My Top 5: Alternate Reality Movies

Master Zhuang, a Chinese philosopher, having dreamt he was a butterfly, declared the following upon waking : “Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”

Our perception of the world around us results from the analysis of sensory inputs, as well as the frames of reference developed by our cultural and historical heritage. This explains why two people could have such disparate interpretations of a similar event.

Furthermore, scientists are now playing with concepts that could radically alter our cognition of this universe. Imagine what would happen if we could transfer our conscious mind to a computer that would run simulations so faithful to reality that they would become indistinguishable. Or if we could enhance our bodies with technology in such a way that we would radically increase our intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. The possibilities seem endless; the only limitation is our imagination.

So, knowing all that, how far fetched are my following Top 5 movies about Alternate Realities?

5. Inception I love a good heist movie. Well hold on to your hats because Christopher Nolan serves up one of the most original capers I have ever seen. Some people find the open-ended ending a bit frustrating, but viewers that don’t like to have everything spelled out for them will be amply rewarded. You will definitely want to view this film more than once. Trust me.

4. The Matrix Would you take the blue pill or the red one? Would you prefer living in a luxurious simulation or in a squalid reality? Well, we’re all glad Neo took the red one because how boring would it have been if he had remained in the computer generated world. No crazy training sessions, no gun battle orgies, no Carrie-Anne Moss in tight leather outfits. Just saying.

3. Dark City  When this movie premiered, the studio brass probably got worried that it would tank, in part because of it’s convoluted storyline. So they unwisely decided to spoil it for everyone by giving away the whole plot in a voice-over narration in the first few minutes of the film. Wankers. Do yourself a favor and watch the director’s cut. It’s a major improvement over the theatrical release.

2. Videodrome Remember the This is your brains on drugs commercial from the ’80s? Well, this is how you’ll feel after you watch David Cronenberg’s classic public announcement about how too much TV will rot your brains. He must have been doing some hard drugs at that time because I hate to think that he came up with this stuff while being clean and sober. Truly mind bending.

1. Open your eyes This movie was remade in the U.S. for audiences that have a phobia about foreign movies with subtitles. I personally prefer the original Spanish version, but the Cameron Crow remake entitled Vanilla Sky is not bad either. Whatever your pick, just do yourself a big favor : go in blind because the twist ending is everything.

Honorable mentions : Alice in Wonderland (Disney), The Thirteenth Floor, Pleasantville, Run Lola Run

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