Netflix’s latest original release, “The Cloverfield Paradox,” is a continuation of the acclaimed “Cloverfield” series.
While 2008’s “Cloverfield” and 2016’s “10 Cloverfield Lane” were generally well-received by fans and critics alike, this installment is more of a mixed bag. Set in the all-too-familiar trope of a dystopian “near future,” the film follows Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the British representative aboard the Cloverfield space station.
As the earth is suffering a devastating energy crisis, space agencies from around the world have contributed a crew member for the station in an attempt to successfully test the Shepard particle accelerator. After two years of failed attempts to get the particle accelerator to work, the crew is becoming more stressed, predictably causing tension as leading powers back on Earth continue butting heads.
In particular, the first interaction we get between German officer Schmidt (Daniel Brühl) and Russian officer Volkov (Aksel Hennie) is a fistfight the others must break up. Later, the crew discover that the station’s radio and scanner devices have malfunctioned, and Earth seems to have disappeared from their radar, along with the navigation gyroscope.
With the Shepard the ironly means of getting home,the crew must find a way to repair the station and get the Shepard operational, all the while avoiding impossible death traps.Though some performances work for the
film — in particular Mbatha-Raw — the film overall suffers from poorly directed moments intended to be creepy, but only warrant laughs.
Mundy’s reaction to his arm being severed, expected to get some kind of scream or concern, is met with blank expressions and simple declarations of his arm being gone.The narrative becomes muddled due to it being unnecessarily shoved into the Cloverfield franchise, with the original script not even related to the previous films.
That is not to say it can’t work as a Cloverfield follow-up, as interdimensional travel and monsters from other worlds could have set the film up as a kind of prequel for the original film if it had been handled properly, which would transition into simultaneous events.
As a separate entity or franchise, the film could work better if more time could be given to the strange events that take place aboard the station. Turned into the third Cloverfield, however, too much has to be added to an already complex and interesting story to connect the films.
Scenes of chaos on Earth,while interesting enough to keep us up to speed with what the Shepard has caused, feel stitched with the sole purpose of connecting the films.“The Cloverfield Paradox” is certainly no masterpiece,but if not taken seriously, it’s entertaining in a way, as well as intriguing in even the odd sci-fi it fails to explain.
“The Cloverfield Paradox”is rated TV-MA and is available now on Netflix.
Photo from vox.com.