stuck in a time loop
Of course I realize we’re stuck in a time loop. I’m not an idiot. Actually, a character on The Magicians says something similar, though with a bit more resignation, as he’s not powerful enough to change anything. The inevitability of the future, or the past, or whatever, is a recurring theme in time travel movies. Except when the theme is that things aren’t inevitable.
I liked Looper, mostly because it didn’t dwell on the time travel.
Everybody likes Primer. I thought the pacing worked really well. It develops at just the right speed to keep things interesting but without losing the audience. And then when things get crazy, it still makes a certain amount of sense. Iterative plot thickening. Now, with all the looping that takes place, is time mutable or not? If you go back and replace yourself, did that always happen? In order to come out of the box, you had to go into the box, so what does that mean about predestination?
Predestination stars Ethan Hawke as a time cop, who crosses paths with himself multiple times. Recommended. We see the story unfold from multiple angles, and even after we deduce what’s happening, it’s still fun to continue watching. This movie doesn’t wrestle with the mutability or not of time. Things happen, and that’s what happens, even if the chronology isn’t strictly linear.
In ARQ, a dude invents a perpetual energy machine, but it’s really a perpetual time machine, but it’s not really more time, just an endless amount of the same time. The bad guys break in and steal his bitcoins and apples (as in fruit, which don’t exist in the dystopian future) and he fights back, poorly. Then he dies and wakes up and does it again. And again. Like Edge of Tomorrow, except the world outside is more Mad Max, even though the entire movie takes place in the house. What’s different here is that the motivation of the bad guys is a little more complicated, and only revealed after repeated attempts to thwart them. But then the bad guys start remembering they’re stuck in a time loop. Some bizarre explanation about how far you are from the ARQ when time resets. The ARQ itself has a magic memory core that’s like a message in a bottle, so you can leave little notes for future past you. If only you’d think to look for them before dying.
Speaking of messages in a bottle, in Time Lapse a camera takes a photo 24 hours in the future, but prints it now. This is rather convenient if you happen to be a painter with painter’s block. Just look at today’s photo and you can see what you paint tomorrow. Then comes the inevitably ominous photos. What happens next is exactly what you’d expect to happen, don’t need a crystal ball to see it coming. Nevertheless, well structured. Better than Paycheck.
Synchronicity has a time machine much like Primer. You can’t send anything back in time unless there’s a machine already there for it to come out of. So if you want to test the machine in five days, you need to turn it on today and see what you get. Perhaps a flower? And so shortly after the test, if you meet a pretty girl with said flower, you should probably talk to her. In another wrinkle, you have to buy the flower from a very rich, very greedy Michael Ironside, who wants to own 99% of your invention. But if you don’t make the deal, you can’t complete the test. What happens then? I don’t know, because obviously you make the deal because you already made the deal. But you have the brilliant idea that now that you know you’re going to get screwed, you can jump in the time machine and go back and fix things. Which, well, turns out to be more the nature of the problem than its solution. The inevitability of the time loop means the more you try to change things, the more you cause the thing you want to change. This got not great reviews, but I enjoyed it, though the ending may be weak. They’re trying very hard for a Blade Runner look here, with inexplicable indoor haze everywhere. Maybe a splash of Gattaca.
Paradox is a another movie I found on Netflix. Something like And Then There Were None. Mostly meh on this one. The only intrigue here is first knowing what happens and then rewinding an hour, so we can watch it inevitably unfold. Of course, this concept works for movies without time travel too. “One hour before.” It’s a little different because the characters are also aware of their inevitable deaths, but that mostly just makes them whiny. And they say shit like “quark gluon” from time to time for no particular reason.