The phrase “I’m shook” might have been first uttered for a completely different reason, but I believe it was brought into the lexicon for a moment, and a film, such as The Cloverfield Paradox. Formerly known as God Particle, the film stars a cavalcade of stars and is under the scifi banner of the Cloverfield name. Netflix in an unprecedented move announced that this film would be dropping during the Super Bowl and posted it on Netflix on the same day. Given that this movie has appeared on my list of anticipated movies for the past three years, I was thoroughly ready for this film. And color me ecstatic that my faith was rewarded by a thrilling movie that is like the love child of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the movies Interstellar and Prometheus wanted to be.
I will say that going into this movie, the Cloverfield aspect is very much used as a backburner or a wrapper, much like in 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a story of astronaughts played by the wonderufl ensemble (Daniel Brühl, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi). They are on a space station with a particle accelerator in a race against time to help solve the world’s energy crisis. A crisis which has gotten so bad that the world is about to be plunged into a World War. The feeling isn’t much better on the ship as they are at each other’s necks to get the accelerator to work. On their third to final try things seem to go well until a devastating accident throws them not just for a loop, but into another universe. From there things go sideways and the arrival of Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki), an astronaut from the current dimension’s space ship, presents even bigger challenges than they thought they could face. This about all of the plot I’m comfortable getting into because these Cloverfield films are best spent not knowing anything about them, though this movie hews a bit more standard than the other two options.
The brilliance of these Cloverfield films, other than their innovative marketing approach, is their ability to entertain using the tennants of their genres. This is a scifi and horror film and the movie leans into both with a tight script and wonderful direction from Julius Onah. Watching this film is a stressful exercise even when you know what coming, but the movie manages to base all of it’s decisions in solid world building and great acting. Gugu, just like Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 10 Cloverfield Lane, gives us an amazing protagonist that we can root for at every turn. Seeriously, put her in all the damn movie because she’s a star.
The only thing I was not a fan of with this film were the scenes of Hamilton’s husband on earth, which often take away from the blinding tension that is being created on that damn space station. The execution isn’t there for the majority of his moment, but his final scene is ACES.
I was pleased with how wonderful this film was and loved getting to just experience it with knowing nothing about it at all. Everyone should run to Netflix and watch it!