You Can Watch the Latest 'Cloverfield' Movie on Netflix Right Now

It's great news if you want to watch the film ASAP — but it could be indicative of a worrying trend.
Sarah Ward
Published on February 05, 2018

If you're a science-fiction fan — and a lover of 2008's Cloverfield and its 2016 follow-up 10 Cloverfield Lane, specifically — then you might want to cancel your plans for tonight. With barely a few hours notice, Netflix is now streaming the third film in the franchise.

Yes, today. No, that's not a typo. Previously called God Particle, it's now going by the name The Cloverfield Paradox, and it's now available worldwide (yes, even on Australian Netflix) via the streaming platform the moment the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles walk off the field.

Haven't even heard of the flick, even though it stars Black Mirror's' Gugu Mbatha-Raw, The IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd, Inglourious Basterds' Daniel Brühl, Selma's David Oyelowo, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Zhang Ziyi and Aussie actress Elizabeth Debicki? That's okay — the first trailer for the movie only aired during the game, bearing the words "only on Netflix tonight" at the end. The news that it'd be available via Netflix rather than in cinemas is a recent development, too. Initially, it was set to release in theatres last year, before being moved to February 1 this year and then later this year. In fact, up until a few minutes ago, we still had the film in our review schedule for April.

In taking on a star-filled, decent-budget movie that was originally made to be viewed in cinemas, then releasing it for all the world to see with very little warning, Netflix is in uncharted territory. If this was another sci-fi saga, we'd say they're boldly going where no one has gone before. It's great news for film buffs eager to watch something when and where they want — and not be at the mercy of different release dates around the world — but it's also indicative of a new trend.

Paramount, the studio originally behind The Cloverfield Paradox, did something similar with fellow sci-fi title Annihilation, the latest effort from Ex Machina's Alex Garland. As The Hollywood Reporter noted in December last year, it decided to find another avenue for the film after worrying it was "too intellectual" and "too complicated" for viewers. If you think that sounds a little patronising, you're not alone. The Atlantic ran through some of the worries behind the strategy, but, in short, it could be a sign of not-so-great things to come.

At a time when cinemas are filled with endless Star Wars instalments and multiple superhero cinematic universes — not that there's anything wrong with that, either — movies like The Cloverfield Paradox and Annihilation are becoming increasingly rare. Not just sci-fi flicks, but anything that doesn't fit into an existing franchise, remake/reimagine/reboot a recognisable property or star The Rock (or, sometimes, all of the above). And while they're frequently the films that do extremely well at the box office, audiences do want to see other things too. We don't just want our cinematic candy — bright, loud, comfortable and familiar — but fare that's are different, intriguing, unusual and unexpected as well.

Of course, the Cloverfield franchise has a history of surprise reveals, keeping things close to its chest and doing things differently. The first film, a found-footage monster effort, gave very little away before the movie hit cinemas. The second, which focused on Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a bunker with a possibly hostile John Goodman, only released its first trailer and confirmed that the movie even existed a month before it was released. Netflix's plan of attack with The Cloverfield Paradox makes that seem positively slow. But, when you're settling down to watch the flick from today onwards, here's hoping that you'll still be able to see movies like this on the big screen in the future.

The Cloverfield Paradox is now streaming on Netflix here

Published on February 05, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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