Aside from too many adult beverages, nothing self-induced can make your brain hurt more than paradoxes. Even the definition might cause you some grief:
a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory: a potentially serious conflict between quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity known as the information paradox.
• a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true: in a paradox, he has discovered that stepping back from his job has increased the rewards he gleans from it.
• a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities: the mingling of deciduous trees with elements of desert flora forms a fascinating ecological paradox.
Paradoxes, or at least the word, is the connecting tissue with this week’s piece. During the Super Bowl (As a tortured Bills fan there is nothing better than seeing a slack-jawed Tom Brady.) Netflix announced it would be streaming the next chapter in the Cloverfield franchise right after the game. This was quite a shock to many as The Cloverfield Paradox was supposedly getting a theatrical release in April. Cloverfield was a surprise hit in 2008, but it is more remembered for its viral marketing and found footage conceit than the film itself. The follow-up, 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), also snuck up on viewers in a different manner with a tense story and superb acting. While not quite a true sequel, the monster from the original doesn’t appear, it deals with the idea of something unworldly attacking us. Plus, anything with John Goodman in it is worth checking out.
The two latest films in the franchise were originally developed as standalone projects. 10 Cloverfield Lane was originally known as The Cellar and Valencia, while the newest chapter started out as God Particle. J.J. Abrams (of Lost, Star Trek, and Star Wars) and his production company, Bad Robot, took these scripts and, well, shoehorned them into the Cloverfield universe (or anthology series). The recent pattern of taking over scripts will continue as a fourth film is on its way. Overlord (for now) takes place during WWII. Trying to connect the films and make sense of it all is a paradox.
Luckily for me my neighborhood liquor store carries beers from Paradox Beer Company. We’ve covered their beers on several occasions here, and I haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying any of their beers.
Future Knowledge, Variant No. 4: The Basics
- Brewery: Paradox Beer Company (Divide, CO)
- Style: Saison/Farmhouse
- ABV: 5.2%
Future Knowledge, Variant No. 4: The Details
Future Knowledge is described as a tart farmhouse golden ale, and I love saisons/farmhouse ales. This ale is 100% fermented in oak foeders. Paradox uses a free-rise solera process, with their own house strain of Brettanomyces to get their desired result. Jarrylo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops were used along with Colorado red winter wheat, German Pilsner and Carahell malts, and flaked oats.
Some of you might be wondering what some of those previous words might mean. I’ve seen the term solera used with some fortified wines (in the sherry and port section) and with some scotches. Solera is a process in aging fermented liquids using fractional blending. That means the final product is a mixture of ages with the average age increasing as the process continues over many years. Free-rise is another fermentation process. This one allows the yeast to control temperature ages.
With so many hop varietals you are bound to come across one you’ve never heard of. Jarrylo is one of those examples. This hop pairs well with a Pilsner malt base that helps its notes of banana, pear, orange, and fruity spices shine.
The first thing I noticed when pouring this beer was the sound. The head was crackling like fresh bowl of Rice Krispies. (Now, after I had poured the beer I noticed on the label that it said this beer should be refrigerated for a minimum of 24 hours…sometimes you have to break the rules.) The head that formed was a nice white and about two fingers thick. It quickly leveled off to a thing layer than hung around until it was all gone. Even as I swirled the beer on several occasions I could hear the beer speak to me.
The aroma of Brett funk was apparent the moment the hazy, golden-straw liquid hit the glass. Getting past the funk I could notice notes of citrus, tropical fruits (some pineapple), and hints of pear. As the beer warmed up some of those other well-known characteristics of a saison started to pop up. There were slight traces of banana and spice.
Just like the initial smell, the Brett dominates, but not in an off-putting way. Future Knowledge has a slight tartness to it that would make it oh so refreshing on a hot summer day. What really stood out on the first initial sips was the funky bitterness. Yet, as the beer got warmer (and I had more sips) that particular aftertaste wasn’t as strong. Perhaps my taste buds just became accustomed to it. The fruity, citrusy notes started to take hold, with some hints of pear and banana. The flavor profile is a little light, but the body and finish hit the mark: light-medium, semi-dry, and some nice carbonation. I didn’t pick up any elements of the oak-aging, but they could have been so subtle compared to what else was going on.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
- Director: Julius Onah
- Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
- Total Running Time: 1hr 42mins
- Rating: TV-MA
- Availability: Netflix
I admit that I was one of the movie buffs that got seduced by the marketing for Cloverfield a decade ago. The mysterious film and its trailer had people asking so many questions. There was a rumor for a while that is was a live-action Voltron film. I’m still not sure how that idea got spread. Then there was fake website that was part of the marketing campaign. So many theories about the film bubbled up from that site. The viral marketing and the augmented reality game (ARG) for the movie created an experience unlike anything before. Too bad the film couldn’t really follow through. Cloverfield did breathe new life into the found-footage genre (a growing staple of horror films) and Kaiju movies (ya know, like Godzilla).
Upon watching The Cloverfield Paradox it became evident as to why it landed at Netflix instead of the theaters. It is a tired, mish-mash of sci-fi films that you’ve seen before, but done better. A tale about a crew trapped in space. It’s like seeing the local cover band playing in a hole-in-the-wall bar. They’re going over the greatest hits that you love, but they aren’t quite nailing them. This film robs its vibe from Alien, Aliens, Sunshine, Event Horizon, and Prometheus (and possibly more). It’s unfortunate because the production design and cast deserve better.
The film supposedly takes place in 2028 where a global crew of astronauts are sent out to space to help solve a world-wide energy crisis. On their space station they have a particle accelerator that holds the key to stopping WWIII happening over the energy shortage. The problem is that this device has a the capability of bending space and time, opening up doors, and letting in monsters or demons from other dimensions. After some technical issues and being in space for much longer than anticipated, the crew is able to getting things working. For a bit.
The system overloads, there’s a flash of light, and the crew finding it has lost sight of and contact with Earth. Then the weirdness begins. Things aren’t going so well on Earth in the B plot, either. Michael (Roger Davies), a doctor and husband to one of the astronauts, wakes up to the sights and sounds of the city around him being attacked by something.
Up in space his wife, Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and her crew mates are dealing with a stow-away in the walls of the ship, a dismembered arm that moves around like Thing from the Addams Family, possible sabotage from within, and a now evil space station. It’s really best not to over think this one too much. Hamilton is also dealing with haunting events from her past, and is the only character given some semblance of depth. Chris O’Dowd (Mundy, the engineer) is funny as usual, but the humor in this feels out of place. The horror and weirdness feels like it has been constrained. It might have been beneficial in going completely bonkers.
At first I wasn’t too sure if this would be a go-to saison. I thought it would make for a nice change of pace saison on the account of the Brett playing an extremely noticeable role. But as the beer warmed up the more I grew fonder of the beer. Future Knowledge is complex and subtle at the same time. The price range (around $9 for 500ml) might have more of a say on being a regular purchase, but it is definitely worth checking out. I’d really be interested to see how letting this one age in the bottle would play out. Paradox also has a Variant No. 7 which sounds delicious.
With The Cloverfield Paradox being on Netflix it’s worth taking a gamble on. If it was in the theaters I would tell you not to bother. The cast does its best with a script that was altered to fit this specific universe. There are already so many posts online trying to decipher and connect the dots to the previous installments with this one. I don’t really think it’s worth the time and energy. Abrams is a great ideas man. It’s sticking the landing on his projects that he seems to have a problem with.
I would definitely recommend 10 Cloverfield Lane as it’s streaming on Hulu and Amazon. It’s a taut thriller that takes you to an unexpected ending.