Multiverse movies are like buses; you wait ages for one to come along, then two arrive (almost) at the same time. Case in point is this week’s new movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once – a brand new multiverse film, which follows hot on the heels of last week’s Marvel movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Well, I say “hot on the heels”, as Everything Everywhere All at Once has only just arrived in the UK. But for those who live on the other side of the pond (i.e in the US), the film was released ahead of Doctor Strange’s debut.
Either way, however the films fall in your respective country, both are multiverse movies, and both are hitting cinema screens within a similar time frame. For us Brits, in the case of Everything Everywhere All at Once, that timeframe is today.
If you wish to watch the movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once is playing in UK cinemas right now. The film is a sci-fi comedy-drama, about a Chinese-American woman who finds herself caught up in a fight to stop the destruction of the multiverse.
In the movie, Evelyn Wang is the co-owner of a laundromat, which she runs with her husband. However, on the cusp of divorce, and in the midst of an uneasy time with her daughter, she is called in to the Inland Revenue Service to discuss her tax returns.
Upon arrival at the IRS office, she is approached by a version of her husband from an alternate universe. He has sent his consciousness into the body of Evelyn’s real husband in order to make contact with Evelyn and warn her of grave danger ahead.
Soon Evelyn finds herself recruited into a war against a godlike being called Jobu Tupaki – a twisted, alternate universe version of her own daughter. Jobu Tupaki has plans to destroy the multiverse, and it looks like Evelyn is the only one who can stop her.
Drawing skills from various versions of herself from across the multiverse, Evelyn fights back against her newfound enemy in a bid for survival. But will she be able to defeat her own daughter or could all of reality be about to face its darkest hour?
Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as ‘Daniels’), Everything Everywhere All at Once stars Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Harry Shum Jr., and James Hong. The film is best described as a melting pot of ideas, which throws everything at the screen, including almost every genre, idea, thought process, and sex toy the directors could lay their hands on.
You want to watch a mind-melding movie which crosses time, space, and all of reality? Then you can have that in this film.
Fancy seeing a motion picture which includes ball gags, googly eyes, and kung-fu? Well, you can have that too.
With Everything Everywhere All at Once, as the title suggests, you get a great deal of everything, all squeezed into the space of two-hours-and-twenty-minutes. In fact, if this movie gets nominated for an Oscar next year, there’s a good chance it could be nominated in almost any category.
In terms of pound-for-pound value, when you buy a ticket for this movie you are guaranteed a grab bag of delights. This is a pic-and-mix picture which is sure to bring something to the table that most people can find some enjoyment in.
Will everyone love what’s on offer? I really can’t say, but I’m pretty sure plenty will find lots to laugh at, and will have much to talk about post-screening.
The reason I’m unsure if everyone will love this movie is because it is really, really, weird. Weird in a crazy, inventive, surprising, and boundary-pushing way, but weird nonetheless.
I like weird, and I also like films that take audiences to new places, and yet I’m not entirely sure I was sold on every aspect of the movie. There’s every chance I’ll need to watch it again, to let it settle in my brain, and this may be how you will feel too.
What I do know is that I liked it, even if I didn’t fall completely in love with it. In terms of its sheer creativity, I admire what it offers and at times I think it is something truly outstanding.
It is a film which serves up big spectacle, vast storytelling, and incredible scope, and yet, strip all that back and at the heart of the movie is a story about family, conflict, and connection. This is a layered picture, with a complex narrative, that will take some unpicking and much contemplation.
What I like about Everything Everywhere All at Once is that it pulls no punches, makes no excuses, and leaves no dildo unturned to bring its tale to the screen. And it is a tale that effortlessly moves from melodrama to comedy, to romance and science-fiction, to martial arts, and then back again, without ever leaving time for anyone to catch their breath.
And I use the word “effortlessly” in jest, because I don’t believe for one second the directing duo behind this picture did any of this without putting in a tremendous amount of hard work. The same goes for the cast, who must have been run ragged by the end of the shoot – especially Michelle Yeoh, who is simply fantastic in the role of Evelyn.
In this film Yeoh gets to play variations of her character, some glitzy and glamourous, others truly bonkers and hilarious. Every step of the way she looks as if she is having a ball, even if she must have been exhausted during filming, and her performance is a knock-out.
The same can be said for Jamie Lee Curtis, who gets a supporting role as IRS inspector, Deirdre Beaubeirdra. Throughout the entire film, Curtis dresses like a dowdy office worker, who is often put into some unflattering situations, and yet she dives head first into her part, truly making it her own along the way.
Both Yeoh and Curtis are backed up by a fine ensemble cast which includes Ke Huy Quan as Evelyn’s husband, who film fans will recognise from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and The Goonies (1985). Having quit the acting profession many years ago, Quan has returned to acting for this film and he slips back in without any problems.
And hey, if a film can coax someone back to acting, after they previously became disinterested in it, it’s got to be something worthwhile, right? Yep.
As noted above, I don’t expect Everything Everywhere All at Once to appeal to everyone, and the somewhat tepid response to my (very busy) screening this morning, suggests that not all audiences will fall for its charms, but I am sure many people will like it a lot.
The movie opens up the concept of the multiverse to all new places, with a story that differs greatly from what is being served up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and this means we are currently getting two interesting films which look at the same concept from different viewpoints. The multiverse is an exciting playground of endless possibilities, and Everything Everywhere All at Once demonstrates this through huge swathes of chaos, anarchy, innovation and flair.
And again, at the heart of all this is a story which works on an emotional, human level. As much as this film is a keen to show off what it can do with special effects and its never-ending supply of ideas, Everything Everywhere All at Once never loses sight of what it wants to achieve with its characters and their journey.
Expect to read and/or hear much praise for this film, and I guarantee there will be some criticism and disappointment too, but no matter how you weigh it up, Everything Everywhere All at Once certainly delivers what it’s selling, and then some. You may not be sure how you feel about it by the time the credits roll, but you will certainly have gotten your money’s worth.
More multiverse stories will follow from other filmmakers, of this I am in no doubt. Those filmmakers will have their eyes firmly set on this picture, to see where they can go next, but they will certainly need to raise the bar if they want to compete with this innovative feature.