Check out the trailer and my review for American scifi horror film The Cloverfield Paradox. The story follows a group of astronauts who try to solve the global energy crisis, but accidentally open portals to parallel universes which unleash all kind of weird stuff in their space station and bring doom to earth.
In true Netflix fashion, the movie is available on the online streaming service soon after they released the trailer last week. Directed by Julius Onah, and stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo and Zhang Ziyi.
Like its previous instalment – the 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016 – the Paradox is just a loose addition to the Cloverfield franchise. The story doesn’t focus on the main event from 2008 but connects in some ways. This new movie (the third instalment) is a bit more relevant than the second though.
The release came as a surprise regardless. Paramount was expected to release this in cinemas like the two previous Cloverfield films, but seems like they think that it would be more profitable to sell the rights to Netflix instead. And they probably made the right choice considering the bad reviews.
What’s wrong with Cloverfield Paradox
It’s a confusing movie if people try to understand the logic. Humans don’t have actual knowledge about parallel universe, we are not even sure if it actually exists. Science fiction films can do whatever they want in that setting because there’s no right or wrong with something we don’t know.
There are other shortcomings in the movie though. To begin with, it’s practical and easier to build wind turbines, solar panels and stuff – or spam nuclear plants if we are desperate – to solve energy problems instead of trying to harness “limitless” power like what they are doing.
There are also some technical errors but most people won’t notice that. The bigger problem is the lack of continuity in the plot instead. They simply put in all the weird events without connecting the dots. It’s not scientifically wrong but it’s a poor way to make a movie. It’s like a child’s doodle.
Another issue is the unnecessary use of Chinese language. I like Zhang Ziyi and I’m always happy to see an Asian face in a Hollywood production. But I find it stupid to have those characters speaking Chinese in an English language film simply for the sake of pleasing a certain market…
It’s especially ridiculous in Paradox because everyone else speaks English in the space station. To make it funnier the whole crew seems to understand Chinese perfectly. I can offer explanation for that e.g. an auto translator (it’s the future after all), but it’s just marketing gimmick to be frank.
It’s not all bad though
Despite the flaws, I still think it’s an average film. The cast is fine, visual effects are decent, and there are entertaining moments too. Can’t say it’s good overall but it’s not terrible. I think many of the reviews and ratings are harsh, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Regardless, the fact that Paramount dumped this probably means we won’t be seeing another Cloverfield film soon. Unless Netflix or others decide to pick up the franchise instead, which is doubtful because of the Paradox flop. It’s difficult to quantify but Netflix must have lost millions of dollars on this.
Update June 2018 – Didn’t see this coming. Producer JJ Abrams confirmed that there will be a fourth movie. And this time it will be a real sequel for the original 2008 film. No further details though.