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What the Bleep Do We Know!? /

Not Rated

Starring: Marlee Matlin, Barry Newman, Elaine Hendrix, Armin Shimerman, Robert Bailey Jr.

Directed by: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Mark Vicente

Produced by: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse
Written by:
William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Matthew Hoffman
Lord of the Wind Films


Marlee Matlin in Lord of the Wind Films' What the Bleep Do We Know?

Elaine Hendrix in Lord of the Wind Films' What the Bleep Do We Know?
Marlee Matlin in Lord of the Wind Films' What the Bleep Do We Know?

     Science is probably my least favorite subject in school, mostly because of the ho-hum teaching methods which directly correlate with it. The worst part of sitting through a two-hour-long class of it is, by far, the videos. In them, professors jabber on about topics that hardly any student can relate to, if they manage to understand them. It isn’t that I do not care about the way in which humans, objects, and elements were created, but that the way in which such is presented is incomprehensible. Nevertheless, I walked into What the Bleep Do We Know!? with an open-mind, because of all the good word of mouth I had heard, regarding it. I was in disbelief that I was actually spending money, and dedicating my time, to what I thought would be a lecture-packed piece. Worst of all is that I was watching it during the summer. But, ironically, I ended up liking it quite a lot.

     What the Bleep Do We Know!? is much more reasonable with its viewers than most other films that explain scientific phenomena. Those featured in it recognize that religion and science go hand in hand, themselves, and that the human race isn’t really all-knowing (notice the title). In class, I usually find myself viewing a documentary that is concise and mathematical in its principals. The quantum physicists in What the Bleep Do We Know!? acknowledge the fact that the ideas that they discuss are purely their beliefs, and that even their broad understanding of the world is limited, in the scheme of things. As a result, they appear to be wiser than they would, had they just boringly supplied textbook definitions of the elements of their field. Because of this, we are able to more passionately immerse ourselves in the theories and scientific laws that they speak of, as an audience. The experience this picture has to offer is not only educative, but rather life-changing. 

     The three directors, William Arntz, Betty Chasse, and Mark Vicente, embrace an entirely new style, in the world of film. What the Bleep Do We Know!? is part-fiction, part-documentary, and part-animation, spinning itself into a sum that flows amazingly well. In the acted third of it, we are introduced to Amanda (Marlee Matlin), a deaf woman who shares her home with a bubbly roommate named Jennifer (Elaine Hendrix). A photographer, Amanda captures several pictures, in a variety of locations, such as a park and a wedding-chapel. Interspersed in the story are clips of scientists, who all have amazing degrees from top schools, discussing many of the things happening to the main character, and the forces in her world. They cover everything from movement in space to one’s perception of their inner-self to sex to the existence of a God. These concepts they mention are elaborated on in bits of narration while 3D animation plays, depicting things like messages in the brain, the cells of the body, and even vortexes in the universe. Think of this movie as a realistic, natural, intelligent, and non-violent version of The Matrix.

     There is visual splendor in What the Bleep Do We Know!?, which surprised me, greatly, considering its independent distribution status. A dance scene at the wedding, in which everyone’s reactor cells are personified and animated, is particularly striking, and rather comical, as well. The only complaint I have in this department is the bright lighting of the film. This technique was clearly intentional, communicating the sense of enlightenment the material should give off. However, the effect becomes annoying and displeasing to the eyes, instead of simply seeming clever, in its overuse.

     Maybe the world around me is simply an image; for all I know, nothing really exists. This film could just be another mix-up between my eyes and my brain. What the Bleep Do We Know!? doesn’t suggest we give into this idea, but that we simply think about it. All the scientists in it request of us is to be open to new things, and to not restrict ourselves to solely experiencing regularity. If we simply do this, all knowledge we gain will be superficial. The changes we make in our lives do not have to be big; they could be as simple as reading a book by an author that we’ve never heard of before. In the very last clip of video in What the Bleep Do We Know!?, one of the scientists leaves us with the amusing line of “Now ponder that for awhile,” after throwing mounds of ideas at viewers, throughout its duration. As funny as that piece of scripture may be, I’ve chosen to take his advice. There is true intelligence to be found in the movie, and one would have to be a fool to ignore the insightfulness of the experience.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (7.11.2004)

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