The Cloverfield Paradox Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews The Cloverfield Paradox, the third installment in the Cloverfield franchise, which follows a group of scientists that are orbiting Earth, testing a device to solve an energy crisis and, suddenly find themselves face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

97

Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki
Directed by: Julius Onah
Music by: Bear McCreary
Written by:Oren Uziel
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 5, 2019

“The Future Unleashed Everything”

Synopsis:

The Cloverfield Paradox follows a group of scientists orbiting Earth on the brink of a devastating energy war. They prepare to test a device that could provide unlimited power…or trap them in a terrifying alternate reality. – Paramount Home Media Distribution.

My Take:

I enjoyed both Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. I liked them for different reasons which makes sense as they have decidedly different thematic tones. I honestly hadn’t heard much about The Cloverfield Paradox but, as a fan of both the series and genre, I definitely wanted to see what it had in store.

The screenplay by Oren Uziel tosses quite a bit at the wall. The problem with that is in many cases not all of it sticks, leaving a patchwork of a narrative that can frustrate viewers, especially those that keep track of each of the story’s threads. Starting things off, there is little in the way of development regarding the primary characters aboard the space station, save for one, Eva Hamilton, who we get a bit of background on. Ultimately, she becomes the plot’s focal point, in terms of drama, with the remaining characters onboard having essentially no other ties to the proceedings that take place outside of the group.

This doesn’t really derail things however, with all that eventually happens, providing us with characters that we can care about/connect to would have been nice. I didn’t really care for the rather rushed explanation of the troubles on Earth, the dangers associated with the plan to use the space station to solve them, or the sketchy details surrounding what exactly is occurring when things go bad.

Now, having said all of that, I found myself completely involved in the unfolding events for the first two acts of the film. Sketchy details or not, I waited to see what would happen next and enjoyed the tension/atmosphere. The final act wasn’t quite a compelling, leaving a finale that sort of ties into the original Cloverfield film. I certainly would have preferred a deeper storyline with better fleshed out characters and a more fulfilling finish but, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I found The Cloverfield Paradox to be fairly entertaining. I really enjoyed the cast, despite them not having a wholly gratifying script to work with.

At the end of the day The Cloverfield Paradox is far from perfect but, for me, strung together enough moments to keep me guessing as to where it was going, which I thought made it interesting.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for sci-fi action, violence, disturbing images and brief strong language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 98
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

The Cloverfield Paradox comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red, and sepia tones. Warm golden accents are used to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. Blacks are dynamic and gradationally revealing, and shadow detail is excellent. The use of CGI softened some of the background elements during wide-angle pans, but I never found it to be excessive or distracting. Overall, I found the quality of the video to be solid. It wasn’t always razor sharp, but it was cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement that increased the perception of fine detail.

I often hear from enthusiasts who rate the quality of movie soundtracks by the amount and depth of the bass it produces. There are select titles that are considered to be the “go to” for reference quality bass. I suspect that after experiencing this lossless soundtrack there will be a new addition among them as this presentation rocked, literally. The film’s first moment aboard the space station features an abrupt but jarring glimpse of the soundtrack’s deep, authoritative bass. Later, during the first use of the particle accelerator the room literally comes alive with rich, tactile, low frequency energy. The response in my room during several sequences attained infrasonic depths that could easily be classified as skin tingling.

In addition to the noteworthy bass response this is an active sound design that makes great use of the entire surround platform. The surround mix makes effective use of discrete effects and atmospherics/ambient related effects that envelope and revolve around the listening position. It generates a sound field that is aurally stimulating as you are transported into the events onscreen.

Occasionally I found myself struggling to hear dialog especially when blended with an active sequence shared by effects and music. In all other respects I didn’t have any issue with dialog perceptibility. Otherwise, I had nothing to complain about and found this audio mix to be engaging and completely involving.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made excellent use of the platform. The immersive mix compliments the already top-notch soundtrack and enhances the experience of watching the film. The use of audio objects placed above and at ear level is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music. The film’s active moments, swallow you up as the revolving, rotating and all-encompassing surround sound comes at you from all sides. The attention to detail here is noticeably on display, giving you a taste of what is to come early on, grabbing hold and not letting go.

There is also much to enjoy in scenes that aren’t actively intense as smaller elements in the background are articulated and dimensionally full. In general, this Dolby Atmos mix made for an involving surround sound experience. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and discrete object placement, which complimented the source material. Woo Hoo!

Bonus Features:

  • Things are Not as They Appear: The Making of The Cloverfield Paradox
  • Shepard Team: The Cast

Final Thoughts:

The Cloverfield Paradox doesn’t quite live up to the other films in the series, suffering from a muddled script and slightly unfocused direction. Despite its narrative shortcomings I managed to have fun with it, taking it with a fairly large grain of salt that kept interest from waning. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring reference quality sound, excellent high definition video and a top-notch Dolby Atmos listening experience. If you enjoy the Cloverfield films The Cloverfield Paradox is passable and makes for one of the best home theater demonstrations I have heard.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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