Friday, March 28, 2008

The Nines and Invisible Interface: Response to Class Discussion

I dug a little deeper into the notes I had from earlier in the semester to give myself more of a push and more material for my blog. I encountered a little scribble I had relating a recently released movie, The Nines, starring Ryan Reynolds and it’s relation to transparency and invisible interface.

The film encompasses 3 short films that ultimately lead to an astonishing and profound revelation in the character’s life. Though there are different names used in each different story, and occupation and relationship to Ryan Reynolds changes, the other characters are ultimately catalysts for this sudden catharsis at the film’s conclusion.The first film centers around a hot shot celebrity actor who gets high on crack and accidentally burns down his Beverly Hills Mansion following a bitter breakup with his girlfriend. The second revolves around Reynolds as the writer of a popular TV drama and how he must cut his long time friend and the main character in the show and replace her with a slimmer better looking actress when told to do so by producers. The final film is Reynolds as ‘the god of video game developing’ who is on a hiking trip with his wife and daughter when he loses his cell phone signal and his car breaks down. He then encounters a strange woman walking along a country road that knocks him out and seduces him and then convinces him that he is actually God, the creator of all life on Earth. Unfortunately for Reynolds, he has spent the last eternity creating his paradise and filling it with life (the human race and all animals, plants, etc.) and has lost himself in the process. He has become addicted to creating and forgot that he was God.

I thought that this film was excellent in illustrating transparency and is actually the ultimate invisible interface. What other interfaces do you know of that allow the creator himself to lose himself for thousands of years at a time only to be rescued by one of his angelic counterparts? I know of one you can lose yourself for a few hours in which I will elaborate on later.

Quite ironically Reynolds is a video game developer in the last film. I think this is a ploy to make it easier for audiences to understand the deep concept of invisible interface. It also lead me to ask myself an odd question, ‘if God were human, would he create video games?’ The answer is yes. Video games are the closest thing we have to being God right now. Consider Harmonix’s Rock Band. You might not be God, but you have the talent to play the drums, sing, and play bass or guitar. You can also dress your rocker, cut and dye his/her hair, buy new equipment, download new songs not originally released with the game, etc. When you originally 'create a rocker' you are given options to change the physical appearance, style of your rocker (punk, metal, rock, alternative, etc.), his place of birth (London, Uk; Stockholm, Sweden; Boston, MA, etc.). This allows you to play God and recreate yourself, or someone entirely different as a rocker.

An even better example of the user as God is Halo 3. The ability to create maps allows you to create your own world. You can input gun pickups, grenade upgrades, turrets, vehicles, etc. where you see fit. Therefore, since you are the creator (God) you better hope no one knows your map better than you. This leads me to believe that the final film casts Reynolds as a video game developer because it helps viewers to better comprehend the concept of living and interacting in your own creation.

In conclusion, I highly recommend The Nines to anybody interested in these concepts. Due to the fact that Reynolds seems to be cast as God, I can say with confidence that creating and manipulating video game worlds such as in Rock Band and Halo 3 allows us as users to ‘play God’. Also, playing God with video game technology has allowed us to come ever closer to achieving complete invisible interface and transparency in media.
Works Cited
The Nines. Director John August. Performers Ryan Reynolds. Destination Films: 2007.


Patrick Roberts said...

The overlapping storyline of the Nines resolves itself nicely at the end... and although Reynolds is a versatile, it was Melissa McCarthy who did a particularly great job of adding color to the whole thing.

Andrew Pritchard said...

That's true... McCarthy seemed to bring the whole thing out in the end and brought light to all the questions Reynolds poses to the audience throughout the film.