DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
HD DVD / Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links
Search: For:
Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Cloverfield Paradox (Blu-ray)
The Cloverfield Paradox (Blu-ray)
Paramount // PG-13 // February 5, 2019 // Region Free
List Price: $22.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted January 29, 2019 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly

THE FILM:

Netflix stunned the world during Super Bowl LII when they debuted a surprise, buzzy trailer for a movie few people knew existed: The Cloverfield Paradox. What Netflix actually did was pretty crafty and duplicitous, and Paramount Pictures was in on the subterfuge. Conceived and shot in 2016 under titles "The God Particle" and "Clean Pass," the film was originally going to be released as an original, standalone science-fiction thriller. Following the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a delayed, unexpected sequel of sorts to the 2008 Matt Reeves thriller Cloverfield, film executives realized they could make this project much more marketable by tying it to the Cloverfield Universe. This happened during late-stage production, and during some reshoots following middling test screenings. The release date was originally early 2017, and it was bumped several times in the subsequent months. Paramount realized the final product was not great, so they sold it to Netflix to release as a surprise event film. So, here we are.

Original science-fiction projects often face rough seas at the box office, but I am a fan of horror-infused sci-fi films like Event Horizon and Alien. The Cloverfield Paradox looks slick and features a cast of competent actors, but it offers surprisingly little suspense or dramatic intrigue. A crew of scientists and engineers mans the Cloverfield space station in Earth's orbit. They are working to end a global energy crisis by activating a particle accelerator, to little success. Among the occupants are Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who left Earth and her husband after her two children were killed in a house fire; commander Jason Kiel (David Oyelowo); German physicist Ernst Schmidt (Daniel Bruhl); Brazilian doctor Monk Acosta (John Ortiz); Irish engineer Gordon Mundy (Chris O'Dowd); Russian engineer Sasha Volkov (Aksel Hennie); and Chinese engineer Ling Tam (Zhang Ziyi). Two years into the mission, the crew activates the particle accelerator and appears to create a stable beam, but, after a power surge, they realize the Earth has vanished from view and things are amiss around the space station.

Everyone knows you do not f**k with alternate dimensions, which is the immediate fear here. The movie earns its title from a theory that the particle accelerator could open portals to alternate universes or dimensions and allow whatever horrors await back into ours. That seems to happen almost immediately, as a strange woman, Mina (Elizabeth Debicki), appears, seemingly from an alternate version of the crew's reality. There are some pretty nifty sequences involving an autonomous arm, featured heavily in the Super Bowl preview, and a man full of worms, but The Cloverfield Paradox is surprisingly dull considering the canvas on which it can draw. I did not connect with any of the characters, except maybe Mundy's engineer, who provides comedic relief in spite of his disobedient arm. Hamilton's tragedy on Earth plays into the broader storyline, particularly the alternate timelines, but it never makes the impact it should. The movie's theories are muddled to the point of creating disinterest, and the second half dragged on well past my attention span despite several horror-esque sequences.

Unlike 10 Cloverfield Lane which also weaved an originally unrelated concept script into this universe, The Cloverfield Paradox fails to do so in an organic way. In the former film, the connection was natural and came after an appropriate buildup with well-developed characters. Here you know from early scenes that something bad is happening on Earth, and it becomes very evident later that the filmmakers simply shot random inserts to tease a connection to the beasts of Cloverfield. The drama on the space station is enough to sustain a movie, and it would have been much more effective to keep the situation on Earth at arm's length. A friend and I actually had an idea for a movie in which two astronauts are trapped on a dying space station as some unknown disaster happens on Earth. Their choice would be to die in space or travel back to a possibly worse unknown, and that lack of information would keep the suspense high. Since I'm not a filmmaker, I can just project my irritation onto this movie, which does not do a good job building suspense. The most interesting part of this saga is that Netflix proved you can make an event movie out of anything, even a pieced-together dud that likely would have cost its distributor serious cash if given a traditional theatrical release.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer improves on the Netflix streaming experience with picture-perfect clarity and detail. The entire presentation is sharp and clear, with light, filmic grain and excellent delineation. Colors are perfectly saturated, and interior shots reveal abundant detail in the space station. Wider shots are clean and well resolved. Skin tones and highlights are spot-on, and blacks are inky. I did not notice any technical hiccups with this image.

SOUND:

The Dolby Atmos Soundtrack, which I sampled as a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD mix, is theatrical and totally immersive, with excellent effects panning, perfect dialogue reproduction and plenty of LFE muscle. Although the movie is subpar, this soundtrack certainly is not. Environmental effects are subtle and constant, and action effects make full use of the entire sound field. The soundtrack is layered appropriately, and both range and clarity are excellent. A plethora of 5.1 Dolby Digital dubs and subtitle options are included, too.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in an eco-case that is wrapped in a slipcover. No digital copy is included, likely because you can stream it on Netflix. Extras include Things Are Not As They Appear: The Making of The Cloverfield Paradox (14:23/HD) and Shepard Team: The Cast (14:48/HD). Neither of these featurettes deals with any of the curious production details, which his totally expected.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I am all for building a franchise with loosely connected, original storylines, but The Cloverfield Paradox is just a cash-in on the success of its superior genre mates, and this messy, often dull sci-fi/horror combination is a disappointment. Check it out on Netflix or Skip It.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

Find the lowest price for 'The Cloverfield Paradox (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. The Haunting of Hill House
2. Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Limited Edition
3. Someone Behind the Door
4. Christmas in July
5. Charley Varrick
6. The Return of Martin Guerre
7. Seven Days to Noon
8. Light of My Life
9. The Gun Runners
10. Ringu


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use