Cube (1997)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Well, I’m torn.

When going through a list of franchises that I eventually want to review, Cube came to mind, and it is a series I have previously seen. I always thought the series was too intriguing to ignore, even if I am confused throughout the film. Some may call it horror, but I would rather call it a sci-fi mystery thriller, emphasis on the mystery and thriller aspect. As far as smart writing goes, this series is surprisingly up there, but it obviously has its problems as well. So let’s break it down.

Cube is about, well…a cube. A huge cube with the dimensions of 14cubic feetper room in a giant cube holding over 17,500 rooms total. Each wall, including the floor and ceiling, has a door entering the next room. Seven people originate in one room and their task is to go room to room until they get to the end, a maze if you will. Now, a straight line from end to end is 26 rooms, which wouldn’t be so bad, except for the booby traps. Almost seemingly by chance, some of the rooms are set up with deadly traps, and the “participants” are forced to avoid them and go a different way. In order to escape and survive, they have to figure out the correct mathematical equation that offers that answer…and you thought a Rubik’s cube was difficult.

Man, this is a really difficult movie to rank, because I love a lot of what the movie has to offer, but then you are left with the overwhelming feeling that this feels like a movie played on the Syfy Channel that is mostly ignored. Why? I hate to say it, but the acting is mediocre, ranging on terrible. I like the characters because of their diversity and overall role, but none of them could really act worth squat. I never believed they were terrified that they would die in this cube. The crying was overdone, as was most of the emotionally necessary scenes. In the scheme of things, the acting was mostly the worst part of the film, and that unfortunately dragged it down a lot.

The only other thing I would complain about is the complexities of the film. I get it, math, I liked math but I never took that advanced of math classes, so I just didn’t understand what in the world anyone was talking about. Beyond that, the explanation of what the cube was and why it was wasn’t clear enough and just…didn’t make a lot of sense. Instead, you’re left with the feeling that it was just a half-hearted explanation put in there because it needed something so it could progress the action and mystery further. These two things really dragged it down, but it was mostly the acting, honestly.

The rest of it is great, I mean it. Even phenomenal. Those of you that are serious math nerds might even understand the film further and love it, I don’t know. The thing is, the movie at least sounds incredibly smart and thought out. Even if it was complete BS, they at least took the time to think of every scenario, every trick, and every theory meticulously. That kind of dedication to the writing is obvious for Cube, and that should get some recognition here. Beyond that, the characters were smartly chosen for this film. Also, the premise of the film is completely original, unique, basic, and complex all rolled into one.

As far as I could tell, the amount of rooms in this super cube are the same amount of reasons to like this film; reasons to…watch it. If you’re watching it just to have some fun, you’ll be satisfied. If you’re watching it just to see the creative ideas for the traps, you’ll be satisfied. If you’re watching to learn a little something about math that you didn’t already know, you’ll be satisfied. The list goes on and on, and I really can’t say that for a lot of films. Like I said, it’s a weird movie, but good weird.

The Good:

Cube isn’t a film that you can explain in a single sentence. There’s also no good way to give this film justice without actually sitting down and watching the entire thing. In a way it’s a masterpiece, and in another it’s just weird. You can accurately define this film as a number of words, but in the end it’s just a really fun ride.

The Bad:

I have to say it, the acting was mediocre at best. If this film had great acting, I guarantee it would have had a very good chance of getting a recommendation of buy from me. However, I know how people operate, and some people wouldn’t even give this film the light of day if they saw the acting here. That’s why I try to push the fact that the premise, characters, and writing are absolutely amazing.

Memorable Quote:

Leaven: This room moves to 0, 1, and -1 on the X-axis, 2, 5, and -7 on the Y and 1, -1, and 0 on zed.

Quentin: And what does that mean?

Leaven: You suck at math.

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