Thursday, October 4, 2012

I don't think I like time travel without Michael J. Fox

Here's a spoiler alert for any of you that are going to see Looper. I left confused at the ending, and I blame it on poorly designed time travel tropes.

I'll keep Marty McFly and the Back to the
Future paradoxes over those ones
that drove me insane by watching Looper.
This weekend, I saw the film. It had one of the most horrific scenes in it that left me haunted for a couple of days afterward. Basically, I kept thinking of the horrible implications of torturing a young person and watching those wounds instantly appear on the older (but same person) who existed in the same timeline.

But aside from that, the ending left me really confused. JGL's character commits suicide at the end of the movie to PREVENT his older self from performing an act that sets the future on a course that he does not like. But I don't get how this solves anything? By killing himself, his older self doesn't exist thereby creating the reason for him taking this action in the first place.

Plus, the whole "kill yourself to change time" trope has been done a lot. Dr. Who's "Angels take Manhattan" did the same thing. Star Trek did it in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and in "Year of Hell." It happened in Terminator 2.

So on another level, the trope was incredibly unoriginal.

I don't think I like time travel without Michael J. Fox. At least then it was funny and Michael was charming.
This remake handled time travel really
well, even if it was underwhelming
(and short) as a film.
One show that I think handled time travel really well was the Time Machine. In it, Guy Pierce invents a time machine in order to go back into time to save his beloved wife from an untimely death. Well he does so, but she dies a few minutes later from something else. To understand why, he travels into the future and discovers that in creating a time machine, he created a paradox. The moment that he saved his wife, the motivation for the creation of the time machine evaporated and hence, wouldn't be invented.

Why couldn't Looper embrace this? Why couldn't Looper have seen that JGL needed to stop Bruce Willis in a way that didn't kill himself. And why the hell wouldn't Bruce Willis have JGL's epiphany suddenly pop into his mind so that he would know that what he was about to do would set the future on a course that his younger self did not like?

Anyway, overall I think I liked Joseph Gordon Levitt and that's about all I can say that's positive about this movie. I think before any writer tackles time travel and expects me to swallow it, they need to think really really long on it, or I'm most likely going to be frustrated, confused, and just simply prone to not liking it.

28 comments:

  1. IF willis is holding a s&w 500 magnum, he's man enough to fire it, once in a while, NOT repeatedly, despite what hollyweird thinks...

    the damn thing could break a wuss' arm... bloody thing's a .50 caliber

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I like the Back to the Future versions better, but this still looks worth checking out. I don't believe time travel is possible, but it's fun in stories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Major spoiler alert!!
    I thought it was one of the best movies I've seen in years. Very smart writing, like Memento. It was the thinking man's science fiction. It did require some concentration, but I had no problem following the plot.
    Sorry, didn't like the newer version of the Time Machine, even though I really dig Pearce.
    Terminator - now that was a cool time travel series.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Remember in the diner, Willis said he could see flashes of what Levitt was about to do, but it wasn't from memory? Makes sense that it worked both ways, and at the end, Levitt caught a flash of what Willis was about to do, which in turn would create rather than destroy the Rainmaker. (Sorry, just remembered that - too early in the morning.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your gifts shower your heartfelt love and concern on your loved ones, and suddenly your gifts result a bonanza to your events. Gifts are the instant rockers of your party, and more importantly, it’s actually a symbol of none other than you. Just visit www.gifts2hongkong.com
    to visit your inner taste for gifting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, man HongkongGifts ^^ if you just knew how often I already visit my inner taste for gifting....and bonanzas... (o_O)

    Sorry to hear you didn't care for Looper much. I still want to see it though, I just won't spend the money to see in on the big screen.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't like watching torture scenes in movies. I'll pass on this one, but I think I will see The Time Machine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think too much and too long all the time. I go to the movies to un-think. So maybe this flick is not for me. Although if Willis is buff, I could let my mind wander on him.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've not seen Looper yet so I didn't read a word after your first sentence. Thanks for the alert.

    Still, I support you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hmmm yes I'm already well aware of your feelings about time travel. I don't really like it but it's part of the sci-fi writer's toolkit. Anyway, I'll probably watch this at some point even if you did spoil the ending. Spoiler!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm not a time travel person myself. Not outside of classic sci-fi anyway. And Quantum Leap. It's too gimicky and rarely thought out. Timescape, though, was great, but there is no traveling involved.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yeah, all that timey whimey stuff can be a real mess. I think you have the same problem I do with certain movies and books--over thinking. We know just enough about theoretical time travel to dwell on the paradoxes. Sometimes I have to just tell myself to relax and enjoy what was there and let it go. So hard!

    Thanks for the warning. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Did you see Adam's post on time travel? It was pretty funny.

    http://www.adamheine.com/2012/09/the-reality-of-time-travel.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wouldn't attempt writing a time travel story, but I think time travel is more realistic when it goes into the future, not the past. This is actually not a far off thing either. They've already proved it's possible.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I skimmed over most of this because of the spoilers. I really want to see this film. I've heard it was a pretty good ride, but to enjoy something like this you likely have to be able to suspend disbelief long enough to buy the premise. If that didn't work for you, then, yeah, I can see why you'd be disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wanted to see this movie...but now, maybe not..

    ReplyDelete
  18. Time travel stories can be very tricky if not done right and will all the loopholes (as in Looper?) closed tight. I guess this movie left a few open. Too bad -- now I'll just wait for the DVD.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Too bad there were such obvious problems with the story. Time travel is tricky, but you'd think they'd try avoiding the less coherent tropes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I hate time travel stories. My brain hurts from thinking about them afterwards, especially if they're flawed, and most are. If I can see the flaws, why can't the writers? Thanks, Michael.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey Michael! Hope things are going well! And I totally agree... I'm a Back to the Future kinda girl. Those shows ROCK!

    ReplyDelete
  22. if its not on red box, we haven't seen it....
    back to the future with Michael j Fox is a favorite here..fun light and entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
  23. shoot; I'd watch it for Bruce Willis, but your review here is more of a Butterfly Effect II type theme. I'm wary of those. But; Bruce Willis . .

    I saw Time Machine last weekend. It had some interesting concepts. I wasn't impressed, but I didn't turn it off either. I think it is a movie I have to watch more than once - and I can't be distracted by blogging or other writing projects.

    Weird: I'm finishing this comment and I looked to the side and there is the "friends don't let friends drink friends" blog post ad. And it made me smile.

    How can I hate and love a show at the same time?

    .......dhole

    ReplyDelete
  24. I did go see this movie this weekend, so after I came back and read this post. Sometimes things just have different impressions on us I suppose. I thought it was stunning. Loved every second of it. I was thinking...



    ...That killing himself was a pretty obvious solution, but I didn't think he would have the moxie to go through with it. I thought it hit the right emotional chord and it worked exactly like they intended on me. I generally find time travel movies to be very illogical, but I thought this one was more well planned than most, but like I said, we each come away with our own interpretations.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The title of your post made me laugh. It's one of the best post titles. Ever.

    I have a problem with many time travel books. I always feel like there are places that don't make sense. I actually read a middle grade one where the kids kept saying they had to keep it a secret, but kept blabbing stuff. I don't understand how the series became popular.

    Sounds like the movies have issues too.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Looper didn't really stand out to me in the previews anyways. I'll probably skip this one or wait for it to come to Netflix.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anything with Michael J Fox is better. I think classics are so memorable it is hard to enjoy anything as much. Let's face it, MJF is an amazing and charismatic actor.

    ReplyDelete