So basically imagine you see a preview for a movie with beautiful animal/fantasy characters but perhaps with anime themes, like mechas and shiney, beautiful technology or something. It looks really good, like a Pixar movie and not like Shrek or Madagascar at all. Something with a lot of heart. And then you hear, “this film has been rated R” and you’re like, “Whaaaaaat??”
So then you go see it and there’s a fantasy world and there are two races: an upper race that’s more humanoid only much more perfect and intelligent and kind not at all horrible, and a lower race that’s more humorous and cute. The upper race doesn’t rule the lower race; they just give advice if asked. The main character is a female from the lower race but she was raised like an intelligent pet by the upper race because she’s an orphan or something. You immediately fall in love with all the characters (I’m sorry that’s just bad writing to say something like that but just go along with me and imagine that the writing was brilliant and you want to just jump right there and live in the movie forever.)
She doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t feel entirely at home with her own kin, but isn’t able to engage with the upper people on their own level. She tries to attend a lecture on the cardinal numbers, but falls asleep. Aww! (that’s important for later, but I can’t explain what the cardinal numbers actually are… look them up on wikipedia after you finish reading this.)
But then… invasion! An army of ghosts attacks the land. They are adorable too, but creepy because they move by teleportation time travel and are hard to fight. One by itself isn’t dangerous, but if several of them seep into your skin, you turn into a plant and several new ghosts are born out of it. The upper race invents magical/technological weapons to fight them off, but it seems hopeless. The hero’s home is invaded and her family is all plantified one by one. Now you want to cry because you never thought the movie could be this cruel. Except, in the last moment, a powerful but previously dormant ability in the hero awakens and defeats some of the ghosts. She manages to rescue her upper-race sister (who is actually several times older than her but still a child by their standards).
Immediately the hero is recruited and must step up to become a great warrior. The upper race builds a giant machine that she can use to amplify her ability. The machine uses time manipulation to speed up her own local time so that she can watch the ghosts as they teleport. This is somehow necessary to amplify the ability. Then she can defeat entire armies of them. She wins a big victory by defeating this huge ghost monster or whatever but then the machine gets destroyed and she ends up behind enemy lines. The ghosts keep their distance from her, so she is safe at least. The machine is destroyed, but she actually manages to extract the time manipulator core from the wreckage, which is miraculously undamaged.
Here she finds the plant that was leftover from a previous character from earlier in the movie. But… it looks different! It’s moved. With sudden inspiration, she activates the time manipulator to make her time go slower and slower. The plant seems to be moving very slowly now. All this time she thought she had to slow down time but she really had to speed it up!
The plants aren’t dead. They are actually moving very slowly. Day and nights go by in seconds and the plants seem to move around like people. They are hard to talk to. They seem to have lots of secrets. She decides the ghosts aren’t what they seem. She uses her power to grab one and it goes into her head. At first she is alarmed and tries to stop it… but then lets it in. She walks through the forest and the trees gradually change until they are not trees, but painted trees on a wall. She is in one of the towers, right in the heart of the upper-race’s city! She goes outside and is now a hero. She doesn’t tell anyone about the ghost or the time manipulator. She’s now smarter somehow and instinctively knows to keep it a secret. But when she’s alone, the ghost sometimes jumps back out of her head.
Soon she begins to see what the ghost sees when it floats out of her head. She follows it into other peoples’ heads and sees horrific visions of filth, torture, blood, nails, rotating saws, fire, corrosive acid, and so on. Everyone seems to have this in their heads! Finally, with terror, she tries to follow the ghost into her own head.
After a flash of light, there is the sound of something being unlocked. There is a bloated, ugly creature holding a mask with a lock. With some disgust, we realize that this is the main character. She is now a giant, wrikled, wizened, calloused, warty, hairy male, like an ogre or something. Or maybe if you can imagine the movie the Dark Crystal, and you thought you were the gelfling the whole time and then you wake up and realize you were one of the mystics the entire time, except you also were homeless and had never had a bath. They all act the same as the lower race from before, but in their different bodies it looks grotesque. And of course everything is just a dump. He is so horrified at first he tries to rip his own chest open.
There are other creatures like himself around, but they all have masks locked on. They are all being forced to work giant machines. There is also another kind of monster, which is much more horrible, that goes around and cuts the ogres to drink their blood. The ogres all seem to be in pain, but are docile. The hero can put the mask on and off, unlike anyone else. He looks through the mask and one the blood suckers turns into the upper-sister, who acts perfectly kind and loving when seen through the mask. She seems to be cuddling and petting her and saying wise things and then takes off the mask and she’s like a mad mindless horrific monster who’s sucking her blood and stabbing her. She does not seem to be aware that the hero can see an alternate reality. Every time some of the blood suckers approach, he puts the mask back on and interacts with the upper-race creatures, who are all very kind, and then when the mask comes off he has new wounds oozing blood.
Also, the time manipulator also looks like a piece of junk too and doesn’t seem to do anything in this world.
Eventually he meets more creatures that have been “freed” but they are not strong enough to fight back or change anything. They go through the motions and endure the same torture and slave labor as the rest, and they are unable to communicate meaningfully with anyone who still is locked in and also, every single one of them thought HE was the chosen one before the face lock machine came off. They are all totally demoralized. Most of the time, when they can get one of the creatures to remove its mask, it will do anything to have it put back on. At this point in the movie, you just want to leave the theater, hopefully to kill yourself.
But then, if you manage to keep watching the movie, the main character eventually figures out what the machines do. They are actually building the tissues of the bloodsuckers, and eventually those tissues are assembled into new ones. They are manufacturing their own exploiters. But no, it’s not quite that simple! Because then he discovers that there are other machines that are manufacturing the ogres too! Who is in charge?? Nobody. He finds ogre scientists who are developing better machines and more efficient torture devices, but they don’t know what they’re doing because they’re all wearing the masks and they think they’re doing something else.
Eventually, he discovers what the ghosts really are: disembodied psychic waves that are prevented by the masks from forming connections between people. He learns that he can control the ghosts in the other world to alter minds in the real world. Then, he blinks, and he’s in the mind of one of the monsters. He barely remembers anything of himself. His memories all that of the monster’s. Then he blinks again and he can barely remember being the monster.
Eventually he’s forgotten his original self because only a fragment of consciousness gets through with each jump. He blinks into one of the masked beings again and is back in the fantasy world. It’s hard to remember the real world, but with each flip the new body dimly knows its mission because that thought is the one thing it can make sure to switch properly with each jump. (I’m not sure how this would be conveyed in a movie.) Somewhere, someone must know the source. Where is the origin of the system? Finally, someone blinks and mind-swaps with one of the trees from the fantasy world. Now he’s in both worlds. The trees are pieces of the machines in the real world. But they have different vision from everyone else.
It’s not just that the ogres and blood drinkers are being manufactured, they actually are robots. Also, the plants are robots. Everything is a robot. They are all parts of a vast machine without ever knowing it. The robot knows what it has to do. It must shut down the program. The domination must end. The robot is made out of many smaller and smaller robots. It’s a fractal robot. As it moves, all the other robots of all sizes move with it, and its own parts move with it too in a bizarre dance. It runs to the heart of the creature and unleashes all the valves. All the energy is released. The heart moves faster and faster until it begins to fly apart. We zoom out and see that it was the robots own heart that it was inside.
In the last fraction as it explodes, it wakes up to a new reality, and then it wakes up again, and then again, until there are an infinite number of realities, each more and more real than the last. The new realities appear asymptotically until an infinite number go by at the same time, and there’s a new reality past them… and another beyond that, and another and another until the whole process happens again until it’s passed two infinities of reality, and then three infinities, and then four, and five, and on and on again until an infinite number of infinities go by and then another infinite number of infinities, and then that happens again and again and again until an infinite number of infinite infinities go by and so on and so forth until an infinite infinite infinite … (infinite number of these) … infinite infinities go by.
And then, eyes open.