Cube²: Hypercube (2002)

Cube 2 tries to build on the lessons from Cube. It is another people-driven story chronicling their struggle against the machine that is the cube space that they are trapped in. Unlike the previous cube where the numbers along the doors connecting all of the cubes related to their place in space and could be predicted once you factored prime numbers, this series of cubes exists in more than three dimensions.

In the first movie, we were left to believe that the cube was created by a government agency that was running without leadership. The series of contractors simply did their little part, and no one actually knew what the end result was going to be. The consequence was everyone winding up in the cube because, well, experiments have to happen, or the dollars were wasted.

In this cube, we again find ourselves with the conformist, the social outcast, the man who is on the brink of insanity on a good day, and other assorted human fears and prejudices. The cube cells are white and brightly lit - very different from the moody, dark rooms with colors that distorted your view while in the room. Also, these rooms do not exactly have traps - instead, they have different ways of altering reality; some have backward gravity, some slow time, some speed it up, etc.

The interactions between everyone is exaggerated pretty significantly. Everyone has to go insane or make bad decisions of their own will, so the movie tries to accelerate things. Sometimes, it's just too fast to be believable, but in a few cases it seems really drawn out, and their reactions just aren't all that significant.

We slowly learn that everyone has some relation to a fictional company that is likely responsible for the whole thing, and each of them did their part to help create the cube, even though they had no idea what role they actually played in it. The scramble to find an exit doesn't have the drama that the previous movie had, as there are not traps to worry about, no one complains about being hungry, thirsty, tired, or anything that normal people would complain about. They also showed up in civilian clothes unlike the first one, and that takes away a certain amount of the clinical testing feel that the first one had.

The acting is stiff by most of the people. I particularly hate it when actors try to play highly technical people. They always go for the cliche, and it's never right. They play it up so campy that it is a character you just can't sympathize with at all. Or they will go the other way and play them like they are the bad-ass uber-hacker who can do all and is an expert at everything. They are consequently so narcissistic and dismissive that you still find them hard to sympathize with. Well this movie has both kinds.

The special effects are another sore spot. I know it's unrealistic to think that we will be able to see something representing four dimentions well when we can only generate things in three dimensions, and they ultimately are on a screen in two dimensions, but it was almost as if they didn't even try. the quality of computer graphics reminds me of Lawnmower Man in the way it shows us the infancy of graphics used for the big screen.

Storyline was recycled, and not well.
Special effects were not good.
Dialogue was canned.
Situations were unpredictable, but they didn't have the emotional impact of the first one.
Direction was not great.
Acting was pretty bad.



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