cloverfield paradoxNetflix
2018
TV-MA

“What are you talking about, arm?”

For the past couple of years, we’ve been teased the third entry in the unorthodox yet rather interesting Cloverfield movie series. I’ve known that the movie was originally titled The God Particle, and was reworked by J. J. Abrams into an up-to-now unnamed Cloverfield sequel. I was rather excited for it. Also, we were supposed to get it last year in the theaters. But, due to continual tweaking, the movie’s release was delayed more than once, until finally word came that Paramount was going to drop this off with Netflix, to be released on the streaming site. Not that was a bad sign as to the quality of the movie was going to be; but the┬ádelays and then the studio not seeming to want anything to do with it…well, I was starting to have doubts that this was going to be worth my time.

Finally, the new Cloverfield movie was released. On Netflix, immediately after the Superb Owl*, now with an actual official title: The Cloverfield Paradox. Since I don’t have a Netflix subscription, it took me a few days longer to get to watch The Cloverfield Paradox, so I got to take in the waves of negative reviews that this movie got in the meantime. Lovely. So at this point, this was either the worst movie ever made, or perhaps we just live in a time where everyone wants to hate everything now. Fortunately, masses of negative reviews have never stopped me before (sometimes, they even enhance my desire to watch something), and I finally got a chance to take in the third entry in the Cloverfield series.

Here there be spoilers beyond, be ye warned. Yar.

So, what The Cloverfield Paradox is about, we’re given a glimpse of a future where our fossil fuels have all but dried up, and humanity is facing an energy crisis complete with massive gas shortages and regular blackouts to conserve what little energy we have left. In an effort to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy source for all, the world space agencies prepare the testing of what is known as the Shepherd, kind of a particle accelerator aboard the orbiting Cloverfield Station, that is supposed to do just that. Though, frankly, I don’t know exactly how that works, but what do I know of science, really? Anyway, after two years of attempts, they finally manage to get it to work…which results in a massive surge that, when the smoke clears, leaves the scientists on board to realize that, somehow, they’ve misplaced the Earth. That’s never good. Also, a critical component in making eveything work properly is also missing. And there’s a mysterious woman who appears in the wall of the station, that no one has seen before, but she insists on being a crew member. And it just gets weirder from their, folks, as crew members begin to go a bit on the insane side of things, objects that have gone missing begin to be found in the oddest of places, and it seems the ship may be trying to kill them. Or eat them, at least with one guy. Then they find the Earth on the other side of the Sun, and realize soon thereafter that they’re all in a parallel universe, where Germany is once again up to their old warmongering tricks, and that universe’s Cloverfield Station crashed into the ocean and killed everyone except that lady that appeared on what I’m going to call the Cloverfield Prime station for clarification purposes. Stupid string theory. Anyway, after some near misses with death, they manage to hatch a plan to get back to their Prime Universe, but then Alternate Universe lady sabotages things for her own plans, but then she’s thwarted, and Prime Cloverfield Station makes it back to their universe, where they fire up the Shepherd and the two surviving scientists hop a pod and head back to Earth…only things there haven’t really been the same since they first disappeared. The end.

As far as the movie goes, I enjoyed The Cloverfield Paradox. In this instance, I think Paramount was right in letting Netflix handle the distribution, as this doesn’t feel quite as fully baked as the first two movies were, and had I saw this in the theater, I would have probably been a bit more persnickity about it. As a movie itself, The Cloverfield Paradox goes down the same path as movies like Event Horizon, Life and Sunshine have done before, while you can tell the bits that tie things into the Cloverfield movie universe were kind of shoehorned in haphazardly. As it stands, The Cloverfield Paradox feels like a rather elaborate and high-budget pilot for a sci-fi anthology television show, rather than a fully formed Cloverfield movie. Which is to say, it isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not up to par with the other two. If you have Netflix, it’s very much worth the watch. If you don’t, The Cloverfield Paradox won’t be the movie that will convince you to sign up for Netflix. But, if you have a friend with Netflix, it’s worth checking out.

[*= basically, my way of avoiding lawsuits with the NFL for usage of a copyrighted phrase]