Review: “The Cloverfield Paradox” Keeps the Franchise Alive
“Cloverfield” started it all. “10 Cloverfield Lane” showed audiences a different side of the franchise. “The Cloverfield Paradox” takes us back to the beginning.
It’s a Sci-Fi thriller set on a space station, where its crew must discover an unlimited energy source. This energy source will unite a war-bound Earth, saving the planet from war and desolation. However, through speculation, many believe the actions of the crew’s experiments could have detrimental consequences.
They are just speculations, at first. But then their experiments spark the start of a roller coaster ride around our solar system… and another dimension. And like “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “Paradox” doesn’t concentrate on having a connection with the franchise. Instead, it relies on being a stand-alone film occurring in the same “Cloverfield” universe. It’s a creative choice used to perfection in the franchise’s second installment. And while the creativity doesn’t shine as bright, the third installment still excels at keeping the franchise alive.
CINEMATICS (CINEMATOGRAPHY, ACTING, PLOT, ETC.) – 4
Space thrillers have always shined by creating a claustrophobic experience within the vast reaches of space. “Alien,” “Apollo 13,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Moon” are prime examples of the genre. “Paradox” comes in hot by establishing a clear goal for the entire crew of the “Cloverfield” space station. With a cast of characters from each of the most powerful countries on Earth, they must put aside their feuding countries differences in order to achieve their goal. It’s a dynamic that’s exciting to watch, especially since it resonates with the tensions in today’s world.
Each character is very well written, and the actors portraying them are perfect. In short, the film’s casting is the shining star — demonstrating choosing talent over star-power is almost always the best choice. And as the talents of the actors guide the audience through the polished plot, there are fresh takes on genre troupes that’ll keep the audience guessing, despite the troupes being recognizable.
It’s wonderful to see a well-made film take place, mostly, in one location: the space station. There are a few cutaway scenes showing the catastrophic effects the crew’s decisions brought to Earth, but most of the story remains with the crew’s journey to save Earth… across two dimensions. It wouldn’t be a Sci-Fi thriller without some kind of crazy, twisted cosmic disaster that bends the astronomical theory of the multiverse. And “Paradox” has got it!
Despite a few character decisions that felt forced in order to give the protagonist some depth, the film knocked it out of the park in cinematics, including special effects.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE – 4
It’s fresh, fun and shocking. However, what holds the film back, from an entertainment point-of-view, is the fact that it’s a part of the “Cloverfield” franchise. Here’s what I mean.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” was very different. It made audiences question whether or not it had any connection to the first film. The film’s ending answers the question when the main character encounters an alien creature after escaping the clutches of her kidnapper. It was brilliant and still makes that movie worthwhile.
“Paradox” follows the same footsteps as “10 Cloverfield Lane” and ends on a “shocking” note, but the ending doesn’t hit as hard. The reason: it’s anticipated, more than anything else. If this were the first installment of the franchise, of course, my reaction would be different. It’s not, and the film suffers because of its predecessors. The movie does stand on its own as a great story with compelling characters and themes, but the lingering predictability made the ending casual, not special.
Regardless, “Paradox is a great prequel, and it’s interesting to see how the aliens came to Earth. Maybe, at some point, the franchise will have a final film that brings all of these stand-alone storylines together. But until then, this is still one of the most exciting franchises in the industry, and “Paradox” will hold onto the torch until the next installment.
REWATCHABILITY – 3
It’s a bright star in a genre plagued by trash in recent years. That’s why I’ll be re-watching it. It might not be a character development powerhouse like “Moon” or a horrifying experience like “Alien,” but it’s the embodiment of Sci-Fi entertainment.
- Entertainment Value
With a wonderful cast of characters portrayed by excellent actors, it's quite hard not to be entertained during this polished and compelling story. The shock value of the ending doesn't hit as hard as its predecessors, but crazy special effects and perfect setting nearly erase that disappointment. Space thrillers have always shined by creating a claustrophobic experience within the vast reaches of space, and "Paradox" does it right. The film will hold onto the franchise's torch until the next installment.