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The Cloverfield Paradox
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Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Bear McCreary

Orchestrated by:
Edward Trybek
Henri Wilkinson
Jonathan Beard

Co-Produced by:
Steve Kaplan
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Sparks & Shadows (McCreary)
(February 5th, 2018)
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Regular U.S. release.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if the aggressive yet tonal portions of 10 Cloverfield Lane impressed you, for Bear McCreary has expanded that personality into an extremely intelligent and surprisingly accessible fantasy score with a fabulously engaging narrative.

Avoid it... if you prefer simplistic constructs in your film music, this entry containing multiple layers in each major identity to accentuate the story's paradoxes; it will take you a while to unravel these appropriately parallel lines.
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WRITTEN 1/29/19
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The Cloverfield Paradox: (Bear McCreary) A person can go mad trying to speculate about the connections between the films of the Cloverfield franchise, and they're probably not worth the brain power. What matters is that giant monsters are rampaging across the planet at different times in modern history, and each loosely related film gives you more clues as to why. In 2018's The Cloverfield Paradox, audiences learn that actions involving a particle accelerator on a space station in Earth's future inadvertently open a gateway to parallel universes, sending rippling effects through time and space. The crew of the station is the subject of this film's main narrative, their horrifying plight reflecting many of the similarly gruesome fates experienced in 1997's Event Horizon. After the international crew activates the "Shepard" accelerator in hopes of generating immense electrical power, they find themselves dragged into another timeline of Earth in which matter flows in and out of the universe and, not surprisingly, monsters and death ensue both on the station and back on Earth in the home universe. As the remaining crew struggles to reverse the effects, they manage to return home, but to a vastly changed version of it. While intriguing in basic concept, the poor script of The Cloverfield Paradox represents a relatively rare misstep for producer J.J. Abrams. Like its predecessor, 10 Cloverfield Lane, the story was adapted from a standalone project to suit the Cloverfield universe, so obvious connections between the films are fleeting and the overarching narrative remains elusive at best. Complicating this entry was Paramount's sale of the movie to Netflix in order to break even on it, and the latter company smartly marketed its online access to the movie to make it temporarily relevant. For film music enthusiasts, the The Cloverfield Paradox marked the return of ascendant composer Bear McCreary to a franchise that helped him break into the mainstream with 10 Cloverfield Lane. The score for that 2016 film was uniquely smart and worthy of study, its use of unusual instrumentation (mainly a Turkish yayli tambur for the lead heroine) giving it a very distinct personality.

McCreary had toiled for years in television and, by the late 2010's, he sought to expand his career into mainstream features to a greater degree. While The Cloverfield Paradox as a career credit isn't as firm a stepping stone along that journey as hoped, it is a solid improvement over 10 Cloverfield Lane and serves as additional proof that the composer is ready for prime time. The two scores don't share obvious melodic connections, but they are definitely joined at the hip due to their common structural and instrumental tendencies. McCreary's brash edge in orchestration and distinctive phrasing of action is quite similar between the two, so much so that even a casual listener may not distinguish them apart. Their main difference comes in the increased strength of thematic development in The Cloverfield Paradox and improved accessibility to the suspense and horror portions. This great presence of tonal appeal makes sense given that the prior movie was a psychologically constricted abduction tale and this entry is a more traditional science-fiction/fantasy story with some horror thrown in along the way. McCreary's instrumental palette remains highly engaging intellectually, his use of strings particularly interesting in this score. The brass presence remains edgy, muted trumpets and ascending low brass phrases carrying over. Woodwind solos, especially in "Launch Sequence," offer more emotional weight. Dull, crashing pianos also return. Choral applications are far more frequent and supply a genuine sense of wonder and empathy to the human element. Various sound effects judiciously aide the score as well, including an electronic pitch-defying tone that mimics the cry of an exotic bird. A flapping wing effect, a descendant of Hans Zimmer's Batman Begins, echoes along with rhythmic movement. A woodblock-like tapping accompanies several cues of mildly panicked perseverance by the crew and, along with the wing effect and other devices, seems to represent a musical acknowledgement by McCreary of the multiple universes at play. These supporting effects sometimes combine with clarity when the crew makes progress in their efforts, the first half of "Magno-Putty" a solid example of this propulsive presence. In the end, it's really the strings that make The Cloverfield Paradox the success that it is, for McCreary uses them in a bevy of ways to denote the march of time, the precision of science, and the emotions of family.

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Average: 3.52 Stars
***** 36 5 Stars
**** 41 4 Stars
*** 30 3 Stars
** 19 2 Stars
* 11 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 76:51
• 1. Overture (2:10)
• 2. Ava and Michael (2:25)
• 3. Converging Overload (2:17)
• 4. Drifting in the Dark (5:35)
• 5. In the Wall (2:30)
• 6. Mutant Space Worms (6:44)
• 7. Jensen (4:40)
• 8. Molly (3:01)
• 9. Cassiopeia (5:00)
• 10. Airlock 6 (2:02)
• 11. A Message for Ava (5:44)
• 12. Magno-Putty (3:56)
• 13. Spacewalk (6:46)
• 14. Launch Sequence (8:46)
• 15. A Stable Beam (7:06)
• 16. The Cloverfield Paradox (7:35)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a list of performers, photos from the sessions, and detailed notes from the composer about the score.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Cloverfield Paradox are Copyright © 2018, Sparks & Shadows (McCreary) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/29/19 (and not updated significantly since).
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