’s ok as a sub-Star Trek / Doctor Who infused sci-fi story. Of course, similar to the recent monster-in-space film Life (2017), it wasted a great cast and failed, aside from one character, to establish empathy for the crew members. Not as bad as everyone says but clearly they’ve crow-barred the story into the Cloverfield franchise to the narrative’s detriment and genre expectations.

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  2. People like Abrams who have a spark have been trying to make the franchise model, the one that has overtaken Hollywood, work. But all the innovation and methods of stringing along the audience will only take you so far, because there are only so many ways to make a franchise not feel like a standard franchise. There is no way out of this, other than a return to originality.

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    1. That’s what really disappointed me about this is the Cloverfield anthology idea as a franchise inspired originality and different types of stories, and it’s not like its ruined, this was just a bad entry. I still think 10 Cloverfield Lane is brilliant and maybe Goodman’s best big screen work. The beauty of Cloverfield is that you could do original things in a very loosely connected universe. This doesn’t have to be a death knell; just an off-note.

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      1. Do you think this is a bad sign for SW? As a guiding force, Abrams does not have a huge body of work, but he dropped the ball with STID, derailing something truly promising, and a wiiiiiiide swath of the population thinks that he failed to land Lost. Like a Captain Sobel of cinema, he’s great at setting things up, but I think he needs to take a step back and let other people finish what he starts. Not Rian Johnson. Sane, sober people.

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      2. It met his approval, which means he was involved with an open heart. And it does reflect badly on him, fairly or not. The first Cloverfeild was largely sold by using his name, if I recall.

        He needs to watch it. If someone at his level makes a bad movie, it needs to be an atrocious miscalculation, not a film that inspires you to shrug your shoulders and say something vaugley and casually contemptuous. Then, dinner and move on with life.

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      3. Did it though? Spielberg is listed as a producer in about 15 films a year. Do you really think he watches them? At any rate, thought they used his name, this has been Reeves’ project more than Abrams’ and if it reflects badly on anyone it does on him. If Overlord is good this fall, this is just a bad episode in what should be the Twilight Zone of movie franchises.

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