And now, Time Travel! (#SFWApro)

Continuing work on my book—THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (1980) has the USS Nimitz time-traveling back to Dec. 6 1941, leaving Kirk Douglas, James Farentino and Martin Sheen debating whether to change history by stopping the next day’s attack (I did like Douglas’ matter-of-fact declaration that as a US Navy captain he was going to defend his country regardless of what effect it had on their future). Unfortunately the script does nothing with the concept, as they no sooner decide to intervene than they return to the present: It reads like the writers thought the concept was so amazing they didn’t have to develop it any. Charles Durning and Katherine Ross are 1941 inhabitants caught up in things. “I have a suspicion history will be a little more difficult to beat than you imagine.”

CLICK (2006) is my first Adam Sandler movie and I’ll be fine if it’s my last. Sandler plays a stressed-out workaholic with anger management issues (I know that’s part of his shtick but playing pranks on the neighbor’s pre-teen kid comes off way too mean-spirited) who acquires a magic remote that turns his life into a DVD. He can fast-forward through boring parts, rewatch the great moments, mute obnoxious relatives … only to discover he’s fast-forwarded through the best years of his life without intending it. This did tug my heart-strings near the end, but not enough, and the logic holes are huge: As fast-forwarding doesn’t actually add extra time, how does it help him become more efficient? David Hasselhoff plays Sandler’s blowhard boss, Kate Beckinsale is his wife and Christopher Walken is the techie who hands him the remote. “Did you put shit in my lunch?”

JUDAS KISS (2011) has a washed-up wunderkind film-maker discovers the hotshot front runner in the college film contest he’s judging is actually his younger self (this doesn’t make a lot of sense as his past-self is apparently a real person in the present). A mysterious old man warns the movie-maker that by rejecting the kid’s submission, he can shatter his arrogance and fix his own screw-ups, but that of course proves harder than expected. This would double-bill well with Disney’s The Kid, but it’s way too muddled in its time games. “I’m walking down memory lane and I tripped over you.”

MR. NOBODY (2009) is a horribly arty film in which aging Jared Leto baffles a reporter by reminiscing about what appear to be multiple alternative lives depending on which divorcing parent he lived with and which woman he finally marries. Tedious, and it doesn’t even make the cut (this is a precognition-movie, not a parallel world one, and I’m not including precogs).“Everything you say, I said myself when I was young.”

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) is the best of the week, the only movie I know of to consider the idea that in a multiverse where every possibility happens on some world, no action we take is significant (it’s just a matter of which divergence we land in). Owlman (James Wood) of the Crime Syndicate—an evil parallel-world JLA—has figured out the only way to be truly unique is to use his quantum bomb to wipe out all realities, but can his own team and the JLA possibly stop him? Scripted by the late Dwayne McDuffie, this presents an interesting alternative Earth and includes Gina Torres, Chris Noth and Mark Harmon among the voices. “We both looked into the abyss—but when it gazed back, you blinked.”

THE LAST MIMZY (2007) is the family-friendly version of the Henry Kuttner/C.L. Moore classic “Mimsy Were the Borogoves.” The short story involves weirdly alien future toys that fall into the hands of present-day children for a bad result. In the movie, the toys are sent back as future humanity’s desperate attempt to save itself from both chemical and cultural pollution (did you know cultural pollution can destroy your genes? Be warned!). Not really bad, just very familiar, right down to including clueless federal agents intervening at the wrong time. With Michael Clarke Duncan as an FBI man and Timothy Hutton and Joely Richardson as frightened parents. “Look—Alice had a Mimzy too.”


Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel, Writing

9 responses to “And now, Time Travel! (#SFWApro)

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