Review: Netflix surprises all with release of the new Cloverfield film

Netflix has done it again.

On Sunday, one of the biggest televised events of the year was held, Super Bowl LII, and with that comes the commercials.

Trailers foor upcoming films were expected. For a time it was rumored that a “Solo: A Star Wars Story” teaser was on the docket and that was certainly delivered, but what wasn’t expected was a teaser for the newest installment in the Cloverfield franchise.

Rumors spread late last year that Netflix was looking to acquire the rights to the film from Paramount, previously thought to be titled “The God Particle.” But since that time nothing was announced by the groundbreaking streaming service and no knowledge of a teaser or trailer had taken hold across the internet.

A short 31 second teaser played during the Super Bowl announcing that the film titled “The Cloverfield Paradox” will be streamed first on Netflix. And in a historic move, the film would be available that day directly after the big game was finished.

This is a first for the film industry. The music industry has seen surprise drops of songs and albums like this since the early 2010’s, but for a film to be released with only a single 31 second tease on that same day is an absolute groundbreaking move and of course it’s Netflix that sparked the first flame.

This type of release could change the film industry, forever, potentially promoting big studios like Marvel or Warner Bros. to cut absurd marketing costs and thrive off of the hype of a surprise release.

Now the question is, does the first film to ever be released in this way, “The Cloverfield Paradox” live up to the hype?

Ehh, not really.

The film looked very promising at first. Off the back of the amazing release strategy my excitement was through the roof. I thoroughly loved the first two Cloverfield films and the universe in which they took place.

With a found footage alien film and a kidnapping thriller, the only logical next step was to go… into space for a sci-fi horror and that’s exactly what they did.

This film has a very interesting and diverse cast with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, and Chris O’Dowd starring and providing the best acting of the crew. Ziyi Zhang also stars and speaks mostly in her native language, Mandarin, making the other actors also speak Mandarin, a shift on the norm in film.

The redeemable parts of this film come from the first half where suspense and mystery are still there for the viewer.

There is a fun body horror scene with Chris O’Dowd’s character that involves him losing his arm and it then returning with a mind of its own to help the crew. A scene like this as well as the way we are introduced to Elizabeth Debicki’s character, her being stuck in the wall after the ship jumps through universes, are scenes that make this film palatable.

The film captured elements of horror and suspense like its predecessors in this specific genre, but that’s also its problem.

“The Cloverfield Paradox” seems to plop every space station horror trope and the subsequent stereotypical characters into one thrown together film.

It feels like by the midpoint of the film the directors ran out of creative steam and decided to copy aspects of previous films like Aliens, Event Horizon, and Prometheus.

This is a film that most likely would have failed if it were released in theatres, but on Netflix it fits into a niche of films that viewers could enjoy. And if you are a fan of the Cloverfield franchise you will be excited to see all the easter eggs and points of connection to the previous two films.

I’m definitely excited to see if a future Cloverfield film could improve off this groundbreaking release strategy, no news has been released about the future of the “Cloverse” but I hope it can find a home on Netflix.