Netflix tried a surprise play of their own Sunday night when it announced during Super Bowl LII that “The Cloverfield Paradox” would be available for streaming immediately after the big game.
But unlike the Philly Special that got the Super Bowl-champion Eagles into the end zone just before halftime, this trick fell flat.
The out-of-the-blue announcement generated lots of buzz during the game, but as soon as critics started watching, they found the actual film to be a mess.
Directed by Julius Onah (“The Girl is in Trouble”) and produced by J.J. Abrams (lots of really good stuff), the third installment in the “Cloverfield” franchise is set on a space station where the crew — including Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Daniel Brühl (“The Alienist,” “Inglourious Basterds”) — is stranded after the Earth disappears.
John DeFore wrote in “The Hollywood Reporter,” that “In ‘Paradox,’ one is mostly struck by the need to push ‘Alien’ and a half-dozen similar films from our minds, in the hopes of giving a damn about the subpar space-station action before us.”
Glenn Kenny, writing in The New York Times, said “the actual movie is strangely plain, eyesore-overlit and uselessly frantic.”
Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair said the film “gives off the tired vibe of a TV episode you’ve already seen.”
The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee offered some free marketing advice to the filmmakers. Referring to rumors of yet another “Cloverfield” film later this year, he suggested that “maybe the next surprise release should be not releasing it at all.”
As of Monday afternoon, the film has an 11 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.