Everything funny, everywhere entertaining

The most unexpected comedy from a multiversal travel film


Photo courtesy of IMDb

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” had multiple promotional posters. Each poster featured unique designs that represented certain fragments of the main story.

Eddie Shi, Staff Reporter

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” was an experience I did not expect to have. From the characters to the scenery, I expected another movie I could turn on and do assignments while it plays in the background.

*Spoilers ahead

Right from the start, I thought the movie would be a drama about a middle-class family attempting to get by. I turned out to be completely wrong. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” explores multiple realities and hops around the multiverse like crazy. It was hilarious to see many of the different characters in different realities. The movie captured me from the start, and I didn’t even realize I was immersed until the end of the third title screen. The characters resonate with each other so well that the cast never has to go above a few major characters to keep us interested. Their dialogue brings irreplaceable emotions and enables the story to be so be

I felt connected from the moment “Everything Everywhere All at Once” started. The cramped apartment scene where everyone was stressed about the taxes while running a business felt real. It’s even better if you understand Mandarin. The movie mixes Mandarin with English, which is uber common in Chinese immigrants’ homes. My family natively speaks Mandarin, and seeing them do what we do at home was marvelous. The main character, Evelyn, is played by Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh did a phenomenal job of playing a strict Chinese mother. Evelyn dislikes change and actively seeks to please his dad. Her work ethic is so strong that it causes conflict. She is the spitting image of my friend’s mother; if I was blindfolded and asked which one was which, I wouldn’t be able to tell.

There was not a single second-rate character. I thought that Evelyn would be my favorite personality. Her actions and somewhat reckless ways of approaching adversity were a blast. The director perfectly wrote her actions and emotions. However, Evelyn’s husband, Waymong Wang, became my ideal persona. Every frame Waymong was in had a purpose, and he saved the multiverse from the main villain by just existing. Waymong’s honesty guided Evelyn to make the right choices for their lives to continue the way they once did in their cramped apartment with their daughter Joy.

Joy was a rebellious kid going against her tradition. Her character represented many second-generation immigrants. She was born American but lived like a Chinese person. Joy became a villain and multiversal traveler due to experiencing all the universes simultaneously. She experienced everything, everywhere, all at once in Universe Alpha because her mother pushed her too far. After all, she was gifted. The movie demonstrated how pressure could truly break a person through Joy. The concept of pressure from mother to daughter was a great move. However, the execution was quite unsatisfactory.

This is where the film shifts from a drama to a comedy. After Joy’s multiversal character was revealed, the tension was reduced. It wasn’t hard to tell who the main villain would be, and her reveal was the easiest thing to see coming. Her motivations aren’t strong, and I felt her character was underdeveloped. She starts killing all versions of her mother for what? There are so many questions that were left unanswered. The goofy apparel and fights were funny but didn’t add any purpose.

Yet, even without purpose, it was a blast to watch. A lady with a dog started using the dog as some weird mace-like weapon. Evelyn turned into someone with hotdog fingers during her fight against Joy. Waymong used a fanny pack to knock a group of security guards out. The choreography was spectacular. Every martial arts fight looked something out of John Wick if John Wick had a new ability every few seconds. The cinematography was stellar. There was a scene that I can vividly remember. Evelyn went through a sequence of 50 realities in the span of twenty seconds. Each frame was so carefully detailed. It was one of the best twenty seconds of any movie.

The movie’s premise was reality hopping, and I was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t time travel since the concept of time travel is overdone and oversaturated. However, I love the movie’s flashbacks; each flashback is emotionally charged, and every flashback has a purpose. Seeing the different results based on past choices was very intriguing. While I can praise the movie for avoiding time travel, I have to criticize the film for not going into depth with the “Bagel.” The “Bagel” is more of a visualized concept of nothingness. Even though the “Bagel” is more of a gag than a plot device, I would have loved to see a greater narrative about it.

Joy wanted Evelyn to spend time with her in the “Bagel” because it got lonely. It could only be Evelyn because only gods can understand gods. I wonder if someone experiencing all the realities at once could even think. The movie doesn’t explain much about the dimension-hopping technology or the realities it creates. The film did good by adding implications of infinitely hopping realities to limit how much a character can abuse the ability. There are just so many questions left to answer about the multiverse. A movie must establish motives and urgency for the audience to care. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” struggles to deliver on urgency; even with significant character deaths, nothing seemed urgent. The movie is linear and predictable at times.

As linear and predictable as “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is, “the film doesn’t care. I only felt unimmersed when I rewatched it and looked out for nit-picky issues. The film focuses on driving home a powerful story about an immigrant family, which they deliver perfectly. Every act flowed into the next; my first watching was over before I knew it. From my initial thoughts, I really couldn’t complain. The references won me over. A raccoon was yanking a cook’s hair referencing the Pixar classic, Ratatouille. I even caught a faint Super Smash Bros reference. On my third watch-through, I finally understood the movie.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is not supposed to be a drama, and it is not supposed to be an emotional classic either. I should have recognized the comedic nature of the film during the final fight. Googly eyes, confetti, and other obnoxious items were thrown around in the fight scenes. We don’t know what is happening, and the characters don’t either. Only at the end do we genuinely realize maybe everything matters. Perhaps we aren’t so different, so let us be kind to one another.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” was a movie with impressive peaks. The cinematography, scenery, and cast were borderline perfection. The film was an immersive experience that I recommend to anyone looking to unwind for a good time. It’s funny, but it has moments when I could only gaze with my mouth down to the floor. The flaws are noticeable and, quite frankly, are just nit-picky boring science fiction issues. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a fun time waiting for you anywhere, everywhere, all at once. 9/10