Netflix shocked us all last night when it announced that the third Cloverfield movie was A) already finished and B) premiering on the streaming site right after the Super Bowl. I immediately dove into the movie as soon as I could and found five ways The Cloverfield Paradox delivered the goods.
Spoiler warning: If you haven’t logged onto your Netflix account (or your loved one’s Netflix account) yet to watch this film, then be warned. Without any spoilers, it’s a fun, tense time with an amazing cast, great pacing, and stellar visuals.
Stellar acting from a diverse cast
The main cast in this film consists of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Roger Davies, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Zhang Ziyi, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, and David Oyelowo. And boy, do they sell the hell out of some absolutely outlandish circumstances. Even when the characters themselves don’t entirely understand just what is happening, they’re all smart and tackle on each problem head-on, and respond to situations with very realistic reactions; there’s not really a running-up-into-the-attic-from-the-serial-killer moment in The Cloverfield Paradox, and THANK GOD! The scientists work together (for the most part), and the actors are convincing in their performances of them.
I also wanted to point out I could not applaud the staff behind this film enough with the amount of representation and genuine celebration of diversity. I, myself, really appreciated that multiple characters spoke Mandarin! Just to clue you in on just how diverse this cast is, here’s filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) tweet, which I think puts it quite perfectly: “Woman of color-led, sci-fi thriller released worldwide day and date with big Netflix muscle for black director, his super producer, and POC cast. No advance press, ads, trailer. Straight to the people. Game-changer. Congrats to helmer Julius Onah and my dears JJ, Gugu, David.”
All the suspense of a space thriller with room to breathe
I don’t know about you, but usually, watching space thriller films is like one long anxiety attack for me. Sure, it’s also an adrenaline rush and it’s also a “curiosity killed the cat” situation on my end, but I’m just incredibly thankful and find it refreshing that this film gives you dark comedic timing that’s fairly believable, especially from Chris O’Dowd’s character, Mundy. It’s got the signature tense thriller concept with just enough comedy sprinkled in, and I’d take that over Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity any day. No constant, torturous, Walking Dead sadomasochism for me, thanks! Although, I will note that in itself is a bit of a paradox… a Cloverfield Paradox. 😉
It has amazing visuals
My goodness, we have come so far since the first Cloverfield film in 2008. The graphics in The Cloverfield Paradox are absolutely amazing. The lighting, general look, and special effects are fantastic, so bravo to set director Amanda Ross Serino, Michael R. Kay, and the rest of the SFX team.
It’s ridiculous in the best way possible
I mean, come on, Mundy’s arm that crawls and somehow writes on its own? Finding solutions and answers from a man’s stomach in a fashion that echoes Alien’s iconic chestburster scene? Using a spaceship that is so powerful, it triggers demons to come to a dimension and jumps other dimensions? It’s all ridiculous and incredibly Black-Mirror-y, but it’s fantastically written and isn’t afraid to push the envelope. I absolutely loved every minute of it because it provided another added on science fiction obstacle for our dimension jumping scientists to deal with.
At the end of the day, it’s strangely human
Even with all the bizarre solo arm-crawling and the whole “finding a woman in the wall” scene, The Cloverfield Paradox has very human moments that make you want to cheer for the characters — even if you weren’t already rooting for humans to actually survive space. (And if you weren’t, uh… why not?) From Tam and Schmidt’s quick “check-your-tone” spat to Hamilton’s desire to see her children, the film has very realistic human quirks, adding to the believability of it all: You believe that these are real people living in their really strange universe.
So, what’s the verdict? Did I enjoy this film? Obviously, I did! Is it even watching multiple-times worthy? I’d like to think so. The Cloverfield Paradox takes so many dimension-jumping tropes and situations and puts them in a very entertaining storyline, filled with characters you’re rooting for from beginning to end. It’s a survival story that takes twists and turns that you accept because well, it’s a Cloverfield film. In all, the movie got a lot of things right.