Friday, August 26, 2011

Life 2.0

Yes, I watched it.  I felt it focused exclusively on the problems of Second Life and did little-to-nothing to celebrate the positives.  I would have liked more balance and more substance.  I would like to have seen the inclusion of a live music artist like Guitar Zane or Senjata Witt, an artistic sim like ChouChou or Caffe Freud and truly helpful residents and sims like Vitolo Rossini and his Dogland and Professor Merryman and his Cypris Chat Village.  I would have liked experts, beyond Philip Rosedale, talking about the impact of virtual worlds on individuals and societies.

Variety review...
"While some may fault Spingarn-Koff (who often appears in the form of his own camera-wielding avatar) for focusing on the freakiest cases he could find, every thread here raises a provocative question about the ethics of online interactivity, and serves to demonstrate the Web's ability to both facilitate and destroy human relationships. And while it's not too hard to guess what the helmer thinks of his subjects and their quandaries, he maintains a scrupulously measured tone throughout, well aware that human eccentricity requires no embellishment."

The New York Times review...
"That doesn’t lessen the poignancy of the individual stories in Jason Spingarn-Koff’s film, but it does tend to make it feel as if you’re watching a judgmental reality show devoted to addiction, abuse, infidelity, financial woes and lack of exercise. Whether you’re predisposed to seeing Second Life as liberating or creepy, “Life 2.0” would have been more interesting and original if it, like its subjects, had dwelled more in the virtual world, and if it had told us more about that world’s mechanics and folkways."

It was still an interesting watch.  I did enjoy the part that focused on the virtual world lawyer working on the copyright case.  I would have liked a little more about that.

Variety review...
"For Detroit shut-in Asri Falcone, who spends almost every waking hour at her computer and uses Second Life to design and sell her own virtual fashion line, the world offers a genuine creative outlet and a steady source of income. Yet Falcone learns the pitfalls of e-commerce the hard way when her products are copied and stolen, igniting a fascinating discussion (with Second Life creator Philip Rosedale, among others) about copyright ownership and economic viability in cyberspace."

I also had one moment of wanting to reach into the screen and shake someone when the woman going through the divorce so she can have a real-life relationship with her Second Life boyfriend was so surprised that her young daughter had a negative reaction to that.

Variety review...
"Yet "Life 2.0's" most disturbing narrative involves a man and a woman whose avatars ("Bluntly" and "Amie") fall in love, and who decide to make their relationship a nonvirtual reality -- even though both are already married and live several thousand miles apart (she's in Westchester, N.Y., he's from Calgary). Scenes of Bluntly and Amie having pathetic-looking cybersex and wandering Second Life's beautifully artificial landscapes -- alternating with cringe-inducing footage of their real-life counterparts, who don't seem to be much more "there" than their avatars -- amount to a peerless study of how the Internet can foster seriously unhealthy levels of selfishness, infatuation and delusion."

Variety review...
"Early on, the handful of Second Lifers interviewed describe this interactive realm as so inviting, so time-consuming, a skeptical viewer might worry that the filmmakers are only giving it free publicity. To Spingarn-Koff's credit, such suspicions are almost entirely dispelled by the end of "Life 2.0," a stealth horror film that's all the more unsettling for giving its subject's surface appeal its proper due."

It's 88% fresh on "Rotten Tomatoes."



  1. LL's always shoots itself in the foot. Yes, sure of course people connect but lives are NOT always destroyed, children are NOT always neglected and SL has made some lives a lot better.

    Think of the many people who are handicapped, physically or mentally, or unable to leave the house and have limited life access for whatever reason to things outside the home they live in. This program affords them something on a daily the resembles a social life.

    The creativity of second life amazes me daily. I've met some really great avatars/people. Music and art in second life, fabulous sims.

    How about the great mentor groups, how about the EDU sims, what about the kids in SL...really...young creators and gamer nerds will be the next gen , thnk of what they will bring to the table of life...1st and 2nd life.

    Fundraisers in 2nd life that generate real money for real charity ...RFL huge. CARE has a presence as well as the Autism Society. I could go on and on....

    Just once I'd like to see someone do a documentary about something other then sex and ruined marriages due to SL, if a person leaves their marriage or is spending more time online then in their marriage chances are there were issues long before SL.

  2. I hear ya, colleen. They could have included just one such story to give the documentary a little balance and flesh it out, so to speak.

  3. @LeeHere: hmmm...we came away with almost the identical impression...

    There is no intrigue in the humanitarian/artsy fartsy stories. I suppose that will be his next endeavor for the next feel good Indy movie of the year, Life 2.1


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