About danusmc3

I come in peace...for now.

Back to the Future

Well, let’s say this first.  What a great telling of paradoxes in the time travel genre.  First, there’s the question about whether a time traveler and/or a time traveling device would run into anything if leaving one time and entering another.  With the DeLorean, this is displayed even more so, because the Flux Capacitor’s power is directly related to the speed of the car.  So, when the car reaches 88mph, the Flux Capacitor generates the necessary electrical power to send the car into the designated time. 


Now we have to contend with not only a car reappearing in an area that may already be occupied by something or someone, but the car is moving in a lateral direction as well, at 88pmh!  So, when Marty McFly travels back in time for the first time, he runs through a corn field, a scarecrow and through a barn door where the DeLorean stops inside as it crashes into bales of hay.

Then comes the idea that you should not tamper with the past.  The slightest instance could result in catastrophic consequences!  “GREAT SCOTT!”  Butterfly Effect, anyone?  So, when Marty accidentally “falls” into the lap of his mother’s home, she becomes smitten with him, and therefore, the chain of events that originally led to her meeting Marty’s father, George, no longer exists. 

Now, Marty has to convince his mother that he’s not for her, convince George (dad) that he’s good enough for Lorraine (mom), and convince mom that George is a worthy mate!  All the while, he must deal with Biff, the local bully/thug. 

And during all this, with the Mom/Dad path disrupted, Marty begins to FADE!  Without his parents meeting, and ultimately hitting it off, he will never be born.  Therefore, his very existence in the past could result in his death long before he’s even born!!  Wrap THAT around your noggin!  “This is heavy,” indeed!

All in all, the movie shows intelligence in the way that it tells the time travel story, but also incorporates enough action, comedy and love story to keep everyone’s attention.  And even if you don’t completely follow the science of science fiction, you’re still okay, because the script allows it to be told in a way that puts you at ease if you don’t completely “get it.” 

This is a great flick; a classic from an era in America that was filled with great achievements in entertainment…the ’80s!! 

The acting is superb, the direction is flawless and the script is a thing of beauty.  There aren’t many movies that Spielberg has done that you can say a lot of bad things about.  No change here.  And Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox display an on-camera chemistry that may make you want to meet the characters in real life…if they were real, that is.

Overall, I would give this a 9 out of 10.  I would recommend this for anyone interested in any number of genres.





12 Monkeys (based on La Jetee)

In the year 1996, nearly five billion people were wiped off the earth by an unkown deadly virus.  In the year 2035, where only about one percent of the population is still living underground, a group of scientists have created a means of time travel.  The “volunteers” that are chosen to return into the past are prisoners of this new time.  One of these prisoners is a man named James Cole (Bruce Willis) has been chosen to return to 1996 to discover the origins of the virus.  He is told that the “Army of the Twelve Monkeys” were the people guilty of the pandemic.  Cole is accidentally sent to 1990 where he meets Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist played by Madeleine Stowe, and a mental patient, Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), who both aid (in their own ways) with his mission.

This movie is based on the short film, “La Jetee” by Chris Marker.  The basic elements of “La Jetee” are used in the film.  James Cole has memories of the past, when he was a child at an airport, where he witnessed a man being killed.  He travels to the past and meets a woman that he does fall in love with.  While the memories alone could offer an interesting take on time travel, David Webb Peoples (screenwriter) adds to the story by incorporating the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, actual time travel, an earth-destroying virus, and an insane sidekick of sorts in the mental patient, Jeffrey Goines.

12 Monkeys Trailer

Brad Pitt as Jeffrey Goines (12 Monkeys)

Time travel is possible through the direction of the scientists.  However, the time travelers have no control over when they end up, so it’s almost a hybrid of time travel films–some that can control what happens and the ones where they cannot.  And in some cases, the scientists’ time travel manipulation goes awry and the time travelers end up in random times; sometimes not even remotely close to the intended destination.

“12 Monkeys” is filled with science fiction, science plausibility, and science fact.  The great thing about the film is that it offers action, drama, mystery, sci-fi, and comedy all at once.  But pay close attention, or you find yourself lost as the story offers great insight to time travel, psychosis, moral imperatives, and more.

A fresh take on the end of the world as we know it, “12 Monkeys” utilizes the superb acting of Willis, Stowe and Pitt (among others) under the direction of Terry Gilliam.  A great part of the story that may go unnoticed by some, is the question, “Can you change the past, thereby changing the present/future?”  Or, is our future already chiseled in stone?  Another question that the movie brings up is, “What is our fate if we continue to explore viruses, manipulate disease, etc?”  When does the study of such things go too far? I was the Nuclear, Biological, & Chemical Defense NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) in the Corps.  Let me tell you, there are a plethora of powerful “macnasties” out there.  It is completely plausible that we could indirectly cause an incident like the one portrayed in “12 Monkeys.”

I never saw “La Jetee” before seeing “12 Monkeys.”  So, when the end revealed several things, I thought it was brilliant.  Actually, I still do.  This is a film that should interest anyone who likes quality films, and don’t thought-provoking and using their own mind to decipher certain aspects.  Mindless popcorn movies are entertaining, but a movie like “12 Monkeys” will leave with synapses firing on all cylinders when it’s done.

My grade?  9 out of 10.

More Jeffrey Goines (Pitt)

Cole (Willis) meets Dr. Rainey (Stowe)

Kindred (Kevin and Dana)…

I’m completely oblivious to any kind of “abusive relationship” between the two.  I have not read ANYTHING that would suggest anything but the contrary.  He and she were completely devoted to each other and loved one another completely.

I do realize however, that there are circumstances that might lead outsiders to believe something bad was happening; such as her arm, etc.  However, when we discussed the behaviors and/or whatever of Kevin, I didn’t see him as abusive at all.  I know Octavia Butler may have written the story to make some people straddle the fence, but perhaps I saw in Kevin what most people did NOT.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I really don’t like when we take a story that someone else has written and skew it to our own “flavor.”

Perhaps, we see the racial tension and assume this based on awkward moments.  If so, we should adhere to the fact that the vast majority of REAL tension appears in the past (within the book), and Kevin never displays anything but love for Dana.  Even during awkward moments…that’s all they are…awkward.  These moments in no way demonstrate an abusive relationship.

One such moment I heard mentioned was in the beginning when he “insisted” that she eat.  Ummm…how is that a problem?  He was interested in her, she was seemingly on a budget, and he bought her food to spend lunch with her.  He said, “EAT.”  I’ve done the same, I’ve had the same done to me.  It was simply Kevin INSISTING that she eat, because she NEEDED to do so, and he bought her lunch because he saw this, along with the fact that he was interested in her.

Finally, why do we “INSIST” on interpreting every-single-thing we read?  Not everything we read has some sort of hidden message behind it.  Usually, the written material will have connotations of the time in which it was written and nothing more.

To me, the awkward situations and the unexplained things that outsiders witnessed were just good story-telling to help the story build.  I don’t think we were ever supposed to HOLD ON to the notion that Kevin was an abusive husband.  I think it was just to set up the beginning of the book.  Maybe I’m wrong, but in the end, Dana and Kevin still loved each other (as they did throughout).

It’s like suggesting that “Transformers” has an underlying meaning of the struggle of white males to catch up to their Japanese counter-parts by embracing the friendship of mechanical juggernauts, since they obviously are incapable of producing such behemoths.

Meh…*throws arms up in the air and leaves the room*…

What would YOU do?

A lot of time travel questions are asked of us fairly often by friends, family and others.  One of these questions is, “If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be?”  Well, there are 3 types of answers that I’ve heard.  One, is the “I wouldn’t change anything, because I am where I am…”  Another answer is one where a person chooses a point in time where he or she chooses to correct a single mistake in his or her past, such as choosing to NOT go out with that particular, regretted “date”, or to choose college over the military, etc. On the flip-side, one could decide to choose a “better” of two choices, rather than simply choosing to NOT select the “bad” one.

The THIRD, and quite possibly the least thought of answer is the one where someone chooses a point in time that seems insignificant at face value.

In my past, what would I change?  I honestly don’t know.  I could choose one of a plethora of bad scenarios.  I could choose to NOT date “that girl.”  I could choose to go back and tell myself not to argue with my mother over the phone while I was in another state, because it would be the last time I would speak with her.  Or what about the decision to give in to the idea of divorce, which ultimately resulted in my children living with their mother in Florida.

Perhaps I could choose to return to my past and tell myself to accept my invitation to Duke University rather than joining the Marine Corps.  Or, what about this one?  I could let myself know that I should be further away from the rail while working at the quarry, so I would NOT get hit by the train that resulted in my termination and being without work for over a year, which also resulted my ex-wife prohibiting me from speaking to or visiting my children for almost a year now.

I could also go further into my childhood and find ways to prevent my mother from becoming addicted to prescription meds that led to foster homes and an orphanage, and at one point, led to me dialing 9-1-1 to save my mother from dying from a seizure that resulted from the use of the medications.

I’m not seeking pity.  I’m simply stating that if you choose to return to the past, where do you go?  What do you do?  And more importantly, what happens as a result of the changes?  If I chose to make certain changes in my past, I might be in different situations now.  I may not be married to my wife now, I may not have two beautiful daughters at all.  And I would have missed out on my travels through the military.

So…what would I change?  There is a lot of heartache and hurt that I could remedy by going back and changing something.  However, I don’t think I would choose to manipulate changes at all.  Perhaps if we learn from our mistakes and/or the past in itself, we can manipulate the future.  The past is done, we must live with it, unfortunately.  I think I would choose to accept it, move on, and prevent further instances as such from happening again.  Or, at least, I’d try.

Life is short, you never know when your “time” is up, or the “time” of others.  Make the most of it.  To quote “The Gravediggas” (rap group), “Life is nothing but a form of animated death.”  Fairly poignant actually.  Once we are born, we begin to die as a process of developing.  Outside forces are ever present to accelerate or passing.  So, choose wisely; and think before you (quantum) leap.

Theories, memories and butterflies…

We as humans can’t comprehend infinite measurements. That phrase alone is an oxymoron. If something is infinite, it can’t be measured anyway. Imagine that your existence is a grain of sand in the center of a large plastic ball…DEAD CENTER…now imagine that everything around it, expanding outward in all directions are the infinite possibilities from every moment of your existence. One solitary instance in your life has infinite consequences. Therefore, whatever you do,can affect everyone and everything around you in infinite ways. It’s the “butterfly effect” (from the chaos theory) where it has been said that if a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world (we’ll say India), then an earthquake takes place in Kansas…AS A RESULT of all the things that happen from that point, all around the world.

Continue reading

Scientific initiative versus Moral imperative

Time travel has been approached from many angles in books, film and television. Ideas have ranged from wormholes, to dimensional travel and more. However, one constant remains the same. What would be the most useful reason to even have the means of traveling in time? Would you use it to get an “A” on your History report (“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”)? Would you use it to save a loved one (“The Time Machine” movie)? Or would you use it to simply go back in time to set right certain wrongs (“Back to the Future” and “12 Monkeys”)?

Time travel can be a slippery slope. To travel into the future could bring insight on what our decisions will bring unless we change our ways, but it could also provide a window to certain outcomes that can corrupt a weaker-willed individual, such as who wins the next 20 Super Bowls.

To travel in the past can offer a first-hand look at historical events to gain a more enlightened perspective. However, simply existing in a previous time—even without interfering—could have dire consequences on all of mankind. As in “The Butterfly Effect,” when Ashton Kutcher’s character travels back to simply stop a mailbox from blowing up when a woman opens it, the ripple effects altered his life in many unseen ways.

I guess the bottom line is to say that while time travel can be considered one of the greatest achievements of humankind, the question you should ask yourself is this. What REAL “good” can come from it, and does the good outweigh the bad?