Existenz - That rubbish movie sponsored by Dreamcast!

I'm sure at least Tom has seen this poster for a movie that was released in 1999 (2000 in the UK) that, for some reason has the Dreamcast logo featured on it (can you see it? It's just under the Z of the title). So why did Sega pay to have their console's name slapped on this movie poster? What does this movie have to do with Sega, or even video games at all? Well, to solve the mystery, I've rented the movie out on DVD. Hoping to find subliminal DC advertising a lot like that I spotted in the Josie and the Pussycats and that Janet Jackson video. Like the creepy Dreamcast stalker I am, my results are a mixed bag of interesting and a complete waste of time.

Reading up on it, the film at least has some relevance to video games, in that the story is about an organic computer game...thing, that is inserted into a hole in your spine that takes you into some sort of alternate reality that is too life-like for it's own good; and soon enough the characters can't tell when they are in the game and when they're not. In other words, it's another Matrix type film. Although with all due respect it did come out the same year as the Matrix, that movie got a LOT more attention than this, and in my opinion, for a very good reason.

As interesting as the idea may sound (at least at the time), I personally thought this movie, after just watching it not too long ago, was an ugly, dreadful, pointlessly gory, poorly acted pile of tripe. One of the worst films I have ever had the misfortune to watch, in fact, and why Sega would want their name any where near it is beyond me, it's more like something Sony would want to use as a advertising sceme (Ever see that "Playstation 9" commercial they did for the PS2? Yeah, it's almost the same concept as this film!) The plot may of been a bit more bearable if it wasn't for the unnecessary body horror that was just thrown in at every opportunity. There was barely a scene in this film, even the basic conversation scenes, without some kind of lizard, frog, or mutant organic controller thingy being mutilated and slaughted in full detail on screen. It just wasn't needed! Oh, and the ending was a predictable cop out and a "You're taking the piss!" moment at the same time.

The only positive moment I can really think of in the film was the first few minutes before all the crap kicked in, because none other than former Doctor Who Christopher Ecclestion has a short role in it, although even he couldn't seem to act in this and was putting a naff accent of some sort on. Another scene that stuck out as amusing and very vaguely related to the Dreamcast was just after the main bloke in the film has his "Bioport" installed (i.e: a nasty little hole in the back of his spine to plug the phallic looking plug for the game thing), has a can of "XE-60" spayed on the hole to make it work better. The can is a blatant reference to WD-40. This little scene brings back memories of spraying WD-40 into one of the sockets in the back of the Dreamcast to stop it from randomly resetting. Ahh, bless.
So other than this, what does the Dreamcast have to do with the film? Well, nothing much except that Sega have used the DVD to advertise the console. As soon as you put the disc in, one of the main menus is a Dreamcast logo. Click on this and what do you get? A cut down version of that promo video 'Dreamography'! You know, the one with the bloke sitting on his sofa dreaming about the games that prances about with a broom and has a Playstation in his bin? It's that, only a lot shorter.

All the third party games have been stripped from the videos, as well as a few of the Sega ones. When he mucks about with that elastic band, the Code: Veronica clips have been replaced with Sega GT (which makes no sense at all), and when he's dreaming about Shenmue (complete with soundtrack) it cuts to the footage of Ecco instead...then cuts out the part where his mates come in with the console and pretend to play 4 player. Maybe this is an earlier version of the promo. Still, it's in very nice DVD quality here, and my guess is that this promo was screened with the film in cinemas too, for all five people that went to see it. I've even gone to the effort to rip the promo for you, so you don't have to rent the crappy film to see it.



Also, when the DVD is run on a PC, there is a auto start of a flash animation telling you all about DreamArena. that DC-only website that was the Euro Dreamcast's homepage. I'm pretty sure this presentation was also featured on one of the DreamOn demos. I've uploaded it here for you all to see in it's unexciting but for me nostalgic glory.

This was ripped from the autostart webpage. Ooooh~!

So now you know. Avoid the film unless you like lizard guts in every shot, a stupid mind-feck plot and piss poor acting. I've done all the Dreamcast research so you don't have to. As if my dignity hasn't already taken a blow from finding Dreamcast stuff is the most parallel of places, maybe I should rent Josie and the Pussycats so I can at least get screen caps of the film's hidden Space Channel 5 goodness. I know not to sit all the way through that movie already however, so I won't suffer too much. 


The things I do for you guys, honestly!

13 comments:

fatherkrishna said...

Superb stuff! The Dream Arena advert is something beautiful for those of us who missed it first time round. Why oh why did this console fail!? (Yes I know why...) But it's unparalleled coolness shines out into 2006. I need a flux capacitor NOW! If it's any consolation Gagaman I have spent the night trawling Youtube for a clip of the US show 'My Wife and Kids' for the episode where the main caracter plays the DC, which one of the gingers spotted on T.V. rcently. Just because you can see him playing a Dreamcast. I actually watched 'Electronics Boutique Sega Dreamcast New Games For 2001' VHS which I bought off eBay, TWICE the other night... Oh the humanity... There must be more to life... :)

fatherkrishna said...

I've just watched the Dream Arena thing again and it blows me away! It's fucking untold! The dreamcast just fucking rocks! How could anyone have left it (as I did) for a grim black box that plays DVDs.
As the ad says... throw your PC away! support Arsenal! and buy Soul Calibur for £39.99... WHAT?
OK it's better in 2006 with Soul Calibur for £2.50. Supporting MCFC and loving your PC that lets you access the Internet at less than ...ooohh... an hour per screen at £1 a minute! I'm glad/sad thatI do Dreamcast in retrospect... But I wish I could just go back for a day... I am going to rent the movie, and 'Josie and the Pussycats' and marry Janet Jackson. And love the DC forevever! What the hell is this about? Answers on a postcard please...

TheTimeRunner said...

It's either bad or good marketing on sega's part. I can't say I noticed the movie or the advert. Not in america that is.

The GagaMan(n) said...

As far as I can tell this was a campain they only used when the film was released in Europe. Like anyone noticed.

Anonymous said...

I did... And really, I hav seen some movies that are million times worse than Existenz.

The GagaMan(n) said...

That doesn't stop it from being a piece of crud. Films that make you angry are not good movies.

Tomleecee said...

It's got Sky Captain in it though!

Wilhelm said...

Lmao, that picture reminded me of "Crack Spackle" from SNL XD

wauahaha,Check it out!
http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/5453/crackspackleva6.jpg

Tomleecee said...

:-D

The GagaMan(n) said...

Wilhelm? Like the "Wilhelm Scream" Wilhelm?

Wilhelm said...

Wilhelm like.. my name wilhelm :P

Deiwyi said...

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it think.

wiredprotocol said...

There is no reason to slag off existenz. Its not cronnenberg's best film, but its certainly better than a lot of crap..

Body horror films are great!

I came across this blog looking for that dreamcast promo... its so bad. Poor dreamcast ):