Monday, September 15, 2008

Film festival: Cubers

Jason wrangled tickets for us to see Cubers last night at the Atlantic Film Festival.

Good flick.

It focuses on the Rubik's Cube-obsessed folks who compete at world-class levels to solve the famous 1980s plastic puzzle. It's interesting to see what kind of people do this, and obviously interesting to see how quickly they do it. Of course, they're geeks. Or nerds. Geeknerds with a math or computer bent, mostly. They've mastered the algorithms needed to unscramble the cube without peeling off the stickers or taking the thing apart.

(I used to brag to the kids at school about how my dad could solve the cube in one night. I didn't find out 'til later that he did it with a screwdriver.)

The movie reminded me somewhat of King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, the doc about a rivalry to win the record score at Donkey Kong. Also a movie about geeks fighting for an achievement that only people in their immediate circle of specialty geeks care about.

The difference with Cubers is that there's no bad guy. King of Kong has the classic good vs. evil, babyface vs. heel dynamic -- a rule-abiding underdog who's doing everything by the book to achieve something and gain recognition for his efforts versus an arrogant, slick, accomplished veteran who you suspect is up to trickery to secure his spot. Cubers didn't have that. We did have an underdog to cheer for, but his own worst enemy was himself.

Cubers is unlikely to be a box-office smash. Frankly, I don't even know if it's due to appear in theatres. Watch for it on CBC Newsworld, where I'm certain it will appear some time before too long.

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