The first Cube movie is somewhat well-know, at least in relative terms. I'm pretty sure your parents aren't aware of its existence, and from certain perspectives one could argue that's a good thing. Acquired taste for sci-fi and all that.
For whatever reason, precious few know about the two other entries in the Cube trilogy. That's right: Flawed as the first one might have been, the producers jumped straight in, giving it two more tries.
Was it worth the time and money? Well…
It might be flawed in every sense of the word–eh acting, cheesy dialogue, and less than stellar effects–but I quite like the first Cube. A group of people finding themselves stuck in a large structure made up of multiple cubes? Each cube with six exits, all leading to seemingly identical cubes, some with death traps? It's a fairly fascinating concept, what with the prisoners(?) not knowing why they're there, nor what they're actually trapped inside of.
The film was made on a cheap budget, and there was actually only one cube used throughout the filming. Still, the fact that each cube is identical–all industrial and creepy–enhances the feeling of claustrophobia, and it's fun seeing what solutions the group comes up with to find their way out of the maze.
Stilted dialogue and community theater quality acting aside, I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in dystopian stories.
I can only assume the first movie made a big enough profit for a sequel to seem like a good idea. Cube really ended on the type of question mark it should have ended on, and setting up two sequels with a whole new team… Not a brilliant idea.
That's not to say Hypercube is a bad movie in its own right: the special effects budget clearly got a fair boost this time around. There are some half-hearted attempts to tie this film to its prequel, but let's be honest–the concept is pretty much the only thing that connects the two movies.
I mean, not even the cubes look or feel the same. Whereas Cube was set in a gritty, industrial maze, Hypercube has a stark, clean, white feel to it. Think Scandinavian bathroom design, and you get the idea.
The cubes are also made up of multiple dimensions crashing together, and characters meet other versions of themselves, and I have no idea… Smart people might find some sort of logic in this, but my guess is that it was all made up on a whim. It's an entertaining enough movie, but the unsettling dystopian feel of Cube is sorely lacking.
Just for a second, Zero tries to tie Hypercube to the first movie in a halfhearted manner, and then kinda just drops it. Which is fine. Zero is a true sequel (or, as it is, prequel) to Cube, and the industrial dystopian feel is back in full force.
The problem, however, is that it's mostly a vehicle to explain the first movie, which just doesn't work. We don't see a whole lot of what's happening inside the cube, and instead learn of the people controlling it. That takes away from the original's creepiness, and I highly doubt the creators of Cube had a plot like this in mind.
Still, bonus points have to be given to the actors. Particularly Michael Riley shines (in all relativity) as a sadistic… cube… overseer? I have no idea what he actually is supposed to be…
I'm not a fan of movies that try to explain (in this case somewhat) mind-bending prequels, and would put Zero a step below Hypercube in terms of overall quality. It just seems like a pointless movie.
Looking at the trilogy, then, I found Cube to be a nice unsettling little film. In all technical manners, it is flawed, but the story and atmosphere hold up. Its two sequels? Hypercube is worth a look, if only for its stark white prettiness. And if you sat through two of them, you might as well take your chances with Zero. You might enjoy it more than I did.
I've heard some loose rumors of a Cube 4, and I question how good of an idea that is. Still, I'm sure it won't make it to theaters, and rather go straight to Netflix, so I guess I'd give it a shot, just to be a completionist.