That’s right, Cube has a sequel! If you didn’t catch my review of the first movie, click here to read it! I’ll be making a lot of references to the original in this review, so if you haven’t read that or seen the movie, you might want to before you start reading.
Synopsis: The exact same cast as the first movie played by different actors are stuck in cubes. Instead of a shifting maze, it’s a multi-dimensional experience with no traps or interesting plot points.
Year Released: 2002
Director: Andrzej Sekula (American Psycho, Pulp Fiction)
Director: Remember that movie Cube?
Random dude: Yeah
Director: Let’s make it again, but this time with inter dimensional travel.
Random dude: Uh, sure dude, pass the ‘shrooms.
Favorite Death: By far the best death in this movie is when the troupe realizes that there are parallel dimensions and various time cycles within the cubes. At one point, Mrs. Paley opens a door and sees herself. The other version of her grabs her hand and asks for help. She is then stabbed by Simon who we then see tell his other self not to trust Mrs. Paley. Without any indication that something is wrong or he’s going to die, a crystallized pillar slides across the entrance of the door and lops off his head. There is no blood, and you can see his head “fall away” from his body. This literally made me laugh out loud when I saw it. As a matter of fact, there’s a YouTube video of exactly this scene, enjoy!
A runner up for my favorite death is when Jerry dies, the first time. So the group is in a cube, right? Right. So Sasha is all of a sudden like “I feel something, something is here” and everyone’s attention is drawn to a floating diamond (or “square” according to Kate) in the middle of the room. It’s CGI so nothing crazy, just the white outline of a diamond. But then it starts to become a cube, then a tesseract with it’s dimensions shifting around. Here’s a graphic to show you what I mean.
So the tesseract that’s now rotating like this but a lot faster in the center of the room turns into a spinning ball of fury that looks like those squiggle imaginary friends from Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. It ends up filling the whole room and literally chopping up Jerry before the eyes of the other members of the group. His body and blood are sucked into a worm hole in the center of the thing and that is that. It was wonderful.
Funniest Part: There are quite a few funny parts, allow me to illustrate some of my favorites:
- At one point, a really random black screen appears. I believe it was used as a transition between two scenes. It’s hilarious because there are no other edits like this in the movie except for a white screen later on that turns out to be a zoomed portion of the cube, so it kinda works.
- The knife Simon carries with him is so clearly one of those knives they use in stage fighting where the blade is attached to a spring and slides into the handle to make it seem like you’re stabbing someone. He claims, at one point, that he has this knife because he collects knives. Why, then, does the knife he carries with him look like a piece of tinfoil with some duct tape as a handle?
- At one point, Sasha and Kate find themselves in a cube that had the corpses of all but two characters. In another cube, the remaining two characters, Max and Jenny, are corpses as well but floating and twirling around in the center completely naked and having nasty corpse sex. This is mimicking the scene before this one where the two do actually have sex while floating in the middle of the room. Yeah.
- The one character, Simon, has an accent I think. I’m not sure if he’s an Irish man with a bad American accent or if he’s American and forgot he was supposed to have an Irish accent for all but two scenes.
What they did right: I will admit there was one thing that took me off guard; when Sasha revealed that she was actually the mysterious mastermind behind the whole thing. It would have been a lot cooler if other people had heard her confession and she was able to explain what the whole thing was about at some point, but she dies before that happens.
Special effects and lighting: The special effects in this movie are video-game quality. It’s all very clean, 3 dimensional, and spatially incorrect. It looks like the CGI animators first attempt at a movie, and while that’s not a bad thing, they have a bit further to go before I would say they really nailed it. Lighting was bright and white the entire time, like in the first movie, they used one cube the whole time and it was lit up all the time.
Also, the camera angles were awful. I don’t know if it was supposed to make you feel claustrophobic or something, but almost every camera angle, especially during dramatic scenes was right up in the face of these characters.
What I thought would happen: Honestly, I wasn’t invested in this movie enough to make a prediction. Most of the film was unnecessary dialogue and scenes of the group running through different cubes and running into other realities. I didn’t have a logical thought about the plot until the simulation was falling down around Kate. It seemed to me like a simulation or video game, so I thought Max would have ended up being the mastermind behind it all.
Thoughts on interviews: Couldn’t find any, it’s almost like no one wants to talk about this movie or remember it happened. Weird.
When Colonel Maguire is killed, the effect of the wall of energy crashing into him is actually just created with a vacuum cleaner stuck on exhale (to blow his clothes around) and CGI, for the wall itself. (I find this particularly funny because I like imagining a stage hand with the vaccuum they were asked to bring from home blowing on this guy’s pants while he’s screaming in agony).
This film used a similar staging method as the first film. The Cube was a single set consisting of identical panels for the walls and the floor (in some shots it was a green screen). For the previous movie, the crew clamped large lighting gels to the outer frame of the set so they could change the color scheme, but the all-white high-tech color scheme of this film simplified the lighting, and all they had to do to change the set in regards to what room they wanted to depict was to write on the walls with a grease pen and position certain props necessary to the plot. Some shots required the use of a green screen, especially when any door was opening. Some scenes used a full box to depict the room, but it was always the same set, just modified with extra panels.
So this review might be a little shorter than the last one. I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the plot, then tell you what I thought.
A handful of people are stuck in a cube maze that’s got multiple dimensions and time loops. They wander around for a bit, eventually all die, then we find out Kate is some kind of secret agent trying to find a thing while being in the simulation of the cube. She then reports to her supervisor this not only negates the entire point of the first movie, but makes all of the character stories and build up from the entire movie obsolete.
I hated it.
Tadaa! There you have it folks!
I’m kidding, of course, but seriously there is little to nothing to the actual plot of this movie. It was so all over the place that I had to get the run down from the Wikipedia page
The beginning of the movie starts off with the camera panning over some bodies covered in plastic lying on gurneys. We see a scientist moving test tubes around, but it’s a bit confusing because we’re not sure if we’re witnessing someone being taken or a scientist having something to do with the lab the bodies are in. I think this is supposed to mean that there are more trials to be done and Kate happened to be the soldier selected this time around.
After the initial confusion of everyone meeting in the cube, there is a cast of characters introduced. Rather than the jumpsuits the characters in the first movie wore, these people are all in normal clothes. To harken back to the original though, they use these clothes to make a rope at one point. I’m fairly certain that was only for nostalgic reasons though. Anyway, we learn that each character bring something to the table. However, unlike the first movie, none of that is relevant to the story or the way they travel through the cubes.
Another glaring difference between this and the first Cube movie is that these cubes aren’t trapped. There is no obvious danger waiting for the group as they pass from cube to cube. Instead, we learn that the cubes are all somehow arranged in something called a tesseract. I didn’t know that this was a thing outside of the Avengers movies, but apparently a Tesseract is a cube that contains multiple cubes? I was pretty confused about what it actually was. Even after rewinding the explanation Jerry gives about what it is, I looked it up outside of the movie. Here is the most helpful youtube video I found about it:
It’s fairly long, but for idiots like me, it’s a simple way to understand the extremely complex subject of this movie.
That being said, I would have believed a movie about time traveling cubes more than multi-dimensional cubes. However, I am a firm believe in the multi-universe theory, so if we were to tap into the fourth dimension only to discover that there were multiple universes with subtle changes between their realities, that would be worth making a movie about.
This movie tried really hard to express what might happen if we were to tap into the fourth dimension, but because we have no semblance of how that might happen or what a fourth dimension would look like, they decided to cover their asses by making the whole thing some big simulation at the end.
Yes there were plot twists and some unexpected things that happened, but my biggest issue with this movie is the ending.
It’s clear that this was a sequel separate from the first movie. The only similarities are a nod to the old movie, not a continuation.
At the end, we see Kate rise out of a bath of what I initially thought was weird water that didn’t get you wet, but then found out was supposed to be Mercury. She suddenly goes into soldier mode as she tells him that she was able to complete her mission. He commends her on her ability to do so and collects a data chip she had been wearing the whole time. Some back and forth occurs, and she’s then shot and the scene ends.
I really hated this. I realize that the movie never used the word “simulation” but it’s suggested by Max, a graphic designer that worked for Alex, the mastermind behind the whole thing, that he designed a game. He admits to creating the time affected cubes only, but that program could have easily been manipulated to make people believe they were thrust into another dimension. The other thing I hate is that because this seems like a game, it negates everything the characters said or did throughout the rest of the film. Then, to make things worse, they mention something about “phase 2” at the end of the movie when they shoot Kate. It makes it seem like that’s the second person to be subjected to the cube. Having seen the first movie, it leads me to believe this is where Kazan ended up when he got out of the Cube in the first movie. If that is the case, was he told that he did well and survived a risky mission only to be shot as well? Because that’s fucked up.
In fact,there is an alternate ending that fleshes out a bit more about what Kate’s end goal was supposed to be. I don’t know why this was the alternate ending because I like it a lot better than what ended up in the movie, but hey, what do I know, right? It’s grainy and the volume is really low but it’s the only video I could find of it. Turning on closed captioning will help, but only a little bit.
Okay, I think I’m getting a little too wrapped up in the hysteria of this cult classic. Either way, this movie didn’t do what it wanted to accomplish and the viewer suffered through bad acting, ageism, and an idiot with an unjustifiable bloodlust. I mean really, WHY was he killing everyone?
If you see this movie, I recommend watching the first one too so you can revel in my frustrations with me.
Last Week’s Review: The Open House
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