It’s a bold move. It’s a very bold movie. It’s an exciting, terrific, and bold move.
For as you wake this sleepy Monday morning, you’ll wake to a brand new Cloverfield movie. That’s right: in a somewhat familiar move from the trilogy, they’ve completely dropped a whole goddamn film right onto the streaming site Netflix. No press advance, no actual trailer, no idea.
And, as of now, at 3.51am GMT, there’s not even an IMDB page. It’s an interesting step for Netflix and J.J. Abrams, series producer, and we’re all a little bit gobsmacked .
So, as film journalists and critics race against time to be the first to watch The Cloverfield Paradox, is the film worth a watch?
Yes, almost certainly.
Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, and John Ortiz, the film revolves around a space station floating above earth doing some kind of bizarre test following a serious incident on the planet. With engineers and scientists from all over, the objective of their mission is unclear. However, with tensions mounting, it is imperative that they keep their wits about them as horror lurks upon their space station.
I’ll keep the plot as that because I don’t want to spoil anything for you as you should go in as fresh as possible. In fact, go watch it and then come back to discuss.
Directed by Julius Onah, The Cloverfield Paradox is an amalgamation of a lot of space-station survival movies. Basic monster plots such as Alien and Life combine with mind-bending films such as Interstellar and, yes, even Doctor Who. These main allusions come from the ship’s production design and the panic-induced struggle to stay alive and figure out what’s going on. This isn’t a criticism because it’s hard to be truly original in space travel movies but it is one that marks against an otherwise brilliant film.
The mysterious toe-curling plot spins through elements as dazzling and as terrifying as space can be. This is a movie where you’ll constantly mutter under your breath “what the fuck?,” increasing the infliction and volume until you are wailing it at the screen. It’s not just a movie where confusing moments happen, spiralling out of control through space, it is one weighted by emotion and mystery that’ll bewilder yet brilliantly entertain. It helps that that is a subplot on Earth which reminds you on the movies centre.
Though there are similarity’s to other films, the performances are superb. The movie is a pretty progressive one in terms of cast with a whole array of characters on the ship including Zhang Ziyi’s Tam who speaks pure Mandarin for the entirety of the film, master actor David Oyelowo, and the elusive and beguiling Elzabeth Dibicki. Each performer has there own entity and part to play within the film, though most are outshone by the charismatic and hilarious Chris O’Dowd whose line delivery is simply brilliant.
That being said, Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ava Hamilton is spectacular. This is her film: A desperate mother looking for the answers in a world falling apart. She anchors the movie with humanity and grips you into the drama. Mbatha-Raw is an great lead who absorbs you into her plight, both on the space station and in her personal life. It’s an astonishing role, catapulting the actress further into the stratosphere of stardom.
Similarly to 10 Cloverfield Lane, there are only faint connections to the first and second film. However, the idea that this franchise could spiral off in many different directions, dipping into many different genres means that there are endless possibilities. Cloverfield doesn’t had to (and probably wont), end here.
For now, The Cloverfield Paradox is an entertaining adventure into J.J. Abrams world, led, once again, by phenomenal performances.
The Cloverfield Paradox is available on Netflix now.