In Defense of Cloverfield Paradox – The Disconnect Between the Moviegoer and the Critic

Last night, immediately after the end of the amazing Philadelphia Eagles win over the New England Patriots, Netflix dropped Cloverfield Paradox.

In the movie, we follow a team of astronauts that are orbiting Earth during a time where oil reserves are being depleted and the planet is on the brink of war. These scientists are trying to solve the energy crisis, but when they fire the CERN-like particle accelerator in space they cause the rift that allows the monsters to  terrorize Earth AND it also propels this team of astronauts to somewhere they do not recognize.

That’s when the scary factor starts. These astronauts can’t find their Earth. Did they destroy it when the accelerator fired?

By piecing together clues, it clicks, they realize this is not their universe.

Getting home to their universe is priority #1.

Adding this stressor to people who are already at their wit’s end, due to being away from all that they know and love for such a prolonged amount of time….results in tensions being amped up to the nth level.

There is also the issue of the paradox. Schmidt explains to his team and us, that we are dealing with a quantum paradox on the ship called Cloverfield. Because our team is in this new universe…the other team was negated. While the physics of this universe tries to make sense of Cloverfield being in it, things go awry. Weird things happen. Things that do not make sense at all. That is when the freaky oh-my-wtf feeling starts for us, the viewer. Are eyes supposed to do that? Want to know how many ways you can die on a space station, this is the movie for you. All of it cringe-worthy and painful to watch.

While this is happening. the emotional core of the movie is anchored by Ava. She is someone who we empathize with…because the reason she is on the ship is heartbreaking. But, because we are in this new universe, she must struggle with the fact that the impossible is possible. What she is missing in her universe is in this new universe. What would you do if you were in her shoes? The logical side of you is screaming No! at the TV. The emotional side of you is in teary-mode for Ava (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

Were there moments where you are scratching your head? Yes, but that is so minute that it should not impact the whole of the movie.

All we want to know is if this team will make it? You will have to watch it to see if it happens.

The movie is filled with a stellar multicultural cast (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki and the Alienist’s Daniel Bruhl) that helped move the story along and gave us some great moments that have me still talking about the movie. Plot wise, it may seem like we have seen this movie time and time again, but it hits its mark and leaves you with so many bloody questions that all you want to do is watch the original Cloverfield and start counting down to the 4th installment.

Now, if you are one of those people out there who were wondering how this movie connects with the two prior Cloverfield movies, were you watching the movie?

Did you not hear the explosion, see the movement in the shadows, hear Ava’s husband talk about the “things” as he is trying to figure out what is going on with her? Do things have to be so blatant for you to connect the dots?

Also, I am not sure why people think magic can strike twice. Empire Strikes Back and the Godfather 2 were anomalies. Cloverfield was amazing, but you cannot constantly compare future movies to it. That is not fair to the future Directors and the franchise as a whole. All a new director can do is make a great standalone movie. Julius Onah did that.

Cloverfield Paradox is a great movie.

Give it a shot.

I am hopping off my soapbox.

ps – Did you catch the little Easter eggs that gave a nod to Slush-o and the Star Trek Federation. Also, did you hear the voices of Simon Pegg and Greg Grunberg in the movie?

2 thoughts on “In Defense of Cloverfield Paradox – The Disconnect Between the Moviegoer and the Critic”

  1. Apparently, I’m one of five people on Earth who paid attention to, and therefore liked, this movie. I thought it was moving, emotional, and scary, and all those good things, with just a touch of intellectual heft.


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