Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where we're going, we WILL need roads. Or just a hotel room.

I like time travel films, quite a bit. Out of all the sub-genres of science fiction, I think I enjoy time travel the most. Sure, giant monsters and space adventures are fun, and always worthy of good times –but there is something about time travel that appeals to me. Especially when the person travelling through time doesn’t really know the rules and they end up ballsing things up for everyone. But, overall, there is something that I would say “hard sci fi” about them.

I like confusing films. I like to think that I am a reasonably intelligent guy, especially when it comes to the medium of film – so I like things that will make me think. But, this comes as a bit of a curse. You see, I don’t like being able to figure out twists and turns before they happen (to me, there is a difference between figuring things out and being told what is going to happen, though). So, when a film comes along that not only confuses the hell out of me, but actually gains a world-wide reputation as being that sort of film, you better believe that I am going to enjoy that film. And, it is that film that I will be covering today.

2004s Primer is that film. What seems to be the story of a couple of friends who accidentally build a time machine and the slow burn effect it has on them and those closest to them, is actually one giant recursive time loop featuring so many crisscrossed streams, time jumps and details for the really sharp eyed viewer. I’ve seen the film a few times and have read pretty extensively on it, both about its creation and the story itself, and I think I am maybe 75% clear on things – at best.

Today, as requested (apparently as a joke, but never let it be said that I don’t answer a challenge), I will be live blogging the film. If I don’t come back, bury my DVDs in lieu of me.

00:33-01:20 – Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen, introduced by a voiceover from the spooky future. But which one?
01:30-02:00 – Who better to trust time travel to but failed and seemingly crappy inventors. First rule of movies: shit people get lucky.
02:10-02:15 - But who was phone?
03:00-03:10 – And, in a technicality, this is a Christmas movie.
03:10-03:20 – Dissention in the ranks. Because, you’ll see.
04:30-06:00 – Apparently, time travel is cold. And it use magnets (how the fuck do they work?)
06:30-06:40 – WalMart: for all your time travel needs.
06:50-08:10 – All you need to make your own time travel device is some easily found household items, and an industrial strength cutting machine.
09:40-09:50 – Not time travel: zero G.

11:20-11:40 – Argon can reduce your mass. Keep note, because there will be a test.
12:40-13:15 – KNOCKOUT! And it looks like Abe has lost a few hours. Confused yet? You will be.
14:30-17:00 – The description of how time travel works, by way of Aaron Sorkin.
16:30-16:40 – Things that generate their own energy and magnetic fields are evil.
17:10-09:45 – More spooky future.
18:00-18:30 – There is no better way to progress a story than by a narrator.
18:45-18:50 – Suddenly Abe enters the end of Cube, or the beginning of Cube. And the timelines are already jacked.
19:00-19:50 – Nice earphone, where can I get one?

20:00-20:10 - the most important thing ever witnessed by anyone is a fungus that looks like mustard. Damn you time travel, stop being made of condiments.
20:35-20:45 – “If you can, pretend like this is the first time I have come in”. Truer words have never been spoke.
21:30-23:00 – Well, the box isn’t a fungus generator.
23:45-25:30 – Time travel by way of Aaron Sorkin, part 2.
26:00-27:00 – And that’s how humans learned to time travel. Thank you for joining us, I’m a British person...Goodnight.
34:00-28:40 – Ladies and Gentlemen, Abe2. Time for your brains to start to hurt.
29:30-29:50 – Time machine or RAID array: you decide.

30:00-31:00 – Q: What would you do the first time you go through? Answer soon. Or already.
32:00-34:00 – Remember, don’t meet your time displaced self, or bring any knowledge that can fuck with the time line. Take yourself out of the equation.
35:00-34:00 – A: Of course, play the stock market.
37:10-27:30 – Congratulations, you have officially fucked with the time stream. Check your rational sanity at the left.
39:10-39:20 – “It’s my first day” – everyone gotta start somewhere.

41:55-42:20 – All time travel has is selfish applications.
43:20-43:00 – “What’s worse? Being paranoid, or knowing you should be.” Because the last thing that one needs in a time travel film is a sense of paranoia.
44:30-45:00 – Ok, paranoia is the second last thing. The last, a fracturing central group. And a greedy bastard.
45:10-45:20 – It’s déjà vu all over again.
46:00-46:30 – But why is ear bleeding?
47:40-48:00 – Or a paranoid, greedy, fracturing central group.
49:00-49:10 – But you was phone?
49:55- 50:00 – This timeline is going to get crowded. Or is it just one timeline? After all, it’s just time travel, not Sliders.

50:45-51:10 – Timeline fracture? “Are you hungry, I haven’t eaten since later this afternoon”.
51:25-51:30 – No, seriously, who was phone?
51:35-51:55 – Like magnets, no one knows just how the fuck cellphones work. And if we did know, we could use them.
52:45-53:30 – Like I said, selfish applications. Making time travel doppelgangers, simply to be your slaves: this will end non-confusingly.
54:30-54:32 – Was that..... Ok, there is NO way that that can be any good for anyone.
54:00-55:30 – Yeah, that is NOT any good at all.
56:10-59:00 – Problem number 1: recursive time loops. Especially for coma patients.
59:30-60:00 – Or not.

18:45-18:50 – Suddenly Abe enters the end of Cube, or the beginning of Cube. And the timelines are already jacked.
61:10-61:20 – And that is why you don’t cross the streams.
61:30-19:50 – It really IS a nice earphone, shame about the shitty playback quality.
61:30-63:10 – And that is how you double up timelines. Aarons 2, 3 and 4 dance the dance of time displacement.
64:30-65:15 – All of this just to play the hero? What happened to playing the stocks?
66:00-67:20 – Time travel gives you Parkinsons? I knew it wasn’t all honey and roses.
67:20-67:25 – But who was phone?
67:55-69:00 – This is what happens when unstable people get stuck in a pre-made Groundhog Day.
69:40-70:30 – Using the timeloop to win big is the only way to do it...
70:20-70:30 – Abe3 and Aaron2 will NOT be happy, especially with the flips and turns in the timeline.
71:00-71:45 – And why not send doubles all over the world?

OK, it may be the fact that, as I stated, I have done a lot of reading about the story, but it’s not nearly as confusing as I remember it, however, it’s still a well done time travel story, and asks some interesting questions. What do you do if loops form within loops? How do you prove you have travelled? I think the confusion comes from the fact that the director/writer does acknowledge the fact that there are multiple loops, each with their own separate versions (clones, perhaps?) of the main characters.

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