[This review contains NO spoilers. You’re safe here!!]
Netflix ingeniously made The Cloverfield Paradox avaliable after the super bowl with virtually no marketing. This turned a lot of heads, and made many sci-fi fans excited. It is such an amazing marketing idea, and it may usher in a new era of movie streaming, but I think I may know why the film ended up being released on Netflix instead of in theaters…
I am a huge sucker for sci-fi and horror movies set in space. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to watch this movie despite never having seen previous installments in the Cloverfield franchise. Unfortunately, this movie just does not deliver in any area and is fairly unremarkable.
The Cloverfield Paradox is about a group of astronauts on a spaceship that is attempting to restore energy to Earth, which is in a serious energy crisis. When it fires up its machinery, tragedy and panic ensues when odd occurences begin affecting the characters onboard.
One of the biggest problems I have with The Cloverfield Paradox is the first 20-25 minutes of the movie. Instead of properly introducing us to the world in which the film takes place, it zooms by in a very disjointed fashion. As a result, I was confused throughout this entire movie. The film also gives little explaination as to what is going on. The prime example of this is the movie’s constant references to a “war” that is currently taking place on Earth. It is somewhat tied into the plot and is seemingly very important, but it is never fully explained. The odd anamolies that occur on the spaceship throughout the film also receive little to no explanation, which was frustrating.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays the main character, Ava, and she gives a great performance. In fact, pretty much every performance in this movie is solid. Ava is definitely the most interesting character, and once the film dives into her past demons and into the tragedy that haunts her, it becomes much more engaging. I found myself really caring about her, and I wish the film devoted even more focus to her development. However, none of the other characters really drew my interest. Most of them had absolutely no personality, and the side character that did, played by Chris O’Dowd, was painfully annoying and delivered horribly misplaced comedic lines. In general, I didn’t care about any of the characters in the movie, and I was far less invested as a result.
All in all, I didn’t really enjoy The Cloverfield Paradox and, unless you’re a huge fan of the franchise thus far, I don’t recommend that you watch it. It’s entirely unremarkable and bland. If you’re in the mood for a truly great sci-fi movie that takes place in space, check out Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, which is also on Netflix.