Monday, January 26, 2009

Primer is looping in my mind

I am pretty busy these days. I have research, I have schoolwork, and I'm trying to apply for more research in the summer. I think I'm also supposed to apply for apartments at some point. Naturally, I need lots of distractions to keep my mind off of all that.

Yeah, so I just saw this movie called Primer. This movie makes me want to crawl into a box, wait ninety minutes, come out, and watch again, repeating as necessary until I can understand the damn thing. It's a movie about two engineers who accidentally create a box which allows its contents to move backwards in time. You can only travel back to the point when you turned on the box. Dramatic hijinks ensue!

I find time travel fiction to somewhat disappointing at times. Time travel has great potential to truly complicate a storyline. Just think of the paradoxes you could create. The very first thing I would do with a time machine is intentionally create a paradox to see what happens. Oh yes, I'd be quite the mad scientist (as opposed to a mad engineer) if I had a time machine in my hands. Imagine the contortions that the plot would have to go through in order to create consistency. It would have to be a complete maze in order for it to make any sense. Unfortunately, most time travel fiction feels contrived in order to be comprehensible. Not Primer. Primer revels in being impossible to figure out. I heard a rumor on the internets that there is a unique solution to the movie, but I think it would take an entire book to describe.

One thing that certainly makes it hard, is how realistic it all is. As in, the science and scientists are portrayed realistically. The dialogue is not dumbed down at all. The time machine doesn't have anything in the way of flashing lights to indicate when the time travel is happening. The acting is surprisingly good, but also very plain and understated. It's cryptic, but gives the movie a unique feel. And now I want to crawl into that box for just a moment...

But I think if every fictional portrayal of science were like this, I would pull my hair out, because I just don't have time for it.