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Watch The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

Sep 5, 2022
Watch The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

Watch The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

The Cloverfield Paradox is a 2018 American science fiction horror film directed by Julius Onah and written by Oren Uziel, from a story by Uziel and Doug Jung, and produced by J. J. Abramss Bad Robot Productions. It is the third film in the Cloverfield franchise, following Cloverfield (2008) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

The film stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi, and follows an international group of astronauts aboard a space station who, after using a particle accelerator to try to solve Earth’s energy crisis, must find a way home when the planet seemingly vanishes.

The film was based on God Particle, a spec script from Oren Uziel, which had the main plot of the space-station crew but was unconnected to Cloverfield. The script was acquired by Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot in 2012. It had been initially planned as part of Paramount’s low-budget InSurge distribution label but, following the folding of that label, its production was expanded as a Paramount-distributed film.

Only during production did Abrams decide to link the film to Cloverfield, adapting Uziel’s screenplay and adding scenes to establish the connection, after the same approach was used to alter 10 Cloverfield Lane from its original script, The Cellar. Abrams saw the particle accelerator accident as a cinematic means for future events to cause changes in the past, narratively linking the Cloverfield franchise together.

Once announced as a yet-to-be-named Cloverfield film in late 2016, the film’s release was delayed several times. A surprise trailer aired during Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018, advertising the film’s final title and its release on Netflix, which had purchased rights for the film from Paramount. The release occurred immediately after the game.[2] While the unique marketing tactics were praised, the film itself received generally negative reviews from critics, with many considering it the weakest of the Cloverfield films.

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Trailer

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Reviews

Let’s go out on a limb and predict that February 4, 2018 will be seen as a watershed moment in the history of moving pictures. That was the Super Bowl Sunday when Netflix released the third entry in the popular “Cloverfield” series of science-fiction thrillers—not to theaters, or even with a traditional long-lead buildup to online release, but simply by announcing that it was available that night, by way of an ad that ran during the game itself.

Then the service sat back and watched social media light up with near-live reviews by people who were more interested in a new sci-fi film than in the game. By the following morning, reviews like this one started to appear, asking what it all meant—not the movie, mind you, but the implications of releasing it this way.

Turns out there were two masterstrokes here, and they were both about advertising. One was announcing what was, in essence, little more than a new Netflix menu selection during the telecast of North America’s most-watched sporting event, guaranteeing that tens of millions of viewers would at least consider checking it out that night.

The other masterstroke was figuring out how to generate excitement for a movie that might’ve barely made an impression had it been released in a more typical manner. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is a bit of a scam job, promising to reconcile entries in a series that have little in common save for a shared genre. It fizzles so badly at the end that you might legitimately wonder if it ever had anything to do with the other two films in the first place, or if it was produced independently of the series and retroactively added.

Directed by Julius Onah and written by Oren Uziel, the film is set during a horrendous dystopian future in which the power grid keeps failing and the Russians are pondering a land invasion of the United Kingdom. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Hamilton, a scientist who leaves her doctor husband Michael (Roger Davies) on Earth to join the multinational, multi-ethnic crew of an orbital collider that’s supposed to fire up and solve the world’s energy problems.

Complications ensue, obviously: they’re up there for quite a long time, and their actions somehow remove them from existence in their original reality and deposit them somewhere else, maybe on an alternate timeline. The relationships between people are subtly different, as are their own personal histories.

People who should know each other don’t, etc. Meanwhile, back on the original Earth, Michael wonders what happened to his wife and the space station where she once worked, and gets embroiled in a parallel adventure protecting a young girl from various threats, one of which might be making a cameo from another “Cloverfield” film.

Hamilton’s colleagues in orbit include such ace character actors as Daniel Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Bruhl, Aksel Hennie and Zhang Ziyi (speaking entirely in Chinese with subtitles, a nice touch).

Frustratingly generic character writing ensures that none of them makes a strong impression, although the movie does use Hennie’s chararacter, a paranoid Russian, as a human hand grenade, rather like the Michael Biehn character in “The Abyss,” and wisely gives O’Dowd most of the comic relief lines, which he sells but never oversells (his reaction to a moment of stomach-churning body horror is Bill Paxton-worthy).

Onah is a nimble and confident director, jumping right into the middle of action, giving the sci-fi vistas (in particular the orbital platform, which spins like a multilayered gyroscope) appropriately grandiose introductions, lingering on beautiful people and objects just because they’re beautiful, and observing intriguing little details of production design (such as a faux-bagel that assembles itself in a kitchen contraption, and a tube of liquid metal sealant that works like a caulk gun).

It’s an offhand style that’s characteristic of post-“Alien” science fiction, where we’re more awestruck by the world onscreen than any of the characters are. There are other compensatory pleasures, including the refreshingly straightforward and comprehensible photography by Dan Mindel (who shot the first two J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” movies, far more flashily) and Bear McCreary’s music, which is reminiscent of Elliot Goldenthal’s majestically bummed out score for “Alien 3” and adds about $10 million to the film’s budget by daring to sound big.

But for the most part, this is a bust of a movie, the kind that would probably have otherwise gotten dumped to theaters in January by a studio looking to cut its losses.

And it makes the series feel not like an anthology but a brand name guaranteeing medium-budget genre action with a bit more intelligence than was probably necessary but nowhere near the aesthetic ambition required to really stand out. The second “Cloverfield” entry, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” was a medium-budget art-house sci-fi film, the kind that might’ve shocked everyone in the ’80s by making a fortune at drive-ins and strip malls;

it became a hit on the basis of its ensemble acting and its unnerving intimacy—never mind that ending, which confirmed that it was taking place in a different universe from the first “Cloverfield,” a homegrown American answer to a “Godzilla” movie.

This one cobbles together scraps from the “Alien” series, “Event Horizon,” “Final Destination, “Solaris” and about a dozen other films, doing a creditable job of seeming as if it has a lot on its mind until the moment arrives (soon into the film, alas) when you realize it doesn’t.

J.J. Abrams, whose name is on the film as a producer, perfected the so-called “mystery box” method of storytelling that promises profound and shattering revelations only to pivot to bromides like, “We should all be nicer to each other” or “Let’s learn to forgive ourselves.” The script to this one falls well within that wheelhouse. I’d like to visit the alternate universe where “The Cloverfield Paradox” is worthy of the stroke of PR genius that launched it.

  • Matt Zoller Seitz  – Roger Ebert
  • Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com, TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Credits

The Cloverfield Paradox movie poster

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Rated NR

102 minutes

Cast

Daniel Brühl as Schmidt

Elizabeth Debicki as Mina Jensen

Aksel Hennie as Volkov

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton

Chris O’Dowd as Mundy

John Ortiz as Monk

David Oyelowo as Kiel

Zhang Ziyi as Tam

Roger Davies as Michael

Clover Nee as Molly

Donal Logue as Mark Stambler

Simon Pegg as Radio Voice

Greg Grunberg as Joe (voice)

Director

  • Julius Onah

Producer

  • J.J. Abrams

Screenplay

  • Oren Uziel
  • Doug Jung

Cinematography

  • Daniel Mindel

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Plot

In 2028, Earth is suffering from a global energy crisis. The space agencies of the world prepare to test the Shepard particle accelerator aboard the orbiting Cloverfield Station, which would provide Earth with infinite energy, while conspiracy theorists fear it will create the “Cloverfield Paradox”, opening portals to parallel universes allowing their horrors to threaten Earth.

Among the crew is Ava Hamilton, a British engineer who frets about leaving her husband Michael potentially for years, as their relationship struggles since the loss of their children to a house fire. The crew is rounded out by American commander Kiel, German physicist Ernst Schmidt, Brazilian medical doctor Monk Acosta, Irish engineer Mundy, Russian engineer Volkov, and Chinese engineer Tam.

After about two years of unsuccessful attempts to activate the Shepard, the crew achieves a seemingly stable beam, but it overloads and creates a power surge on the station. After restoring basic power, they find that Earth has vanished from view, and the gyroscope that aids in the station’s navigation is missing. As the crew works on repairs, strange events begin to occur, including the discovery (and subsequent rescue) of an unfamiliar woman called Mina Jensen fused with wires inside a wall.

Volkov’s eyeballs begin moving of their own accord; he begins conversing with his own reflection in a mirror and is compelled to craft a gun using an on-board 3D printer. He uses the gun to threaten the crew, but as he does so he convulses and dies, and the station’s worm colony bursts out of him. Jensen tells Hamilton not to trust Schmidt, who Jensen claims to be a spy sent by the German government to keep the Shepard shut down. Mundy’s arm gets pulled into a solid wall and is severed clean off, without bleeding or pain.

They find the arm roaming of its own volition. When they recognize it is trying to write something, it instructs them to “cut Volkov open”. Once they do, they find the missing gyroscope. They finally locate Earth and begin restoring their communications, but transmissions state the station was destroyed and fell to Earth two days prior.

The crew determine the particle beam overload has activated the Cloverfield Paradox, which is the cause of the strange events, and also moved the station to a parallel universe in which Jensen replaced Tam as the station’s engineer, Schmidt is a spy, and Hamilton, (though still working on the mission), has remained on Earth, where her children are still alive. Believing the Paradox can be reversed and they can return to their own universe if they reactivate the Shepard, the crew starts making repairs.

Tam is trapped in a chamber that floods with water, and then explodes, freezing the water and Tam. Meanwhile, Hamilton decides to return to parallel Earth with Jensen in order to prevent the fire that killed her children. As they prepare, Mundy is killed in an explosion caused by a strange magnetic field, destabilizing part of the Shepard and threatening to tear the whole station apart. Kiel sacrifices himself to save the station, leaving Hamilton in charge.

On Earth, Michael has woken up to discover a wave of destruction ravaging the planet, witnessing the silhouette of a giant monster in the distance. On his way to offer assistance at the local hospital, he stops to help a young girl named Molly at a dockyard. After finding the hospital was destroyed, he takes her to the underground shelter of a friend and tends to her wounds.

With the Shepard ready to activate again, Hamilton prepares to leave with Jensen, but Jensen suddenly knocks her out. Jensen kills Monk with Volkov’s gun, wounds Schmidt, and insists the station must stay in her universe to keep the Shepard there.

Regaining consciousness, Hamilton uses the gun to shoot out a window, ejecting Jensen into space. Hamilton decides to return to their universe with Schmidt and makes a recording she sends to her alternate universe self, with the plans for the Shepard and in which she stresses of the importance of her family. Hamilton and Schmidt reverse the universe shift and use Tam’s modifications to finally make the Shepard work. After reporting in, the two eject themselves in an evacuation capsule towards Earth.

Michael learns from mission control of the station’s reappearance and his wife’s return to Earth, but he lambasts them for returning to Earth in light of the ongoing situation. As the capsule re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, a giant monster bursts through the top of a cloud layer, letting out a roar as the screen cuts to black.

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Box office

 

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Critical Response

According to review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a score of 21% from 154 critics, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site’s critical consensus states: “Brilliant casting is overshadowed by a muddled mix of genres and storylines that scratch more heads than sci-fi itches in The Cloverfield Paradox.” Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on reviews from 27 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews.”

John DeFire of The Hollywood Reporter called the film a “trainwreck of a sci-fi flick bent on extending a franchise that should have died a peaceful death almost exactly one decade ago.” Writing for Deadline Hollywood Dino-Ray Ramos said, “The Super Bowl trailer for Paradox gave the impression the movie would reveal the origin of the monster that appeared in the 2008 movie and was later on hinted at in the critically acclaimed 2016 follow-up — but it barely did that. Instead, it stalls the franchise as a pastiche of sci-fi cinema veiled in clever marketing.”

Cinemablend gave it a positive review, granting it 4 of 5 stars; the review noted that the ensemble cast “helps keep the wheels in motion, with a perpetual motion that never lets up”, and that Ava’s storyline provides a “human anchor” for the film’s narrative.

While the film received negative reviews, the marketing approach of announcing the film during the Super Bowl and premiering it hours later was seen as a novel move by Netflix. IGN noted that this strategy could only work for a film in an established franchise, whereas most new films would need a significant marketing period to draw in viewers. Even knowing that the film might be a critical flop, Netflix would have been able to grab attention due to hype from the Super Bowl, and attention that the Cloverfield series had already had.

According to Nielsen ratings based on subscription video on demand, nearly 785,000 viewers watched The Cloverfield Paradox on the night of Super Bowl LII; by three days, over 2.8 million had watched it, and 5 million after a week. These ratings were not as strong as Netflix’s Bright, released 6 weeks earlier, which had 11 million viewers within 3 days.[43] The film did not significantly draw viewers from the episode of This is Us on NBC after the Super Bowl game, which had been extensively marketed ahead of the night, and which drew 27 million that evening.

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Accolades

 

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Movie Info

A crew aboard a space station finds itself alone after a scientific experiment causes the Earth to disappear. When a space shuttle appears, the space station’s crew must determine if it is carrying friends or foes.

 

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