A desperate vigilante makes his way through a warehouse full of assailants. A 1950s prom party turns into a bloodbath of vampire zombies and evil blue creatures. Two desert cops chase a werewolf driving a high-speed Lamborghini to an old video store. And somewhere in all of this there’s a random guy with a laser flamethrower wandering around.
Confused? Believe us, there is Twin peaks fans banging their heads on the floor trying to figure out what’s going on in the album videos worth for Muse’s eighth album, “Simulation Theory.” The films refer to each other, have recurring patterns, and hint at an underlying narrative, so naturally Muse’s avid fan base worked hard to decipher them. So now, with the release of the album, all of the retro-futuristic clips are available for study, let’s try to piece together exactly what’s real, what’s faking, and what’s going on in Deckard’s name. And when. And in what order. Spoiler alert: it’s basically Creation with zombies.
What happens: Matt goes to the ball
In detail: While the videos can – and perhaps should – be viewed in random temporal order, as they reflect the ability to easily switch between scenes, storylines, and even decades in a simulated world, for a (relative) ease to follow any story. there could be some, most dissections suggest that the viewer begins with “Pressure”. Here we see an unknown protagonist – presumably Matt, since he stands on the same “real life” road that we’ll see later – don a VR headset and be transported into a virtual 1980s dance. Like a Back to the future A style band called Rocket Baby Dolls (which any Muse fanatic will tell you was the name Muse first performed under together at a Battle Of The Bands party in Teignmouth) take the stage to applause. bored.
Meanwhile, a dashing couple of BMXers in the science teacher’s dark office accidentally spill lemonade on his laser weapon computer and shoot a beam at the school’s gerbil, which transforms into an evil blue creature, quickly multiplies and sets off a ballroom-wide bloodbath as the a swarm of toothy bastards bounce around the lobby and begin to slaughter the entire school. The science professor then turns out to be more than he looks, unlocking a secret room in the back of his lab where he perfects the weaponry of laser flamethrowers, and sets out to detonate the gremlins at fur to the kingdom to come. Just as the threat seems to have been contained, however, the dead students begin to rise, transformed into vampire zombies by some kind of contagion. Typical.
‘Break it to me’
What happens: A vampire zombie dancing
In detail: In the hallway, as his classmates disperse, an infected student discovers that a cool side effect of Zombie Vampire Disease is that it makes you dance like no one is running away. They will inject performance-enhancing creature blood to cheat Strictly before you know it.
What happens: Matt is chased by Chris and Dom. Enter the Were-Matt!
In detail: Back in “reality” (although, since the road sign is scrawled with the caption “INFECTED,” the contagion is not, it seems, contained in the ’80s) Matt stands next to this. “Real life” (but strangely CGI) charging on the road his electric car DRKSIDE, lost in the VR experience of ‘Pressure’. The ’80s-themed game he was playing from a VHS tape tied to his VR headset is called “Simulation Theory,” and he embarks on a game-like driving mission to bring it back to the world. retrograde video store, chased en route by a couple of bazooka Grand Theft Auto cops played by Chris and Dom. The code that appears when Chris’ bazooka bolt hits the car reveals that we are still in a simulation here – and therefore that “Pressure” and “Break It To Me” took place in a simulation within a simulation – and when Matt drives the DRKSIDE head-on in the police car, he breaks the code entirely and in a Tron-like a world that seems to represent the code of the simulation itself.
The code area acts like a kind of wormhole to a different area, where the video store sits in an endless expanse of parched desert. Matt returns the tape before Dom and Chris arrive, after taking the road from the Bill & Ted phone booth to the same spot, but at that point Matt turns into a werewolf and kills Chris before running away, hitting “warp drive” to smash back via sim code. What about PC Dom? A zombie vampire catches him. Obviously.
‘The dark side’
What happens: Robot-skeleton attack
In detail: On the other side of the code barrier, back in the code zone, Matt is attacked by giant robot skeletons as he passes, around and even through them on his way to a huge city of neon lights. . Are these the creators of the simulation trying to root out an avatar trying to escape? And where is Matt going in this confused CGI world?
What happens: High-tech prosthesis
In detail: Cut to a one-legged woman (model and former athlete Lauren Wasser) waking up in a crumbling high security facility, crawling through the rubble to retrieve her golden foot and taking an elevator to ground level where she fights, gives Laser kicks and flamethrowers make their way through a horde of enemies, in what eerily resembles an arcade fighting game.
“Contagion of thought”
What happens: Everything becomes even more meta
In detail: At the start of “Thought Contagion,” we watch a guy finish his part of “Dig Down” on a retro gaming unit and get pulled out of the arcade by an 80s punk woman for a kiss. But still nobody gets fucked in VR; the girl turns out to be one of those zombie vampires they have now. Just as the guy begins to realize that he might be an avatar – the kind of ‘thought contagion’ the creators of the simulation might want to quell, maybe – the military is coming to contain this new epidemic, but everyone is stricken with the wobbly dance infection stage (see: “Break It To Me”). As our hero is torn to shreds by zombires (or vampires if you prefer) the screen flashes “GAME OVER”, we come out of a second game cabinet and Matt arrives in DRKSIDE, maybe there to find a new game to play. Yes, “Thought Contagion” is another video game, “Dig Down” was a video game in a video game and someone is really starting to pee now.
What happens: Time to edit!
In detail: A piece of history so far. Maybe Matt is playing all of his favorite simulation games again on NG1.
What happens: it was all a game! Where was it…
In detail: And it turns out the key to understanding this multi-layered homage to ’80s sci-fi culture is hidden right from the start of the album. It’s about awakening to the idea that reality may not be as real as you think it is, but building an outside force beyond your control. This is where the “Pressure” science teacher ends up, wandering around his deserted school long after it has closed following the contagion epidemic, unable to leave. He trains for the return of the zombires and begins to question his own existence. “Are we locked in simulations? He asks his computer, and he is told ‘Yes. Break the code to escape ‘.
He breaks the code that sequences the DNA of the evil blue creature he kept in a cage in his lab (like, duh) and is rewarded with a blueprint for a portal he can use to exit the sim. By building and activating it, he cycles past the code, dodging surveillance robots firing extermination lasers at him while Bellamy sings “This Means War With Your Creator”. And who is the “creator” that he discovers at the top of a staircase of light? Another arcade machine, this time called ‘Simulation Theory’.
Questions, questions. So this all happened in one game, which contains several other mini-games like “Dig Down”, “Pressure” and “Thought Contagion”? Or is the arcade game ‘Simulation Theory’ itself the creator, an AI programmed to procedurally generate forever? Anyway, after failing to beat the game “Theory of Simulation”, the teacher unplugs the plug, at which point the whole universe of the code turns off (confirming that the machine is the source). everything we’ve seen), and it steps into the brilliant white light of what is presumably real reality. Although what it could be is guesswork. Now, can someone give me a handful of blue pills and let me go back to analyzing Richard Ashcroft’s album?