Cloverfield Paradox early buzz

Netflix and the Cloverfield franchise pulled off a huge surprise last night, first dropping the long-awaited trailer for the third film in the series before handing us another shocker: the movie would be available to stream immediately after the Super Bowl.

It’s a clever marketing scheme that holds true to the “disruptive” nature of both the Cloverfield franchise and the streaming service. Viewers would have no choice but to go into the movie fresh, with no positive or negative reviews to taint their movie-watching experience. It’s a bold experiment — but did it work? And was the movie at the center of it all, now titled The Cloverfield Paradox, worth the trouble?

Here’s what the critics who stayed up late on Sunday night to check out the movie had to say.

The Cloverfield Paradox Early Buzz

The vast majority of critics, including /Film’s Chris Evangelista, say that it was not worth it. The movie had its share of behind-the-scenes troubles, including a rumored major reworking from Bad Robot and Cloverfield captain J.J. Abrams, and many critics think that this led to the movie being essentially dumped for release on Netflix.

True to its name, The Cloverfield Paradox has its fair share of defenders. It could be the most polarizing (paradoxical?) Cloverfield movie yet.

A few reviews of the film have already been published and they are much harsher than the initial social reaction.

Matt Goldberg at Collider calls the film “a long, lousy episode of Black Mirror.” Fitting, considering Paradox star Gugu Mbatha-Raw starred in the sci-fi series’ most famous episode:

But on the movie’s own merits, it’s clear that Paramount took a film that plays like a worse version of last year’s Life or a bad Black Mirror episode and dumped it onto a willing taker, in this case, Netflix. And after the initial excitement dies down, you’ll see that Julius Onah’s The Cloverfield Paradox is a tepid, predictable, and largely uninteresting sci-fi film where dumb characters do dumb things and bad things happen because the script needs them to. It’s a movie that’s not particularly scary, interesting, or deep, but it does have good actors performing admirably.

The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “a trainwreck of a sci-fi flick” while making an unwarranted jab at the overall Cloverfield franchise, pointing out the predictability of The Cloverfield Paradox‘s plot:

In Paradox, one is mostly struck by the need to push Alien and a half-dozen similar films from our minds, in the hopes of giving a damn about the sub-par space-station action before us. Seeming to understand how underwhelming the drama is, Onah stages some of his pivotal crew debates off-camera, letting us listen to colleagues bicker while we watch, say, CG footage of the station’s moving parts.

And IGN compares it unfavorably to the previous Cloverfield films, both of which received critical acclaim:

The Cloverfield Paradox, surprisingly dropped on Netflix months ahead of its originally anticipated theatrical release, aims to jump into yet another new genre — space-set sci-fi with a dash of horror — but never quite reaches the highs of its predecessors. In an effort to provide some insight into the blood tying these films together, the film paradoxically both stumbles in offering clear answers or thrill as a standalone feature.

Reactions to The Cloverfield Paradox seem to range from “it’s terrible” to “eh, it’s all right.” Overall, not quite the fireworks that Netflix’s surprise (and brief) marketing campaign suggested. Critics are pointing to the film’s derivative narrative — comparisons to the equally polarizing Life run rampant — as well as the clunky insertion of Cloverfield-related exposition. So does this spell doom for the Cloverfield franchise? Probably not — a fourth film is already on its way, and The Cloverfield Paradox will likely be seen as an unfortunate blip rather than an indicator of a franchise gone south.

Here is the synopsis for The Cloverfield Paradox:

In the near future, a group of international astronauts on a space station are working to solve a massive energy crisis on Earth. The experimental technology aboard the station has an unexpected result, leaving the team isolated and fighting for their survival.

The Cloverfield Paradox is available to stream on Netflix now.

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