Cubic Analysis

Classically, I like to start off with what this blog post isn’t:

  1. This isn’t an analysis of Timecube.
  2. This isn’t an analysis of cubic functions, or any sort of polynomial function for that matter (sadly).
  3. This isn’t a lifestyle post.

What we are talking about today is the one-of-a-kind thriller (horror?) trilogy Cube. Let that be a warning that spoilers will most likely be ahead.

The first of the movies was Cube. It was simple, it was low budget, and it had a small math puzzle. The main plot of Cube (and the following movies) is that a few people are trapped in a cube room, that is attached to more cube rooms, which in whole make up a giant cube.

They are not only trapped though, they don’t know how they got there, they don’t know how to get out, and to put the icing on the cake, some of the rooms have death traps in them. The plot is driven solely by the need to escape the cube.

The start of the movie consists of random characters that come from different backgrounds in an unexplained and mysterious environment. The end of the movie consists of random characters that come from different backgrounds in an unexplained and mysterious environment.

That’s right, other than a snippet from one of the characters, the movie leaves out a ton of details such as:
1. Who built the cube?
2. What is the cube’s purpose?
3. Why did they choose these people to be in the cube?

And that’s why the movie is good in its own unique way. It lets the viewer come up with their own canon. Watching it, the viewer can answer those question with whatever seems to be the most reasonable answer. This means that establishing that there is no lore was more effective for Cube rather than trying to come up with some lore that could be considered unreasonable or faulty.

This was lost on the next installment, Cube 2: Hypercube.

As the name implies Cube 2: Hypercube takes place inside of a cube that has an added dimension. They added more than that extra dimension though, they also added an separate reason for each person to be there. And they also added a corporation that backed the building of the cube. So now we have two questions of the three answered.

Then at the very end they give a half-baked reason for what that cube’s specific purpose was, thus kind of answering the third question.

They simultaneously answered all of the questions without giving any solid lore.

Then the third movie came out, which being a prequel, is aptly named Cube Zero.

I have almost no words for Cube Zero. It’s like they were aiming for adding as much lore as possible without actually having any effect on what that lore implies. It showed people operating the cube. It showed higher-ups to those operators. It pictured a dystopian government using the cube. It gave a reason for the people to be in the cube.

And yet…

Nothing felt established. The reason people were put in the cube was also disproved in the movie itself. There were weird religious overtones at times. The operators don’t know why they are there. The higher-ups talk about people even higher up. The dystopian government was never fully pictured.

Yet it relied on the lore to drive the plot, rather than Cube’s plot being driven solely by a need to escape.

It’s a strange concept to have a movie that strips almost the entirety of its setting and still maintains a driving plot, and I firmly believed that Cube achieved that.

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