A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cloverfield Paradox is the third in the Cloverfield sci-fi movie series. Violence is the main issue and is fairly strong, with guns and shooting, fighting and punching, deaths (sometimes in gruesome/shocking ways), a creepy disembodied arm, and bloody wounds. There are also gross moments -- worms bursting out of a man's mouth, cables running through a woman's body, etc. -- and a woman's children are said to be dead. Language includes a use of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t." The movie takes place on an Earth that's rapidly running out of resources, which could spur discussion about ways to slow down that process or find alternative energy sources. The Cloverfield Paradox tries to manage many different tones and moods (which is awkward), but its strong cast may make it worth seeing for some teens. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, and Daniel Bruhl co-star.
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What's the story?
In THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, Earth is running out of resources, and a desperate mission is launched to fire a particle accelerator and create new forms of energy. After months in space, the mission team -- Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Kiel (David Oyelowo), Schmidt (Daniel Bruhl), Monk (John Ortiz), Mundy (Chris O'Dowd), Volkov (Aksel Hennie), and Tam (Zhang Ziyi) -- manage to pull off their task. But they also find that they've ripped open the fabric of space and time and emerged in a different dimension. Strange things start happening. A tank of worms disappears, a woman appears inside a wall, and Mundy's arm vanishes. The ship is also damaged, and crew members begin facing unexpected dangers while repairing it. It all leads up to another attempt at firing the accelerator ... and perhaps returning home.
Is it any good?
This third movie in the Cloverfield series deflects attention from a giant monster and instead focuses on an odd, unstable mishmash of moods and tones, gamely held together by a fine cast. Released suddenly, unexpectedly on Netflix during the evening of the 2018 Super Bowl, The Cloverfield Paradox is a step down from the original Cloverfield (2008), a found-footage monster movie, and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), a paranoid, hiding-in-a-bunker thriller. Without spoiling much, this film does have a connection to the giant monster but is perhaps not quite as satisfying as the two previous films.
Based around a cautionary tale of a depleting world gone mad, the movie's main structure revolves around the "alternate reality" idea. Yet, with a universe of infinite possibility at their disposal, the filmmakers stick to pretty basic horror, thriller, and comedy ideas. It's small potatoes; not exactly terrible, but off-putting. The best thing about the movie is its great cast, with O'Dowd earning the majority of the laughs and having fun with his disembodied arm. Mbatha-Raw gives the movie an emotional center, missing her husband at home and mourning her lost children, and Oyelowo, Bruhl, and Ziyi lend the movie a certain dignity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Cloverfield Paradox's use of violence. Was it shocking? Thrilling? How did you react? Screams? Laughs? How did the movie achieve this effect? What impact does media violence have on kids?
What does the movie have to say about Earth's diminishing resources? Does it offer any viable solutions?
How does the movie compare to, or fit in with, the other Cloverfield movies?
The movie has a strong multicultural cast of both men and women. Do they seem like three-dimensional people or are any of the characters stereotypes?
- On DVD or streaming: February 4, 2018
- Cast: Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Bruhl, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
- Director: Julius Onah
- Studios: Paramount Pictures, Netflix
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi action, violence, disturbing images and brief strong language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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