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Friday, February 3, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

"What the Bleep!?": Deep thoughts, and the return of Ramtha

Special to The Seattle Times

A sequel for seekers, "What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole" is a lightning rod for skeptics and believers alike. Like 2004's "What the Bleep Do We Know!?," it's ostensibly a primer on the far horizons of theoretical physics, but it's really about spiritual matters that transcend the rigors of science. Depending on how receptive you are to its message, it's either an incoherent mess or an invitation to infinite possibilities.

Packed with trippy visuals and New Age speculation, "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" was a surprise hit in limited release and a best-seller on DVD, so a sequel was inevitable. "Down the Rabbit Hole" further explores the previous film's "new paradigm" of consciousness, where physical and spiritual realms are unified.

Movie review 2.5 stars


Showtimes and trailer

"What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole," with Marlee Matlin, Armin Shimerman, Barry Newman. Written and directed by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente. 155 minutes. Not rated; suitable for general audiences. Neptune, Uptown.

Skeptics will scoff, since both films are thinly veiled infomercials for JZ Knight, the Yelm-based spiritualist who "channels" the ancient spirit of Ramtha, the master teacher of Knight's cultlike "School of Enlightenment." Interviewed among a throng of scientists, mystics and assorted "experts" who theorize a vague connection between quantum physics and neurophysiology, Knight (as Ramtha) finds science too restricting and warns against organized religion as the ultimate conspiracy that limits our personal evolution.

The idea, this time, is that our brains — thoughts, attitudes, behaviors — can influence the physical world and, in turn, that physical forces can influence our actions. In dramatic sequences, Marlee Matlin reprises her role as Amanda, our troubled envoy of spiritual confusion, wandering through her unhappy life as strange events and special effects guide her to an epiphany of self-improving enlightenment.

Only time will tell whether the "What the Bleep!?" movies are prophetic or preposterous. For now, the best advice can be found buried in the end credits: Agreement is not necessary — thinking for one's self is.

Jeff Shannon: j.sh@verizon.net

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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