The Decaturian

Netflix Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

Rebekah Icenesse

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The long awaited sequel, or prequel, to the Cloverfield franchise has officially been released to the world, and now we can get the answers we’ve been desperately wanting since the first “Cloverfield” movie, or at least that’s what I thought before I watched it.

Directed by Nigerian short film director, Julius Onah, “Cloverfield Paradox” was released to Netflix on Feb. 4th. I can see why it was released by Netflix and not by Paramount, who was the original studio that was going to make it a theatrical release.

To put it in a nutshell, the plot follows a team of astronauts at a space station set in the future. They are trying to test a device that would be a solution to the energy crisis on Earth creating tensions among countries. When things start to go wrong, the group discovers that everything is not what it seems to be, and they must fight for survival against a grim alternate reality.

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as the main character, Hamilton. David Oyelowo plays Kiel, Elizabeth Debicki plays Jensen, Daniel Bruhl plays Schmidt, John Ortiz plays Monk, Chris O’Dowd plays Mundy, Ziyi Zhang plays Tam, and Aksel Hennie plays Volkove. Notice how all of the characters only have a first name and no other title, so we already do not have a lot of character development to make us care enough about what happens to the characters.

Don’t get me wrong, the acting, set design, and special effects are all pretty good, but the overall plot and lack of character development is what makes this film a disappointment to the franchise. It is a film that I would probably not watch again.

The only character that is developed is the main character Hamilton, and there’s not even a lot of stuff about her either. They try to make the audience care for her by revealing how her children died after she tried to install a power core in their home. The house burned down after it failed, but I still did not feel like I cared about what would happen to her. I honestly did not care to see all of the other characters live or die.

Another strange thing is that one of the characters, Tam, is Chinese. She speaks in her native tongue to the other crew members, but the only one who ever speaks back in Chinese is Hamilton. So are all of the other characters able to speak it too? Because I don’t know why when Tam speaks in Chinese, all of the crew members can understand what she’s saying when it’s not said if everyone knows Chinese or not.

The plot itself is very anti-climatic and a little confusing. I’m no scientist, but some of the things that happen in this movie seem so far-fetched and not scientifically or logically possible. The plot of being transported into another dimension and trying to find their way back has been seen before multiple times.

I guess the thing that gets me the most is that this did not feel like a prequel to “Cloverfield.” *Spoiler Alert* The only indication that this is a “prequel” is at the very end when the monster from the first movie is shown for less than ten seconds. There is still no real origin to this monster except that it might have came from the other dimension that the crew opened. Everything else in the film does not scream “prequel,” and if you took the monster at the end out, this would just be another movie about being trapped in space.

Overall, I think the reason I’m disappointed is because I was expecting more from this movie. The movie had a lot of potential, but it was just poorly executed. I got my hopes up in the first half hour of watching it. I have to give “The Cloverfield Paradox” a weak 5/10. It’s not the worst movie that I have ever seen, but it is also not the best that it could’ve been.

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