Review: How the mind-bending Everything Everywhere All at Once forged itself as a future classic
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
Every once in a while, a person comes across a film that is so impactful and monumental that it feels like being part of an experience that will be talked about and revered for the next decades to come. For me, it was Everything Everywhere All at Once directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert or known as the Daniels.
The film revolves around a Chinese American immigrant mother, played by Michelle Yeoh, who is dragged to a crazy adventure where she had to explore other universes as this is the only way to save her family and the world. Other legendary actors starring in this film are Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis and James Hong. And even if Stephanie Hsu has less experience than most of her co-stars, she definitely stole the film’s spotlight.
In a time when so much of what we see on the big or small screens are just reiterations or remakes of past stories that have been told before; where nostalgia has become one of the biggest selling points of films and TV shows, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a rare find.
As with any film with a multiverse concept, one of the many challenges that filmmakers may face is how to craft the different settings or worlds that will be included in the film. Not only that, but they must also think about how all those worlds will tie into one another no matter how different they may be.
The Daniels had a measly budget of $25 million USD. It may seem a lot but when compared to another recent multiverse movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which had a whopping $200 million USD budget, it’s not much. But the Daniels spun gold from straw. With their love of practical effects and everything being so organic, they used puppets, wires, LED screens, simple green screens, jump cuts and various more to greatly enhance the experience of the multiverse concept. Mind-blowing is an understatement to say how amazing it translated into the screen. In almost every scene of this film, I can only ask myself, “How did they do that shot?” And that is because one can see that the scene uses practical effects and it’s so ingenious how they do it.
Does anyone else still remember the perfectly chaotic “Turn Down for What” music video by DJ Snake and Lil Jon? The directors of that music video also did this film. So, one may expect all that insanity in this film.
It becomes even more admirable when it was later revealed by the Daniels that their visual effects crew consisted of filmmakers and directors who had to learn the art of visual effects because of necessity. In an interview with IndieWire, first-time effects supervisor, Zak Stoltz said that, We all learned how to do visual effects on our own in our bedrooms because we needed to.” He added, “Ultimately five people ended up doing over 80% of the visual effects shots.”
But what makes Everything Everywhere All at Once, especially in the realms of films with the multiverse concept, is how much heart and soul this film has.
No matter how many genres this film transcends such as sci-fi, romance, comedy and drama, at its core, it’s a story of a family struggling to be together. It’s a gripping study of how difficult it can be to navigate the relationships we forge with people, especially with family, when we have so much to figure out in the different parts of ourselves.
This film took me to an emotional marathon with the way it interweaved the crazy ups and downs of the central family in the different universes. No matter how much I tell you about this film, I fear I won’t be able to do justice in explaining how phenomenal it is. But one thing’s for sure, your life will change after experiencing Everything Everywhere All at Once.