PG-13 Dir: Julius Onah | Paramount | 1h 42min
Plot: What’s it about?
In 2008 I saw a movie that blew me away. As anyone can guess, that film was Cloverfield. And it essentially started a genre (that seems to be on its way out) – found footage. For those that haven’t seen it, stop right now and go watch it. It’s amazing. Then, in 2016, a “sequel” came out – 10 Cloverfield Lane. I won’t reveal what happened there, but check out our coverage. I wasn’t sure how the two movies intertwined which is what led to my ultimate dismay of the film. It wasn’t that it was a bad film, I just didn’t see why it bore the “Cloverfield” name. And now we’ve got a third in the series, because it’s all about the trilogies, The Cloverfield Paradox. And after viewing the film I find myself scratching my head once again. But I have faith in the filmmakers, so without further ado…
Set in the near future, the world is in the midst of an energy crisis. Gas lines form, power surges and fluctuations are frequent and tensions across the globe are on edge. The world is on the brink of another World War and there’s not a lot of hope for survival. One such hope, however, is the S.P.A. (Shepherd Particle Accelerator). A group of scientists are conducting experiments that promise the world free energy and an end to the tension that lies below. But as the clock keeps ticking (nearly three years), expectations continue to plummet on Earth. And with only a few more tries, all hope might be lost. But when something goes awry, the crew of the S.P.A. seems to have succeeded at…something. The only problem is that Earth is nowhere to be seen and the crew is behaving rather, shall we say, oddly. Is this the end?
There’s one scene in the film that somewhat connects this movie to the others and I, of course, won’t say what that is. Other than that, I feel that this film has about as much to do with the Cloverfield universe as a Disney movie. Actually, I’d better watch it, Disney might buy the rights and remake all of these. All this aside, it’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the film – I did. It’s got a great premise and several recognizable actors. Take a few elements from other Science Fiction films (Event Horizon stands out the most) and it’s a nice little film. It was originally made by Paramount and then released to Netflix subscribers. And now, a year later, has finally hit Blu-ray. And yes, I’m still scratching my head.
Video: How’s it look?
Don’t let the Neflix moniker throw you, this was a feature-length film made by Paramount (and not that Netflix films look bad to begin with). The Blu-ray sports a very nice-looking 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer that passes every test thrown at it. The confines of a spaceship are usually a recipe for disaster when it comes to how a film can look, but even with the black levels and shadows present in nearly every scene, the film shines. Beads of sweat, the texture in the hair and the LCD readouts on the monitors make for a great-looking film and add to the sci-fi genre and overall allure of the film. I don’t imagine anyone will be disappointed with the way this looks on Blu-ray.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Couple the picture with a very robust Dolby Atmos track and now we’re talking! This has one of the more active mixes that’s not “in your face”, but rather subduded and always humming along in the background. Vocals, as expected, are rich, pure and crisp. Surrounds, both front and rear, really add to the experience and there’s just enough action going on where the Atmos track isn’t wasted. It’s a really surprising soundtrack that satisfied.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Things Are Not As They Appear: The Making of The Cloverfield Paradox – A 15 minute featurette that covers all the bases of the film. We get the usual bevy of behind the scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew and so forth. I’d advise watching this after the film.
- Shepard Team: The Cast – We get a look at the ensemble cast that make up the film.
The Bottom Line
I still don’t know how or where (or why) this fits into the Cloverfield universe. There’s got to be a reason or at least something that connects all three films. I haven’t looked, either. That said, if we take this film on its own, it’s not bad. I enjoyed the concept and the cast delivers. Paramount’s Blu-ray both looks and sounds the part, but the extras are a bit scant.