“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a must-watch flick for those who love the concept of the multiverse. Frankly speaking, the multiverse is slowly becoming a new genre for movies and shows. Since it is about countless realities, it opens innumerable ways to illustrate actions and their outcomes. And “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” takes a step further into this exploration by using the motif of connection. Here’s more on it.
Multiverse and More
Before going ahead, let us explore some of the details that the film has. These include the multiverse, the Alpha-verse, verse jump, and jumping pad. Most of us have come to be accustomed to the multiverse, right?
- For those who haven’t, the multiverse is the amalgamation of all the universes existing simultaneously. And every person has a different version of himself or herself in every universe.
- The Alpha-verse, in the film, is the first universe that made contact with the other universes.
- Verse jumping is the act of temporarily linking one’s consciousness to another version of himself or herself (in a different universe) and accessing all the emotions, memories, and skills in the process.
- A jumping pad is a particular improbable action that will transfer the consciousness of a person to a universe in which he or she concentrates to attain a certain skill of his or her choice. For example, if one wants to know how to fight, he or she will have to concentrate on the universe where he or she knows martial arts. Based on that, an algorithm will calculate an improbable action that the person will have to perform to transfer his or her consciousness.
Absurdism at Its Best
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” showcases absurdism in a way unlike anything in recent times. And to portray it using the concept of the multiverse is to have a big bright cherry on the cake. Be it fingers as hotdogs, humans as rocks, adult toys as weapons, or a black hole as a bagel, the film is an effortless show of absurdism. And the best part is that absurdism is a part of the story and not just a way of expression. The decision on the part of the creators to add absurdity to showcase the conflicts and emotions of the characters is commendable. There are moments where the viewer will think, “It’s absurd.” But the film, as if speaking to us, tells us that it’s not absurd; it’s life. The reason why the comical nature of the film doesn’t annoy us is that there are deep questions of existence that the film poses. At one moment, we are thrown into fistfights triggered by but-plugs, while at another, we are made to listen to a conversation between two rocks about existence itself. This random change is also something that supports Jobu Tupaki’s philosophy, which says that everything is just a “random rearrangement” and thus nothing matters.
Bad at Everything & Capable of Anything
There is a scene where Alpha Waymond tells Evelyn that she is capable of anything because she is bad at everything. Let us try to break down what he meant. In every other universe, including the Alpha-verse, Evelyn is successful. In the universe in which the film is set, Evelyn is uncertain about herself and unable to make decisions. This is what makes her “capable of anything” because all her potential is still untapped. And a part of it is her strained relationship with her daughter. This brings us to the next topic, i.e., the daughter, aka Joy.
Joy is an important character in the way that she is a part of the film’s villain. With Evelyn struggling to balance between her father and her daughter, it took a toll on Joy as well. Joy never got a mother but a guardian for whom everything was either right or wrong. There was no appreciation or even criticism. This added to the emotional distance between Joy and her mother. But while Evelyn has way too much on her plate, for Joy, everything revolves around her mother. This inability to be understood is also what Alpha Joy must have felt while she was experimented on by her mother, Alpha Evelyn. Perhaps this pain and desolation are what connected Jobu Tunaki to all the universes, and it took our Evelyn to express her love as well as criticism to Joy to let Jobu Tunaki surrender herself to the black bagel, and in that process, get her daughter back.
Jobu Tupaki is more of a tragic character, as well, in the film than a villain. She is Alpha Evelyn’s daughter, after all. After Evelyn pushed Joy’s mind beyond its threshold while experimenting with her multiverse travel, the experiments ended up giving Joy the ability to access any version of herself in any universe without any jumping pad. This, along with her feelings of desolation, rage, and pain, something that Joy of this universe also feels, turns her into Jobu Tupaki. Jobu Tupaki created a black bagel, more like a black hole, which is made up of basically everything in her mind, every thought or idea, only to destroy them all because, for her, nothing mattered.
Our Evelyn, too, carries the same feeling, i.e., no matter what she does, nothing will be of any consequence, or in other words, nothing matters. She and her life will always be the way they are, incomplete and unhappy. This is perhaps the reason why Jobu Tupaki comes for her; she knows that Evelyn, another version of her alpha-mother, feels the same and wants to show her that everything is just a “random rearrangement” without any consequence.
In the end, it is not Evelyn but Waymond who arrives as the savior amidst all the chaos. He is the one who reminds Evelyn, who was almost convinced by Jobu Tupaki that nothing matters, that even if nothing matters, love is the one thing that adds meaning to life. To believe that nothing matters will only take us away from our lives, distancing us from them. But love is what makes us realize that it doesn’t matter if the multiverse is random and no matter what we do changes nothing; one universe and one life is enough for us to cherish ourselves and those around us.
The thing about a film that makes use of absurdism is that it is open to interpretations. There is a scene in the film where Jobu Tupaki tells Evelyn, “Right is a tiny box invented by people who are afraid.” “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a film that is not trapped in that “tiny box,” thanks to the creators who weren’t afraid to go beyond one universe to show us that some things always matter and that too in every universe.