I have a background in sustainable energy engineering and experience working as an Energy Trader and Analyst. I thought it would be really fun to watch movies, tv episodes and documentaries based around the subject of energy and react to them.
I think it’s a fun way for me to learn more and also an opportunity to give my 2 cents on the little that I do know so far.
Today, I’m going to react to The Cloverfield Paradox horror movie directed by Julius Onah. It’s available on Netflix for those who haven’t watched it yet and also some SPOILERS ahead!
Premise: The Cloverfield Paradox is a Sci-fi horror movie about scientists orbiting an Earth that is on the brink of catastrophic energy wars. These scientists test a device called the Shepard Parting Accelerator (SPA), that could provide unlimited energy and solve the current energy crisis but could also potentially result in a dark alternate reality.
The movie opens with an announcement from the radio stating that:
“Government sources tell us the world’s energy sources will be fully exhausted within 5 years”
How true is this?
Well it depends on what energy source you’re referring to.
Fossil fuel resources which are finite energy sources like oil and coal are actually LIMITED in supply especially at the rate humanity currently consumes them.
According to a Stanford Article published May 2019, the following are the estimated exhaustion timelines for fossil fuels:
Oil will end by 2052 – 30 years time
Gas will end by 2060 – 40 years time
Coal will last till 2090 – 70 years time
So the movie isn’t off from the truth. It’s scary to know that in our lifetimes we could potentially witness the extinction of a lot of these resources. This is why renewable energy is pushed so much because it is infinite to an extent and has the potential to alleviate the stress and dependence on fossil fuels.
LACK OF AFRICAN REPRESENTATION
One thing I liked at the very beginning of the movie was that on the Cloverfield space station we see that the crew members are from each major nation. I believe that in a global crisis like the one presented in the movie, nations would make sure to cooperate with each other so that there isn’t only one country that has sovereign rights over an important resource or discovery.
HOWEVER! Can someone explain to me why there was NO African Representative?
The crew was made up of an American commander, British communications officer, German physicist, Brazilian doctor, an Irish, Chinese and Russian Engineer and finally an Australian crew member who shows up from an alternate timeline and you mean to tell me that in the midst of a supposed global energy crisis not ONE professional from the large continent of Africa could’ve been onboard?
I don’t know it just felt real off to me that they had a representative from each continent and left out one.
Being an African professional myself, I couldn’t help catch feelings that there wasn’t representation when there are so many other seasoned African professionals who have made great technological and scientific contributions over the years. I know this is a movie but media whether fictional or not shapes or heavily influences our narratives and beliefs even beyond that which is true.
EFFECTS OF A GLOBAL ENERGY CRISIS
So what would happen in a world with dwindling energy supplies?
In short, destabilisation and destruction of modern society.
Humanity is HEAVILY dependent on energy, its at the core of our socio-economic development.
If fossil fuel resources like oil become scarce this would drive up the price of oil to unprecedented prices. This would result in the halting of international trade that relies on cross-border imports and exports that relies on transportation that needs energy sources to function. Industries based on transportation would dissipate.
This would immediately cause violence to erupt inside national borders as citizens riot against their governments due to low commodity supplies, unemployment, and lack of electricity (I would assume that in dire situations as this load-shedding and power cuts would become the norm). This sentiment is briefly shown in the movie as well.
However this is based on my assumptions that in the movie they either didn’t factor in renewable energy technologies or they do exist but no amount of investment and expansion could be enough to fill the global energy demand gap.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS:
The movie didn’t spend a lot of time focused on the global energy crisis issue but rather spent most of it focused on the experiences of the crew members on the ship and the timeline lapse caused by the SPA.
I was still left with the following unanswered questions regarding the SPA energy technology:
- Now that the SPA was correctly stabilized meaning infinite energy was available, how would the earth harness this energy considering that the technology is floating in space on a damaged aircraft?
- How would nations pay for the cost of establishing the harnessing technologies?
- How would the power be distributed on Earth? Would our current grid systems be able to handle and distribute this power? Does the earth have technologies to handle this unlimited power?
- Would the power be free? If not how much would it cost citizens?
- Which nation would control it?
- How do you control nations from not using this power for nefarious means like creating weapons?
- Was the expedition useless considering that it caused an alien invasion on earth? Which country would have any resources and time to send another spacecraft to fix the station and harness the energy?
- Is the SPA truly an unlimited energy source if it’s at the mercy of space and possible alien attack? With the technology floating freely in space it makes it even more vulnerable to the elements and damage making it an unlimited resource so long as the technology itself remains intact.
The movie was ok, I give it 1 star out of 5. Outside of the scope of energy the movie left a lot of unanswered plotholes like how the Russian engineer managed to be alive for so long with a gyroscope in his stomach?
It would’ve been great if they showed us more of how the world was like during the energy crisis to expand more on the importance of their expedition and explained the potholes in the time-lapse theory.
I look forward to doing more reactions like these and am busy compiling a list of potential movies and documentaries to react to next. Maybe if I ever get the time I’ll try making these reaction pieces into Youtube videos.
Till next time.
Never forget to carpe all diems.