Cloverfield Paradox: A Spoiler-Free Review
So I just finished watching the Netflix exclusive film “Cloverfield Paradox” and I have to say that I was very impressed. This is a film which I had been anticipating for quite some time. I am a big fan of this franchise, and while the last two installments seemed to be connected in name only, this film made it clear where it stands within the series, but not until the very last moments of the film.
The film takes place mostly on a space station with a crew of various scientists representing Germany, China, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, and Russia. There is a global energy crisis and the crew is there to solve that issue permanently. If their experiments work, the entire planet will have unlimited renewable energy. There is growing conflict amongst the powerful countries who have the greatest resources to initiate an attack on other countries in order to obtain the resources to keep their own population afloat. There were rumors of Russia invading Alaska for the oil reserves, and there is mounting tension between the astronauts as well.
There are reports from Earth from people who are incredibly skeptical about the Cloverfield Space Station and the Shepherd Particle Accelerator. One specific person wrote a book entitled “The Cloverfield Paradox” in which he outlined his fears that the particle accelerator would tear a hole in space-time releasing monsters or demons. He was roundly mocked by the interviewer.
Once the accelerator is powered up, something strange happens. What that thing is, I cannot quite explain, because I would need an advanced degree with a specialization in quantum entanglement. There is a lot of quality science, as well as the filmmakers’ take on the theoretical aspect of a lot of physics and such. It’s great if that’s what you’re into, and I am, so I enjoyed it a lot.
There are some incredibly tense scenes, especially because of the space station setting. It provides a claustrophobic atmosphere where you can imagine yourself in the place of the characters trapped on the space station where the situation is rapidly devolving further as more and more goes wrong.
As is the case with the previous two films, this film raises more questions than it answers. This is, of course, a hallmark of anything J.J. Abrams either produces or directs. There are certainly some parallels to past Abrams projects, as well as some classic science fiction horror films. There is definitely a “Lost” vibe (where Abrams was a prominent figure in the creation and direction of the show) as well as homages to “Alien” and “The Thing”.
The cast was also a major reason for my enjoyment of this film. It featured Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and the Beast, Black Mirror), Daniel Bruhl (Mr. Nobody, Inglorious Bastards), Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha), David Oyelowo (Selma, Lincoln), John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, American Gangster), Aksel Hennie (The Martian, Hercules) as well as Roger Davies who has appeared in several shorts and television series. They did an amazing job of creating tension and conflict and doing their best to resolve those issues. They have a great rapport on-screen and their chemistry is excellent.
All in all, I would highly recommend this film, especially if you enjoy the franchise. If you’re interested in getting into the series, I recommend watching the films in the order of their release dates, otherwise, you’ll be spoiling things for this film.