The Cloverfield Paradox: Standing On Its Own

Just like the original monster in Cloverfield, no one expected The Cloverfield Paradox, especially for it to be released on Netflix, immediately after Super Bowl LII. The movie’s trailer was shown during commercials, and it was the only marketing done for the film. There were no commercials, cast interviews, teasers, or even posters for the film before the Super Bowl.

Yet, it still managed to rampage through the Internet.

Directed by Julius Onah and produced by J. J. Abrams, The Cloverfield Paradox is a science fiction horror film and stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Aksel Hennie, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, and Zhang Ziyi. The premise of the film is set in a universe where Earth’s natural resources are almost depleted, constant blackouts occur, an oil crisis is happening, energy supplies are running out, people are starving, and nations prepare for war.

Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) joins an international crew of astronaut aboard the Cloverfield Space Station, on a mission that can unlock an endless supply of power that could save humanity.

Though it is not as easy as it seems, as, after 47 failed tests over the last two years, tension arises among the crew as problems increase on Earth. Humanity need to this project to succeed in order to survive, though some people like Mark Stambler, the author of the book coincidentally titled The Cloverfield Paradox, are worried that the test might do more harm than good, and could set our universe off balance and unleash chaos throughout space and time.

However, the experiment is a success and the crew no longer needs to worry about the Earth…because it is no longer there.

The Earth is gone, the space station is malfunctioning, a mysterious stranger randomly appears aboard the station and seems to know Hamilton, and it will get worse from here.

While the original Cloverfield was a found footage monster film and 10 Cloverfield Lane was a psychological thriller, The Cloverfield Paradox is futuristic Lovecraftian/cosmic horror film that was inspired by movies, such as, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, and even Solaris. Paradox takes advantage of its sci-fi setting, with its dark lighting, it the eldritch location of the space station, horrific body mutilation and overall the deceit of the mind, the film can make one feel the true horror of outer space.

The actors and actresses of the film each gave solid performances, especially Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who as Hamilton, goes through every emotion one would go through. The experiment that was programmed to save the world has gone horribly wrong and everything in the station, possibly even the station itself is trying to kill you, effects Mbatha-Raw the most. Though with she is determined to survive and get home, we consistently see and feel her struggle. In the end, it’s the bets part of the film..

One can think of Ava Hamilton as Ellen Ripley, a strong female in space laboratory struggle to survive against an unspeakable evil. A special mention should go to Chris O’Dowd, who plays the Irish astronaut Mundy, as the comic relief of the film, though sometimes the light comedy of his character can head to dark humor quickly.

If one were to forget the name of the movie, The Cloverfield Paradox would still be a good stand-alone film that is not part of a franchise and perhaps viewers should think of it like that. Overall, the Cloverfield franchise should be viewed as a connected anthology series, rather than an on-going trilogy. With its plot, character, setting, special effects, The Cloverfield Paradox is sure to give you a fright, but in a much different way than the other films in the series.

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Brian Moreno

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