Existenz (1999) artwork

Existenz (1999)

1st January 2000

Allegra Geller has created a new type of game....One that plugs directly into the user via a hole in the spinal column and gives the experience of actually being there.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar, Callum Keith Rennie, Christopher Eccleston, Sarah Polley, Robert A. Silverman
Science Fiction
1 Hour 33 Minutes
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Unfortunately for Allegra Geller, there is a group of people that don't want her to release the new technology into the populous, these anti-VR terrorists gatecrash the launch party of the so called 'eXistenZ' game forcing Geller to go on the run. Her only protection is a nerdy PR man called Ted Pikul and when it becomes apparent that the pair cannot escape in the real world, they instead attempt to escape into the game.

If you're thinking you've seen this all before, you're right its the standard VR fare a'la Lawnmower Man et al, and its frankly not very good. The characters seem a bit wooden with Law being nothing close to his performance in Gattaca and Leigh just plain out of place. Certainly though its not like your standard Cronenberg affair, okay it has weirdness but not in the usual abundance you may be used to from him. Its definitely no Naked Lunch but the gun that fires teeth would make any dentist cringe.

Picture quality is average with a middling to low bit rate and a little bit in the way of outlining but no artifacting.

Sound is equally disappointing with only average to poor use of the surround channels and less than clear dialogue. I have said before that a film that has crystal clear dialogue is just as important as great use of surround and for both to be poor is a cardinal sin.

Extras are however a saving grace, with the three commentaries being particularly good, I was looking forward to the Cronenberg one and wasn't disappointed.

This is an average film which does nothing new for the VR genre and is nowhere near as good as Lawnmower Man which wasn't particularly impressive in itself. I wouldn't buy it.

  • 53 Minute SFX documentary "The Invisible Art of Carol Spier"
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sega Dreamcast Interactive Menu
  • Directors Commentary by David Cronenberg
  • Director of Photography's Commentary
  • Visual and SFX Supervisors Commentary
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