Love and murder across time (#SFWApro)

ETERNITY (2006) is a good Philippine fantasy in which a modern day Romeo/Juliet couple discover they’re reincarnations of Doomed Lovers cursed by the mother of one of their past incarnations to suffer tragedy, unless they can break the curse. This qualifies for the appendix of my time-travel book in that by sacrificing herself in the Present, the Pretty Girl changes history to trigger a blessing instead of a curse. “It began with love, but it also ended with it.”

DON’T FOOL WITH LOVE (1990) is a Mexican anthology film based on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ stories, qualifying for the book with “The Two Sided Mirror” in which a bride-to-be discovers her antique mirror lets her communicate with a 19th-century military officer, with the usual consequences of shifting affections. I’d have liked to pay attention to the rest of the movie even though it didn’t qualify, but time was not my friend. “There is a lot of time in that girl’s minutes.”

BERKELEY SQUARE (1933) is another example of why it’s important to watch movies, not just read synopses (and thanks to my friend Ross for taping this one off the air). Most of the synopses of this film, in which Leslie Howard trades places with his Georgian-era ancestor, make it sound like a love story, which it is, and mention Howard’s disillusionment with the past in passing. In reality, the clash of time-cultures is at least as important a factor as Howard is horrified by the lack of personal cleanliness and manners of the 1700s and the people around him are just as alarmed by his odd quirks and his strange slang. In fact I’m inclined to suggest Midnight in Paris as a double bill for being equally skeptical about nostalgia. “Sir, that is the most magnificent compliment ever paid to Great Britain.”

Now, the murder—FRENCHMAN’S FARM (1987) is an Aussie thriller in which a young woman falls back in time to witness a WW II murder at the eponymous isolated farmhouse. Back in the present she makes the foolish mistake of digging into it, which the police already know is a problem (“Every time we enter records on the case in our files, the computer wipes them.”). This is ultimately a competently done ghost story, but as the opening clearly appears to be time-travel rather than just a vision of the past event, the movie makes the appendix. “He’s a bit like a virgin—you know they’re around, you just can’t find them.”

AFGHAN KNIGHTS (2007) is a mediocre action films that for some reason got on one of the Internet time-travel film lists I use for research. The only thing even close to time travel is that the magical McGuffins involves in this Afghanistan mission apparently raise the ghost of Genghis Khan, and that doesn’t make the cut for me. In its own right, uninteresting. “This is only a fraction of what he owes me.”

FUTURE WAR (1997) is one of those films where a cool idea is trashed by pedestrian execution (whether lack of budget or they just didn’t care). Representatives of a ruling caste of cyborgs from Earth’s future hunt an escaped slave through time to the present where they track him down with genetically engineered dinosaurs. Unfortunately, everything from special effects to action sequences to acting is blandly done, but it definitely qualifies for the book. “Greater love hath no man than this—I want to be that man.”’

THE LATHE OF HEAVEN (1980 ) got a lot of attention when it came out for adapting a serious SF novel and doing so faithfully (much more so than the 2002 movie)  The story of how a psychiatrist uses his patient’s dreams to manipulate history (for our own good of course) is compelling, and avoids most of the book’s technobabble. On the downside, the ending is incomprehensible (the book pulled it off) and this is the third time I’ve seen the film. Still, well worth catching.“I’m going to do what no politician, no scientist, no philosopher has ever done—I’m going to make the world right.”

IVAN VASSILYEVICH CHANGES OCCUPATION (1973) is a Russian slapstick comedy in which a scientist’s time machine trades Ivan the Terrible for the scientist’s apartment building’s lookalike officious manager. While I can see a lot of these jokes are probably Russian specific (particularly about apartment life) they translate pretty well; if not classic comedy, fun enough. “Lascivious shrimp, beg the Boyar woman if she give you life or death!”

1 Comment

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

One response to “Love and murder across time (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Learning life lessons from time travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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