What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole

What the BleepSynopsis: One Movie. Infinite Possibilities.

Proving once and for all that life can be an amazing journey?and a real trip?this all-new Quantum Edition release of What The Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole utilizes cutting-edge DVD technology to create a unique version of the film with every viewing! The possibilities are endless…and so is the fun!

Academy Award® winner Marlee Matlin is Amanda, a photographer suddenly transported into a metaphysical world of quantum mechanics, odd science and mind-bending phenomena. Guided by the world’s top physicists, engineers, biologists and mystics, she tumbles down the rabbit hole and gets a first-hand look at the fascinating links between science and spirituality in our everyday lives.

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What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole 7.0

eyelights: the fascinating scientific and existential concepts it proposes.
eyesores: the new age-y-ness of many of the interview subjects. the leaps in logic. the minimal support for many of the arguments. the fictional storyline.

“We are all connected”

I honestly don’t know what to think of ‘What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole’. I picked it up after having seen it on the shelf a gazillion times. I was pulled to it by its ambiguous description on the back and the fact that this had a “Quantum” viewing mode, which allowed for a random experience each time.

It seemed like the best possible way to explore this film, whatever it was.

For his a birthday, a friend of mine wanted to watch a film that would be great discussion fodder. He had a terrible time coming up with ideas, so I brought this to the table. When nearly half of our group had seen the film and recommended it, saying they’d easily watch it again, we were set; we had our selection.

It started off with promise. In a just a few minutes, and with the aid of enjoyable black and white animation that recalled Terry Gilliam’s work with Monty Python, ‘What the Bleep!?’ proceeded to give us a quick overview of religion and science throughout history. We all chuckled and enjoyed where this was headed.

Then the picture moved into its most challenging part, delving into quantum mechanics, perception, our senses, energy and what they called the “unified field”. The participants’ discussions could be a bit sketchy, making it hard for novices to keep up; unless one already has a basic understanding of these concepts, it might seem abstract.

This was especially true in the latter part of ‘What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole’ which then delves into what some people call pseudo-science. By that point some of the participants started making claims that human thought affects reality. It gets a  little nutty then, and we just sat there, mostly incredulous, waiting for the film to wrap up.

But it wouldn’t!!! Although the DVD box claimed that this was the theatrical version, which is 109 minutes long, this was 50 minutes longer!!! It was brutal: it just wouldn’t end. It turns out that the film had been released theatrically two years prior in a substantially different version called ‘What the Bleep Do We Know!?’. And this wasn’t it.

In fact, the friends who had seen the original version we’re appalled by the length and content of this one, making it sound like ‘What the Bleep Do We Know!?’ was sensible in comparison to this one. Even though they had enjoyed seeing the first movie, this version left them stunned and pretty sceptical of the claims that it made.

Trust me, they weren’t alone.

Part of the problems lies in the fact that the participants aren’t introduced until the very end. For all we knew these were some schmucks that the filmmakers picked up off the street, family members or their demented neighbours. What was their expertise? We had no idea, and this lent them very little credibility when they went “down the rabbit hole”.

In fact, some of them went so deep into the metaphysical psycho-babble, that we couldn’t stop making derisive comments – especially when this blonde, puffy-looking woman who reminded some of us of William Shatner in drag showed up, about mid-way through the film. Little did we know that she was intimately connected to the picture.

Her name is J.Z. Knight (no, that’s not her original name) and she’s the founder of Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment. She claims that, in 1977, an entity named Ramtha started channeling through her. She passes on Ramtha’s so-called teachings to her many students. Coincidentally, the film’s three co-directors are student of Knight’s school.

Well, so much for that, then. Even if ‘What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole’ holds the answers to many existential questions, it’s probably littered with cultish misinformation that I’d rather not seed my brain with. For that reason alone, and because I can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t, I have to treat the whole as a work of fiction.

Speaking of which, the film mixes in a storyline featuring Marlee Matlin as a photographer who becomes aware of her ability to affect reality. It’s well-produced, like high-end video, but the acting is atrocious – especially Elaine Hendrix, who overacts like she’s doing a kids’ play. And the story doesn’t really hold together – you couldn’t watch it separately.

If anything, it’s used to connect viewers with what is being discussed by the documentary’s participants, in that it serves as examples, or visual aids. It would be a useful tool if it was at least somewhat convincing. But it’s too poorly scripted and performed to support the ideas being proposed – rendering it superfluous, really.

The only concept that I truly found interesting was that of entanglement, in that it suggests that two items can be separate yet remain connected as one, reacting to the other’s experiences as though it were experiencing it. This reminded me of the Philotic Theory in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series, something I had really dug.

But, beyond that, there’s not much that I took out of the film itself. It was entertaining, if tediously long, but what was the most fun was watching it with my closest friends, taking the piss out of it together and then discussing and debating its content afterwards. For that alone, it was worth the experience. But I suspect that I won’t be watching it again.

…or exploring the wealth of material (15 hours’ worth) on the Quantum edition of the DVD. It’s a real shame that its sources and information are so questionable. This could have been an awesome experience.

Date of viewing: April 12, 2014

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