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New Escapist Column! On “Devs”, “Westworld” and Determinism…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Devs recently wrapped up, and Westworld is hurdling towards its season finale, so it seemed an appropriate time to reflect on both of those.

There’s an interesting synchronicity between the third season of Westworld and Devs. Both are stories about tech companies trying to build deterministic models of the world. Although both series approach this basic framework in very different ways, they seem to tap into the same core anxieties. Westworld and Devs are stories about free will and choice in the face of inhuman systems that argues the world could only ever be as it is. There’s something fascinating in seeing these themes boiling to the surface so close together.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: The Matrix Revolutions

Today I’m taking a look at the Matrix trilogy. All three films, all watched and reviewed in one day. Join us for the fun! All three reviews will be going on-line today.

I remarked in my earlier review of The Matrix Reloaded that I feel I’m in the minority in regarding the final part of the trilogy as a much stronger film than the second film in the cycle. I mean, if you look at the Rotten Tomatoes score, the second film is almost regarded as highly as the first (higher among top critics), while the third is very clearly “rotten.” On the IMDb, the second film scores higher among audiences than the third. However, while neither sequel comes close to matching the impact of the original, I do have a fondness for the third over the second. Perhaps my preference derives from the same reason many find it weaker – the fact that the only way to enjoy it is to really disengage from the underlying philosophical questions posed by the second film.

Whoa...

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Non-Review Review: The Matrix Reloaded

Today I’m taking a look at the Matrix trilogy. All three films, all watched and reviewed in one day. Join us for the fun! All three reviews will be going on-line today.

No, what happened happened and couldn’t have happened any other way.

How do you know?

We are still alive.

– Morpheus and Neo have one of the least obtuse conversations in the film

The reaction to the second and third films in The Matrix series has always somewhat surprised me. I don’t mean that I can’t see the criticism typically levelled at the films – I can see it and I agree with most of it. I mean that most viewers regard the second film as stronger than the third, while I always considered it the other way around. Rewatching all three films in one day just cemented that opinion – but I’m still curious about why cinema fans tend to favour the middle instalment over the last. Neither is as efficient or effective as the first film, but while I appreciate the sense of closure (and action) of the third film, I find myself regarding a significant portion of the second film as just idle padding – the franchise positioning itself for a final film, which would then go on to ignore a lot of what was suggested here.

Blade of glory?

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Non-Review Review: Minority Report

I don’t love Minority Report. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well-made film – perfectly entertaining and cleverly directed by a director who is one of the best living today – but it just doesn’t feel consistent for me. The whole doesn’t necessarily add up to the sum of its parts, as it were.

They should probably screen their officers better...

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