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General Information:
Year Released: 1999
Country: Canada/UK
Director: David Cronenberg

The Promise of Science: Computers

eXistenZ introduces an entirely new type of computer system: organic. The video game consoles in this film are engineered from mutant amphibian DNA. Although they perform all of the duties typically associated with a game console (providing the user with an immersive virtual reality gaming environment, interacting along a pre-defined storyline, etc.), they are susceptible to disease, just like any other living creature.

The virtual reality gaming environments are the most important aspect of this film. Varying levels of confusion are introduced by the many immersable worlds in which the movie's characters exist, and the prudence of using the video game consoles is addressed. It becomes increasingly difficult to tell what is reality and what is virtual reality, and the boundaries between the two disintegrate for both character and film viewer as the film progresses. These side-effects are similar to the effects of time travel found in La Jetee and Twelve Monkeys, and this film is one of the only computer movies to be concerned with the human side-effects of using machines.

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. erika . .
. last modified: Feb 23, 2000 .