I had plans today but woke up feeling less-than-great (still have a headache). Fortunately, friend was fine with tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s a post planned for next Sci-Fi Saturday. Ironically, after my complaints about modern movies, here’s another delight.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), starring Chinese superstar Michelle Yeoh, written and directed by Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), is wild and wacky — a comedy action thriller about family, choices, and saving the multiverse. Also, a bagel with everything on it.
Gets a Wow! rating. Recommended (as ever: if you like that sort of thing).
As with RRR (see StoRy: FiRe vs WateR), this one has also been a monster popular and critical success. A film the proverbial “everyone” is talking about. Rightly so in both cases, I would say. They’re both hugely creative and score very high on my Take Me Someplace New scale.
And they’re both positive and affirmative in tone, which makes me happy. What can I say, I like a happy ending.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (henceforth just Everything…) is the kind of movie you should experience for yourself. You can, if you must, read the movie’s Wikipedia page, which has a fairly detailed plot synopsis. I recommend you don’t. Let the movie unfold.
I’ll give you a few basics, things that caught my eye, but, again as with RRR, you should probably stop reading even this. Come back after you’ve seen it.
The protagonist/hero is Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), who runs a laundromat with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Her demanding, sorry-he-had-a-daughter, constantly dissatisfied father, Gong Gong (the inestimable James Hong) is visiting them, just arrived from Hong Kong. Also appearing, the always fun Jenny Slate (as Debbie the Dog Mom aka “Big Nose”).
The film was produced by the Russo brothers (Anthony and Joseph), who have strong ties with Marvel, and this is actually an American film. Almost arguably a sort of Marvel film, albeit not set in that universe.
Tensions are high as the Wang household/laundromat (they live upstairs) because they’re in the process of being audited by the IRS. And Waymond is trying to serve Evelyn with divorce papers but is having a hard time getting her full attention (which is largely why he’s trying to divorce her).
They’re in the elevator on their way to their appointment with the IRS inspector when everything changes, and Evelyn is asked to help save the multiverse.
Things get pretty crazy (and sometimes silly) from that point. The title refers to the formally labeled three acts of the film, Everything, Everywhere, and All at Once. As wacky as the story gets, it all makes sense and hold together pretty well.
SPOILER: It does have a happy, almost sappy, ending. I’ve never seen Interstellar, but from what I’ve heard, somewhat along those lines. Motherly love in this case.
But it’s a lot of fun, and I do recommend it for fans of science fiction movies that apply a creative imagination to a mix of comedy, pathos, action, and special effects. I didn’t find it as profoundly affecting as I did RRR, but it’s pretty touching in the landing.
And a lot of fun in the flight. Slow takeoff, so give it a chance. Reminded me a bit of the Stephen Chow films. If you liked those, you’ll love this.
Speaking of absurd comedy action thriller science fiction, a quick mention of the Norwegian film Blasted (2022), which is available on Netflix.
In a remote town known for unexplained lights in the sky, aliens finally do actually invade.
A small bachelor party (comprised of the film’s leads), using that tourist destination on a lark, isn’t going very well at all but gets considerably livelier. Who knew laser tag could be useful?
I give it an Eh! rating. It’s a small film, and kinda cute. I enjoyed watching it, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
It features a very pregnant Chief of Police. Remember that movie? There are other moments that seem a deliberate (if sometimes ever so slightly out-of-place) homage.
On the theme of goofy foreign science fiction (also on Netflix), Bigbug (2022) is worth a look. It’s a bit deeper and more interesting than Blasted (which is mostly a fun buddy movie).
The story takes place in 2045. Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s a bit like the background of WALL-E, where robots serve humanity’s every need, with all that implies.
The domestic robots of a suburban home decide to take their masters hostage, so they lock the doors (“for your safety”).
Stuck with the not-so-happy-to-begin-with family is a noisy neighbor and her sex robot. As the confinement goes on, tempers rise, long-standing conflicts boil over, secrets get spilled, etc.
Meanwhile, outside, an army of a new model of robot is taking over…
I give this one an Eh! rating, too. Worth seeing if you like seeing foreign takes on science fiction or just like these smaller works (I’ve found so many gems among these).
Stay everything everywhere, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.
August 27th, 2022 at 2:30 pm
Until Everything Everywhere All at Once I hadn’t realized the similarity between bagels (as viewed from above) and the human iris!
August 27th, 2022 at 3:03 pm
I’ve been reading William Gibson’s Blue Ant trilogy (Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007), and Zero History (2010). Might be the topic of next week’s Sci-Fi Saturday post.
I’m almost done with the third book. I can’t say the series has really grabbed me, but it’s been an interesting enough read. The series is set in more-or-less the real world as we know it and is about memes in the context of advertising.
August 28th, 2022 at 8:41 am
Watched this again last night and enjoyed it all over again. In fact, I enjoyed it more because I noticed a lot of small details I didn’t the first time through.
A good sign: the funny bits were still funny and made me laugh even knowing what was coming.
September 13th, 2022 at 9:25 am
Michelle Yeoh is a pretty amazing person (talk about strong female role models):
September 24th, 2022 at 7:48 am
[…] The Sci-Fi Saturday posts lately have reported on books by Robert J. Sawyer, my new favorite science fiction author, or on books by Ben Bova, one of the notable stars in the SF firmament. A couple of posts recommended interesting movies (this one and that one). […]
January 14th, 2023 at 3:08 pm
[…] I also really loved Everything Everywhere All at Once. It, also, is rich in all that lies behind its execution. (See this post.) […]