The Cloverfield Paradox: Proof that even a shiny, new cast can’t save a bad plot

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Ashley Smith, Contributing Writer

Anyone with the faintest amount of sci-fi movie experience would be able to attest to the fact that The Cloverfield Paradox is pretty much a waste of 1 hour and 42 minutes. The stage was set for a gripping and suspenseful film, but the plot fizzles out until viewers are left wondering what they watched.

In 2018, during a Super Bowl advertisement, Netflix announced that they were releasing The Cloverfield Paradox, the third film in the Cloverfield series, and it would be available after the game. The streaming service apparently bought this film for upwards of 50 million dollars, and critics speculated that it was a part of their ongoing movement to contemporize their titles, and maybe win over the hands of younger, more current viewers. 

Written by Oren Uziel / Doug Jung, and directed by Julius Onah the film is set during a major energy crisis on Earth. Space agencies around the world prepare to test out the Shepherd particle accelerator, which will supposedly solve the crisis and provide Earth with an infinite amount of energy. They send a crew of engineers into space on the Cloverfield Station to run the accelerator. Among them is Ava Hamilton, the main character, who left her husband back on Earth.  After nearly 2 years of particle accelerator trials, the crew finally appears to have a lead, but just when it seems it will work, the accelerator overloads and sends them to another paradox, where they face a harrowing struggle to stay alive and find their way back to Earth. Strange events start occurring after the accelerator fails, and the crew finds Mina Jensen, a woman claiming she’s from a different paradox, where she worked aboard the ship. Ava figures out that in Mina’s world, her children never died in a fire, and she grapples with a moral struggle of which paradox she wants to be in. The film revolves around the crew’s fight to return to Earth and Ava’s inner conflict between two realities. 

It’s no shock that the plotline gets lost somewhere along the way. I think it may have been around the time when Mina talks about the opposing realities they shifted between when I got completely lost. The two paradoxes are acutely similar, except for a few minuscule differences. Not to mention, there is an entirely separate narrative, which revolves around Michael, Ava’s husband, and his experience on Earth throughout all of this. 

I have to say, I was genuinely impressed by the level of sophistication that the graphics reach (although I would not consider myself to be very hard to please). The acting was also really good but neither was successful in distracting me from the obvious gaping plot holes and overall terrible storyline.

As the remaining time stamp in the corner of my screen got smaller and smaller, I can say with all honesty that I grew less concerned with the characters, and more concerned with how exactly the movie would even end. All of my questions were answered however when the producers did exactly that; just ending the movie. Right in the middle of what seemed to be the plot wrapping up, the credits were rolled and I was left wanting to get back the hour and 42 minutes I spent watching it. 

I wouldn’t really call what happened a cliffhanger because I simply don’t think that anyone was invested in the movie enough to actually care about what’s going to happen next. I highly doubt that anybody is going to be rushing to the theatres to see the next film, which is currently in the works. 

The verdict stands; there are so many better sci-fi movies out there, and I would only hope you take my advice and steer clear of this film, otherwise, you’ll probably have just spent the better part of your night watching something you won’t remember in a week.