18 May 2005

Hey kids, today I will speak about the movie Cube 2: Hypercube and this rant will be wrought with spoilers. Now there are movies for which it actually matters that you go in unprepared (for instance, Cube) but there are also ones for which the opposite is true. This would be Cube 2. In the slight case that you do give a damn (but you shouldn't), you're advised to skip this jumbled piece of proze. If you either have already seen it or you're actually listening to me when I tell you you won't rue it once you realize what a mess the movie is, read on.

There were three things in particular that I liked about the first Cube.

1. It was a puzzle. Seven people were dumped into the Cube with nothing but their wits. But as luck would have it, their wits was all they needed, because there were nigh-indecipherable hints scattered around and it soon dawned on them and the audience that each of them was carefully picked to join the team because of their unique skills. This gave the characters an important reason to keep fighting, because they knew there was an exit and they knew that they'd get there if only they marched on. Cube 2 however, has no puzzle. The eight that are deposited into the spiffy-looking gauntlet this time don't stand a chance. They don't know if there's an exit. They're not sleuthing their way out of the maze. There's no chance of survival, so Cube 2 is just one big Scoobydoo-montage of people running in and out of doors, chased by the monster, and it never stops and there is no reason. The existence of the movie then seems only to kill off the contestants and show it. It's so very, very... pointless. Interestingly, in the beginning one of the prisoners, who seems to know where he is, searches for a clue and then distressedly mumbles that the ,,first one had numbers' and asks whether or not he'll at least get a chance. Amusing how the movie points out one of its own deficiencies. How selfconscious.

2. It was visceral. Not that I'm such a fan of gory stuff, but Cube was visceral in more than one way. The strong lighting and the low-budget shooting made everything feel sweaty and claustrophobic. And yes, the traps were very real and involved razorwire and lasers and flames. Lots of blood and meaty deaths. Cube 2 says: naaaah, and goes for weird CGI-deaths such as wobbly sparkly gelatine that comes out of the wall or wobbly sparkly gelatinous beams that behead folk, or abstract, impossible geometrical figures that have a life of their own.

3. It was real. Yes it was completely unrealistic, but Cube made very solid attempts to explain all of it. It was more science than fiction, and that was one of the main attractions to the movie. Despite the improbability of it all, there was still a chance, a slim chance, that someone with the right resources... and it was all explained in a smart, convincing way. And that made it scary. It could happen to you! And the numbers, the NUMBERS! As the characters progressed in their understanding of the Cube, so did we. None of that in Cube 2. Ha, no sir! Because Cube 2 has the magic word 'Quantum Physics', which is the perfect excuse to make magic things happen. And also the perfect excuse to not explain anything and just whisper in awe ,,Quantum Physics...' as soon as something magic happens. Do you see why it's just not the same? Sure, both movies use the scary mathematical figure that embodies horror, but where Cube is a very smart movie using a steady stream of information to shock us and realistic notions of abstract arithmatics used to horrifying effect, Cube 2 is a piece of unrealistic flimflam that expects us te believe everything because it throws random scientific terms at us in unrationed globs.

Then there're also less deep characters, not much interesting synergy between them, wonky guitarmusic where the first one had eerie synthesizers and a crappy Wizard of Oz ending that leaves you completely unsatisfied in the wrong way. To its credit, there are some scenes that manage to shock. Amusingly, these are the more improbable, abstract instances near the end of movie, but they're well done and haunting. It has a certain bittersweet Twilight Zone feeling
, the ironic tang of love and death and zero gravity.

It was fun while it lasted, but we have to remain realistic.