The Cloverfield Paradox is an Exhilarating Mess (Blu-ray Review)

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THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD February 5, 2019 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  Featuring over 25 minutes of never-before-seen bonus content including behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, here is my review:

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX follows a group of scientists orbiting Earth on the brink of a devastating energy war.  They prepare to test a device that could provide unlimited power…or trap them in a terrifying alternate reality.  The film features a sensational international cast including Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Aksel Hennie (Hercules), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (A Wrinkle in Time), Chris O’Dowd (“Get Shorty”), John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

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Review

The prequel to the Cloverfield trilogy is riddled with plot issues, awkward pacing and an ending that leaves a lot to be desired (unless you immediately begin watching the original Cloverfield 10 seconds after Paradox wraps up). However, after re-watching the film on Blu-ray (my first time since the surprise release during last year’s Superbowl), I did find that The Cloverfield Paradox holds up slightly better a second round. There are quite a few brilliant and truly horrific body horror moments that really stand above the rest of the herd in terms of bleak sci-fi. After a space crew winds up using a particle accelerator above the Earth, shit hits the galactic fan and they wind up skipping dimensions and opening a rift in time, causing various otherworldly terrors aboard their spacecraft.

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The opening moments of The Cloverfield Paradox, when the ship winds up getting seriously messed up – are EXHILARATING – truly some incredible shots and riveting tension. Then after that moment occurs, the team finds themselves unravelling a complex and horrifying mystery as to what they may have unleashed. People wind up blending with mechanical parts, getting stuck inside walls and one poor sonofabitch melds with another organism(s) which results in some truly uncomfortable eyeball twitches and an inevitable disgusting end that will no doubt shock audiences.

Director Julius Onah did an admirable job with the material and his cast that assembled for this outing is absolutely wonderful. I had no issues with any of the performances here and I appreciate the amount of screentime that Chris O’Dowd gets in this flick because he’s a helluva performer – his arm too by the way – that damn arm… I loved that little bastard. Where The Cloverfield Paradox falls apart, is the script…. It felt so incredibly forced to take a backseat to the Cloverfield lore, that the movie crashes and burns during the final act. The ending isn’t scary or impactful in the same way Life was during the Earth landing, and even for fans of the first movie – it leaves so much to be desired that I can’t help but wonder what else they would have done if they didn’t lean into the original film so much. The film is better than you remember it being but it’s still the weakest of the trilogy unfortunately.

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Special Features

  • Things Are Not as They Appear: The Making of The Cloverfield Paradox
  • Shepard Team: The Cast

There are 25 minutes of special features included here and they were not previously available until the home release of The Cloverfield Paradox. So I found that a real nice treat and even though the two features were brief, they were cool enough to digest but I honestly didn’t have any major takeaways from them either. If you didn’t like this movie when it premiered on Netflix, you’re not going to get the Blu-ray unless you’re a franchise completionist. I am, so I’m happy to include it alongside the other two flicks. But if you don’t give a shit about physical media, then I’d take a hard pass.

Rating:

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