ReelSociety Forums


Your home for all Reel and Real discussions.

#26 - Primer (2004)

Like a book club, but for movies instead. Hosted by NSpan.

Moderators: Buscemi, BarcaRulz, Geezer, W

#26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » June 23rd, 2010, 1:22 pm

Image

Even if you've seen Primer, pick out one of the Movie Club-Sandwich picks that isn't already familiar to you:



Recommended Double-Features:

La Jetée (1962)
Timecrimes (2007)
Triangle (2009)
Last edited by NSpan on July 9th, 2010, 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Advertisement

 

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby becs » June 23rd, 2010, 1:52 pm

Great movie! some odd pairings to me at least, but I've had Timecrimes on my netflix list for a long time, so I'll try to check it out and comment.
At least we can abort fetuses. Bad grammar and language last a lifetime.
- Donte
User avatar
becs
Marty McFly
 
Posts: 788
Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 10:27 pm

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » June 23rd, 2010, 2:30 pm

Kate and I just got Timecrimes in from Netflix. We're excited to watch it (but we have dinner-guests coming over tonight.... so we're gonna have to wait.)
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby numbersix » June 23rd, 2010, 2:48 pm

Fake a seizure and you can watch it tonight. That has gotten me out of plenty of situations.

Except Epileptics Anonymous.
User avatar
numbersix
The Dude
 
Posts: 9658
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 2:34 pm

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » July 9th, 2010, 4:54 am

I just finished Timecrimes. Awesome movie. I'll elaborate when a few more people have seen it. Do yourself a favor and rent it WITHOUT reading any more about it--or even watching the trailer. Just watch it with a blank-slate.

In the meantime, I will say: Timecrimes is far more Triangle than it is Primer. The former two are fun thrillers (horror in Triangle's case), but I don't think they hold up under close examination. Primer is the only one of the three (or, hell, of the entire time-travel GENRE) that can be analyzed, and ALL the loose-ends are tied up.
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby numbersix » July 9th, 2010, 5:20 am

Well, I dug your recommendation of Triangle, so I'll check out Timecrimes.

Speaking of Triangle, Black Death was released over here to mixed reviews. Never got around to seeing it but I'll check it on on DVD. I'm sure it'll be out in time for Halloween.
User avatar
numbersix
The Dude
 
Posts: 9658
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 2:34 pm

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » July 9th, 2010, 5:43 am

If you get to see it, I'd love to hear your opinion
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby numbersix » July 12th, 2010, 7:14 pm

Well, had a spare evening so got my hands on Timecrimes. And to be honest, I was not that impressed. Perhaps it's because I've seen Triangle, which is better, and also Primer, which I can only assume was a direct inspiration for Timecrimes, and also is far better than this movie.

It is, however, great to see low-budget films with high concepts. I do appreciate people trying to play around with what Primer did, and I have recommended Triangle to several friends (with a disclaimer that's as you say, NSpan, it is fun and not much more). But watching Timecrimes I felt that there were far too many contrivances for me to ignore and sit back and enjoy.

Firstly, there's of course the whole problem with the entire plot. There needs to be an original incident that sets off the whole loop. But the film has a paradox it can't explain (i.e. Hector 1 goes to the time mahine because he saw Hector 2. But Hector 2 only does this because of Hector 1. Therefore how could this have originally happened? There has to be a start to the loop but becaus of this interaction there isn't).

Then as the film progresses there's far too many bizarre actions by characters. The most obvious is the girl. Why is she so passive? Why does she take off her top at the fence without hesitating, or trying to run away? Why does she believe Hector 3 who is clearly acting strangely? And even Hector himself makes some strange decisions. He moves pretty damn quickly from doubting what's happening at first, to doing everything to ensure the loop happens, including threatening to stab a girl. Sure he knows he won't, but the transition from settling on that decision was poorly told. Then at the end why is the wife so passive? Sure she can be in shock but I find it hard to believe she can just sit there on the deckchair with her back to everything and just buy that. Even the most shocked people need to see what it is that's shocking them!

The performances weren't particularly great either. Hector was a bit lifeless and bland. The scene where he bullies the machine operator feels very laboured in terms of blocking, and overall they felt like devices to move the plot as opposed to characters. It's a common problem with the horror genre and something I never felt in Primer, and not even in Triangle.

So yeah, overall an interesting idea, but there's far too many problems to be able to ignore and enjoy. Average for me.
User avatar
numbersix
The Dude
 
Posts: 9658
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 2:34 pm

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby Buscemi » July 12th, 2010, 7:16 pm

I didn't like Timecrimes either. The acting is what killed it for me.
Everything on this post is strictly the opinion and only the opinion of Buscemi.

Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1244530511/playlist/6exMMnE4Kpu99GBj16VEmr
User avatar
Buscemi
CONGRATS! You may now chose your own rank!
 
Posts: 16164
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 11:14 am
Location: Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » July 13th, 2010, 6:16 pm

Did you guys watch it dubbed or with subtitles?

NSpan wrote:In the meantime, I will say: Timecrimes is far more Triangle than it is Primer..

I think this was as much of a disclaimer as I could give without revealing the story itself.

So... I don't think this movie warrants too much further discussion, but--because speculating about time travel is fun--I might mention one thing: depending on your definition of time, the base premise of time-travel can create a irreconcilable paradox in itself. The fact that this movie uses an atypical set of "rules" for time-travel isn't reason enough to dismiss it. Without getting into all the theory (mostly because there's too damn much of it), let's simplify the various approaches to time-travel into two simple categories: (1) one time-line and (2) multiple time-lines. Most movies take the latter approach, and their respective time-machines essentially create a new universe with each use (think of the branching diagram that Doc Brown draws in Back to the Future). Timecrimes takes the former approach, and this time-machine simply moves the user "forward" and "backward" on the same time-line--without spawning new realities (the diagram drawn in this film seems to be a very conscious derivation from that in Back to the Future... Notice no branches, just ONE line).

Image

But the chronology of it is relative when it comes to time-travel. In this scenario, if the time machine EVER works, the results will be immediately evident. The future doesn't have to "happen" first for its effects to materialize. That's the paradox right there. You don't need to even get into the details of the movie to see the "problem." If these rules were applied to our lives, we could assuredly say that time-travel (to the past) will NEVER happen--or, if it does, it will never be revealed to people living up to July 13, 2010. Otherwise, we would've already met a time-traveler from the future--and been stuck with one helluva paradox to sort out..

The multiple time-lines approach seems more logical, at least superficially. In this scenario, we have to build a time-machine BEFORE seeing the effects of one. Even if there will be a time-machine created in 2050, we'd still have to reach that point in this time-line before a time-traveler could go "back" into the past, creating new time-lines. That logic almost seems intuitive. But the ramifications are severe. Morally, I think most people would agree that you don't just go around creating universes without just cause (and what constitutes just cause?). Philosophically and theologically, the premise of multiple time-lines pretty much reduces the importance of the individual or "being" to squat--seeing as there is a limitless supply of You ("Dasein") living happily in alternate realities. The traditional concept of a soul immediately goes out the window--and even post-moderners embrace their own "uniqueness"... but that's gone, too. The value of life drops to almost-nothing. Morality is rendered meaningless.

I could go on, but the point is: even though most movies usually employ the "multiple time-lines" approach, it doesn't necessarily need to be the standard for the genre--especially considering the endless problems created by the existence of more than one time-line. Timecrimes embraces a different set of rules, and it manages to stay logically consistent throughout.... the keyword being "consistent." You may think the logic is stupid, but at least it doesn't break the rules it sets for itself. I'm not saying it was "smart"--but I think it's worth mentioning that the seemingly obvious "plot-holes" aren't plot-holes. The paradox had to exist somewhere--and, I feel, the movie acknowledges it. If that's all true of the production, the ending is fantastic. The protagonist is pro-active within the chain of events up until a point of "satisfaction" (though it's far from a "happy" ending) at which he accepts fate and goes stargazing.


On a tangent, does it bother anyone else when Marty McFly returns home at the end of the first movie to a present-day where his family is rich and successful--but he knows NOTHING of his childhood or the present-state of his life? How is THAT a happy ending?
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby Buscemi » July 13th, 2010, 6:40 pm

Was there even a dubbed version of Timecrimes?
Everything on this post is strictly the opinion and only the opinion of Buscemi.

Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1244530511/playlist/6exMMnE4Kpu99GBj16VEmr
User avatar
Buscemi
CONGRATS! You may now chose your own rank!
 
Posts: 16164
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 11:14 am
Location: Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » July 13th, 2010, 6:47 pm

Yes, it was the default setting on my DVD (from Netflix). I had to restart it and change the option in the menu to SUBTITLES.
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby silversurfer19 » July 13th, 2010, 8:26 pm

I watched Timecrimes a little while ago, can't remember my exact thoughts on the movie, but I did enjoy it despite six's "plotholes". I'm with NSpan on this one, I think the timeline allowed some of the deviations from traditonal rules of time travel. I may have to rewatch it if I get the chance just to refresh.
User avatar
silversurfer19
Norman Bates
 
Posts: 7303
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 3:34 pm
Location: pretty much the ass end of the universe

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby numbersix » July 14th, 2010, 5:27 am

Okay, well I should add the the paradox plothole is only a small part of my problem with Timecrimes. I would have bought that if it wasn't for the bizarre and frankly unbelievable actions of the characters.

NSpan, your post was probably far more profound and had far more thought put into it than Timecrimes probably did! It's a very interesting point you made about the two ways of seeing time travel, either as a single timeline in which everything happens, or as parallel/alternate timelines that occur once time travel occurs. I've no idea which is considered to be more scientifically accurate. Probably neither. I wonder if you look the the dichotomy does it seem to fit in with the dichotomy of free will Vs determinism. If you go with the one-timeline theory of time travel, the paradox suggests that we have no free will, whatever will happen has already happened, so to speak. With alternative timelines, your actions are free in that they will just generate new timelines. It's no wonder most "mainstream" time travel movies go for the alternative timeline film.

Okay, so Timecrimes has a glaring paradox (how did it all start when the catalyst is the main character having already time travelled after seeing that catalyst and so on and so on). But perhaps my issue is that the paradox was so glarding as to distract me. Primer also works ont he singular timeline concept of time travel but manages to avoid the headache of the paradox by ensuring that the catalyst of the plot isn't caused by a future self (in fact the characters go out of their way to avoid future/past selves in order to ensure the paradox doesn't happen). Triangle isn't as scientific and can be explained by magic/mystery/black holes/whatever. Personally I would have preferred to see the events that cause Timecrimes' plot to be more ambiguous, because surely such a paradox suggests that time travel can't happen? But as you say NSpan, perhaps they wanted it to be evident so they could show they're aware of it, embracing it as oposed to hiding it under the carpet.

But anyway, getting back to my opinion of the film, SS, this paradox isn't the problem of the film. As I said, I could have easily forgiven that but there's just so many issues with characters and motivation (particularly the girl) that I felt that they were merely being used as plot devices and rarely felt like actual characters. Now that bothered me FAR more than time-travel paradoxes.

Oh yeah, I saw it with subtitles. Poor dubbing can be very distracting.
User avatar
numbersix
The Dude
 
Posts: 9658
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 2:34 pm

Re: #26 - Primer (2004)

Postby NSpan » July 19th, 2010, 4:05 pm

http://www.cracked.com/video_18203_why-back-to-future-secretly-horrifying.html

This video came out today. Pretty funny, even though they don't focus on my particular problem with Back to the Future (though they do make passing mention of a "weird bastard time-paradox kid" arriving, in the finale, back to the future).
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
User avatar
NSpan
Frank Booth
 
Posts: 2746
Joined: October 21st, 2009, 7:52 pm
Location: Monrovia, CA

Next

Return to The Movie Club

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests