It isn’t surprising that Julius Onah’s The Cloverfield Paradox is not a good film. However, it turned out even worse than what I could have ever imagined. Cloverfield Paradox is a mind-numbingly boring, generic, and horribly shot movie that doesn’t know what story it wants to tell and what type of movie it wants to be.
The cinematography in this movie is all medium shots and close-ups. It is about as generic as cinematography can come from a science fiction film. Even the visual style is uninspired. Passengers (2016) and Life (2017), two other forgettable sci-fi movies that came out recently. Even Alien: Covenant (2017) looked bland from the aspect of set design. All of these movies seem to just take screens and make them have all types of different things on them and things purposefully look slick and polished. The editing does not help matters and neither does the poor foley in certain scenes. I specifically am talking about includes the worst gunshot noise I have ever heard in a film a top of the nearly nonexistent and lazy editing.
“Well, we found the worms” is just a little taste of the disgraceful dialogue that is in this movie. The plot is predictable. If they were aiming for a “scary” and “mysterious” movie then they should have tried to take out all the cliches before doing so. There was so many times in which I sighed due to the amount of reused plot points. Also if the film was not dull enough it is predictable as well.
The most disappointing thing about The Cloverfield Paradox is that Netflix had a chance to show the other big studios that they too could also release their films on there streaming service. Unfortunately, all Netflix was to Paramount in this was a dumping ground for a movie that the studio executives were afraid to release in cinemas; and if Netflix doesn’t raise their standards on what content they will purchase than I fear that other studios will use them for the same reason.
The now nearly forty year-old Alien franchise has made its genre-defining Xenomorphs less threatening over time. The terror that Alien (1979) made people feel is no longer prevalent in the new installments of the franchise. Enter Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, a sequel to 2012’s Prometheus as well as a prequel to Alien. Covenant manages to create a whole new type of monster and makes him threatening and dangerous just as the Xenomorph used to be. His name is David (Michael Fassbender).
Without giving much away, the evolution of former Prometheus crew member and synth to villain is subtle at first as he questions his masters. By Alien: Covenant, David has fully turned on his creators showing no remorse for human life. Fassbender sells this man-made creation through his sheer acting ability to do so. While also portraying David, Fassbender also plays Walter, the synth who assists the Covenant ship crew. Watching both of these characters interact with each other on screen together is a surreal experience that is proven believable through the great effects used to produce it. The two share an admiration for the arts such as poetry, painting, and sculpture. As well as have lengthy dialogue about favorites of theirs in each medium.
A stand-out performance is Danny McBride as the pilot of the Covenant, Tennessee. McBride is mostly known for playing the character Kenny Powers in the HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down and many probably thought that McBride would not be able to pull of a dramatic performance.
Alien: Covenant has stunning cinematography. The Covenant space ship glides through the air with its odd “space sail boat” mechanics and Scott knows when the right time is to dwell on certain set pieces. Dariusz Wolski was the director of photography for this film as well as Prometheus and does a good job of capturing the atmosphere of that film. When the Covenant crew lands on the unknown planet to investigate a radio signal playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver (it is unknown if Free Fire stole the idea from this film or vice-versa) is where the cinematography really shines. The overcast of the unknown planet followed by the darker shades of green and blue give off a very gloomy feel to the film as well as somewhat resemble the colors of a Xenomorph. Some well choreographed battle-sequences also manage to create some good suspense.
There are only one issue that I had with this film. The terrible CGI of the Chestbursters. In 1979 the effects looked better and the state that it was shown in was unacceptable for 2017. Some may say that the scientists in this movie do not act logically. This is simply untrue, these characters are on a new planet examining new life. Even scientists sometimes let curiosity get the best of them. It does not even compare to the scientists in Daniel Espinosa’s Life (2017). Who fail to contain a life form on the International Space Station, which they are trained to operate.
Alien: Covenant manages to unexpectedly take the plot in a completely different direction than expected. Instead of having a film more reminiscent of Alien, where a Xenomorph goes around a space ship, killing crew members. Covenant creates a new identity for itself, not being predictable or by-the-numbers.