LIFE 2.0 follows a group of people whose lives are dramatically consumed by the virtual world of Second Life. They reside in this new reality, where inhabitants assume alternate personas in the form of avatars - with digital alter egos that can be sculpted and manipulated on a whim. More than an examination of a hot new technology, LIFE 2.0 is an intimate, character-based drama about people who look to a virtual world in search of something they are missing in their real lives. The results are unexpected and often disturbing: reshaping relationships, identities, and ultimately the very notion of reality.
"Life 2.0 is a disturbing but nonjudgmental study of online addiction and the lure of manufactured identities... 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." --Variety
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When I was in SL some years ago, I loved to explore. There are thousands of wonderful sims to explore, beauty you cannot imagine. You can 'visit' places in virtual other countries. This movie wasn't about that. It was about human feelings and the psychology of 'why you do what you do in a virtual world.' All right, that may be important but there are people doing happy, inventive things in SL as well.
Second Life is a virtual world, also called a metaverse. It was created as a platform, and people were invited to come there and make the world what they wanted. People came and they created pretty much everything in this world..the beauty of a place where one can just go and be whomever you want to be. Linden Labs created the platform and maintains it, and there is Linden money called Lindens which you buy with real money. If you want. You can also create items wanted there and sell them or get an SL job. The world is free to join, and you can be there forever and never spend any real money..if you want.
There are games within it, and different groups you might want to join. There can be wars, and there can be love. There is religion, love, hate, laughter and tears, and role playing galore.
This movie focused on three situations where SL and RL got mixed up and people were badly hurt..in real life. The movie seems to have been made in 2007, but the situations are much the same as they are now, except that now there are better avatars :) I didn't like the long real life scenes where real people were hurt, real relationships lost.
What I wanted in this movie was a look around the beautiful places that people have created. Perhaps the homes that people have created..to rent, sell and/or live in. The endless water that for the most part an avatar can swim, fish, boat etc. in. There are Clubs of all kinds with great music. Music is a main theme in SL..everywhere you go..music.
Without context, the clubs and avatars shown looked foolish.
I am taking off one star for the movie concentrating on how a person can mess up his/her life by confusing SL and RL. Thousands of people are in SL for totally different reasons, and can keep the two separate. Just being there is their reason, not to work out RL problems.
I am taking off one star for half of the movie actually taking place in real life. I really didn't like that.
Maybe someone can make an SL movie showing the beauty of so many sims, the amazing Estates on which one can make a home.. and change their property to suit themselves. Or show the merchants creating their wares. Builders building..artists creating virtual art...all of the wonders of SL. They could show the wonderful events given for charity.
Conversely they could show a little of the debatably ugly parts of SL for the sake of honesty. Ugliness does exist.
I enjoyed the professionalism of the way the movie was made, but there is so much more to SL, I felt cheated that basically it was all about mistakes made and grief caused.
This movie is well made. The music is very good.
The film follows three storylines: A virtual couple who are both cheating on their spouses; a young man who 'roleplays' an eleven year old girl; and a woman who makes a living wage from her virtual products.
With the virtual couple, they decide to meet in real life, and things quickly go sour. Clearly, they both prefer the world of fantasy.
With the man pretending to be a little girl, he seems very emotionally troubled; and I don't mean his later revelation that he was abused as a child. I'm referring to his pushing aside his living breathing fiancee to spend time with his virtual friends. His best virtual friend is also a man pretending to be a little girl. I should point out that there is nothing sexual in their 'roleplay' although there was one scene in which the pretend children were all using 'cuddle animations' around a fire; that seems more appropriate for 'virtual grownups.' (It's very hard to find language to appropriately assess this type of world.) To me that seemed to be pushing the boundaries of appropriateness.
The 'little girl' decides to go on a 'suicide bombing mission' which I also found troubling. The grown man controlling that avatar says he wanted to be banned, so he would be forced to break his virtual-world addiction. Well, he only got suspended for a few days. The people who own Second Life (Linden Lab) are notorious for their laissez faire governmental philosophy.
That philosophy is explained a bit by the founder of Second Life, Philip Rosedale. He wanted to see what members/users or 'residents' as Linden Lab calls them, did with the world he 'created.' And a lot has changed since its early days (of which not much visual record exists) including Philip's own avatar. What began as a spiky haired simple set of polygons is now a realistic mockup of a 'live' human being. Similarly, Second Life has become somewhat of a virtual marketplace, as opposed to an actual world.
That's where the third story comes in: A woman lives in her parent's basement but actually makes more income than anyone else in her household. She sells virtual clothing, shoes, and fully furnished 'dream houses.' It's Barbie's dream come true in the world. The woman claims she brings in over $100,000 U.S. per year this way. Her brother, who also lives with their parents, grumbles as he goes out into the snowy morning for his own job. The woman in the documentary works in her pajamas, fueled by caffeine and cigarettes.
Unfortunately all is not well in pretend-land. The virtual couple breaks up once their dream world is shattered; their families likewise remained shattered by their mutual affair. The young man's relationship with his fiancee ends; he says he will create a new avatar, this time a male child. The businesswoman's products are stolen; she takes it to court. She wins, but the judgment is only $500 or so. Reportedly she later abandoned her business avatar, because it was retaliated against.
With so much wrong about the virtual world, what is left unanswered is: Why do people still return to it, even abandoning real life pursuits in its favor? Why does Linden Lab refuse to govern the place, other than extreme things (mainly things which affect their bottom line i.e. someone can't play, they can't pay their bills to Linden Lab.) We're left with more questions than we went in with, and meanwhile, viewers have more ammunition with which to demonize those who 'live' in virtual worlds.