In Time (Supplemental Viewing)

 In Time takes place in the year 2161, where humans have been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25 years old. When babies are born, they have a year of time imprinted on their arm. As soon as they turn 25, the year starts counting down. So, they have an extra year to live after age 25. The only way to live longer is to steal or borrow time. Here, time is everything. It is currency, it is the law, it is your life. In the same way that we depend on money for things, these people depend on time. Although, it is even more of an necessity. As soon as they get time, whether it is a day, a month, or just an hour, it starts counting down by seconds. If your clock reaches zero, you “time out,” and die instantly. So, it is deathly important to have time. In the ghettos of Dayton, many “young” people live day to day getting by with just barely enough time to survive. However, the rich upper class society of New Greenwich has more than enough time, making them practically immortal. 

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This movie is full of social class conflicts which involve the rich getting more and more time while the poor can barley stay alive. This is an unequal distribution of wealth, only with a different type of currency. The rich control the poor because they own all the time that everyone needs. One man, Philippe Weis, owns everything in the town of Dayton. The story focuses on a citizen of Dayton named Will Salas, who lives with his mother and must fight for time and find it wherever they can. At a bar one night, he witnesses a wealthy man being mugged for his time and helps him escape. The man had lived to be 105 years old and was ready to die. He gives Will 100 years and lets his time run out, killing himself. Will wakes up to find a century on his arm and a note saying “Don’t waste my time.” Since Will was there at the scene of his death, Will is accused of murdering the gracious man. 

An organization called the “Time Keepers” are like today’s policemen, only they monitor the citizens of their time zones very closely. They are comparable to a communist government in that they watch what happens to everyone and try to control them. When someone gives away 100 years, they know it. Every time a new baby is born and a year of time is added to the population, they see that too. So when that much time is placed in the hands of someone who they believe does not deserve it, they will do anything to get it back. This goes along with the theme of government control. The entire movie is a satire of our generation, I’m guessing, and how it could become. In the movie, the Time Keepers raise the cost of living and income tax tremendously almost every week, making it almost impossible for some people to live, because they have to spend all their time on necessities. One character in the film says “Everyone can’t live forever; where would we put them all?” So this is their form of “population control.” If they can’t kill them, they will just make it impossible for them to live. In a sense this happens today. Many hunters of animals say they are doing society justice by participating in “population control.” Also, in the movie the people who lived in a certain place could not go to a different time zone. (Time zones in this film are just like communities or cities in our society.) Each time zone is blocked off by huge barriers, and the only way to get across is to give away months, even years of your life.

This movie was similar to the ideas in The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. Instead of an alternate history, it is an alternate future. (At least I hope that’s an alternate future.) It also reflects some of the inequality in social classes just like Chabon’s book represents. In The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, the Sitka Jews are treated unequally and are forced to move around from place to place because they do not fit in. Especially those that have mixed heritage with Native Alaskans. In Time takes the two major classes of people and splits them up socially. Instead of forcing the poor to move, they keep them from doing so. No one can go anywhere unless they have the time to do it. These are based on actual situations; some people today cannot afford to go anywhere are have nice things because money rules everything. In that same way, time controls their lives.

The movie addresses Darwin’s Natural Selection. This was also addressed in H.G. Well’s The Time Machine. I thought this was interesting because I wrote my midterm paper on this topic. Just like in The Time Machine, there are two distinct classes of people, only here it is the rich and the poor. “Only the strong survive,” says Will Salas, talking about the way that the social classes are split up in this altered universe. the clip below explains how Phillipe Weis (the richest man in Greenwich Village) feels on social evolution that has taken place.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection/

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection.swf<div style=”font-size:12px;”><a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7592793/in_time_clip_natural_selection/”>In Time Clip – “Natural Selection”</a>. Watch more top selected videos about: <a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/topics/Movie_Trailers/&#8221; title=”Movie_Trailers”>Movie Trailers</a>, <a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/topics/In_Time_(film)/&#8221; title=”In_Time_(film)”>In Time (film)</a></div>

I thought In Time was very interesting. I never thought about it that way, “What if time ruled everything?” I’ve heard the age old saying “Time is money,” but never thought about it in this aspect. Time really is money for the people in this movie. It made me think about how risky it would be living your life with only seconds left, knowing the exact moment you would die. However, I don’t think I would want to know when I was going to die. Also, people killed each other just so they could steal time. If someone walked around with a lot of time on them, they could get shot in the street. I thought that would make life a lot more dangerous. This movie was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat at times. It makes the viewer see what it is like to live from day to day, or in this case minute to minute. Just like the characters lived a life of uncertainty, as the viewer you feel what they are feeling. It also made me appreciate aging. If we all stopped aging at 25, we would all look the same and you wouldn’t be able to tell who was your elder and who was younger than you. So, be careful what you wish for. In Time was a great movie and I would definitely watch it again.

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Time Bandits (Supplemental Screening)

Time Bandits was an interesting movie about a boy who gets tangled up with a band of time-traveling dwarves. These dwarves use map from the Supreme Being, the creator of all, to travel through time portals and get rich by robbing rich historical figures. Kevin joins the bandits when they accidentally step through a portal that leads to his bedroom. Together they encounter people from Napoleon Bonaparte to Robin Hood. 

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This movie was included in the standard time travel category, which is the same genre as The Time Machine. This movie incorporates the method of time travel in which the travelers use a tool to transport them into the past or future. In this case, it is not a time machine but a map. The difference is that they did not have to build or construct anything. The mystical force is already there. The bandits step through time portals. I noticed a similarity to the Dr. Who episode we watched in class. It seems as though in time travel stories there is always a sense of urgency. A risk is presented in traveling through time that you may get “stuck” in one time period forever. In Time Bandits, these time portals would open up, but only for a short amount of time. They had to hurry and make it back to their portal before it closed. This is how the Doctor traveled in Dr. Who. He always had the same sense of urgency and risk whenever he would travel back and forth through the centuries. 

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Another recurring theme is the idea of having an important task that must be done in the time period in which they are. This is a similarity to Kindred in a way. Of course, these bandits are doing their job for more selfish purposes. In Kindred, Dana had a job to do before she could return home. She had to take care of Rufus and make sure he did not kill himself for the sake of her prosperity and the generations to come. The time bandits have a job to do, but it is strictly chosen. They are time traveling intentionally. It is not forced upon them as it was in Dana’s situation. These robbers are greedy and use the magic of time travel for monetary gains. 

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam included some social commentary in his movie. He wrote the screenplay with Michael Palin; both writers of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, along with other Monty Python movies. No wonder Time Bandits has the same mocking sarcasm and humor as the Monty Python films. A clip from this movie shows Napoleon Bonaparte watching a puppet show as the Battle of Castillion is raging on. His commanders kindly ask to surrender the battle as all of the soldiers are tired. Napoleon does not seem to care at all and is more concerned with the puppet show and his entertainment.

http://www.Reelz.com/trailer-clips/45048/time-bandits-clip

 

As it has been mentioned in class, it is easier to comment on the past than it is to comment on the present time period. This film makes a jab at the ruling of Napoleon during the last battle of the Hundred Years’ War. He displays an extreme sense of apathy toward his right hand men’s requests. It makes me wonder what Gilliam was trying to convey with this message. I’m not entirely sure but usually in these instances it has something to do with dissatisfaction with current leadership. Since one cannot come right out and say, “This guy sucks,” or “I hate this,” he uses the past to portray the feelings he may have. Since the past has already happened, it is more okay to sort of “make fun” of it. 

This film also has some religious insights as well. The Supreme Being and Evil have a God versus Satan correspondence. The Fortress of Ultimate Darkness is kind of like a hell for these people. They were drawn to it in hopes of finding “The Most Fabulous Object in the World,” then get trapped as Evil tries to take over the world with the power of the map he has obtained. It kind of reminded me of a Sunday school lesson I once had. They always tell you that evil or sin looks appealing, but it’s just a trap. This is what the bandits learn very quickly as they are immediately locked in a floating cage. In the end, they have an ultimate battle against Evil to escape alive and get the map back in their possesion. It seems as though Evil is going to prevail but the Supreme Being comes in just in time to save them. He tells them that he has seen everything that they have been through and allowed them to go through these dangerous situations, but he is always there to save them. 

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Time Bandits had a lot more fantasy elements than the books we have read or movies we’ve seen. It incorporated many imaginary figures. King Agamemnon in Mycenaean Greece battles a minotaur, cuts of his head, and presents it to his people. Another instance with imaginary creatures is when the bandits get stuck on an ogre’s ship and almost get eaten. They cleverly escape by pushing the ogre and his wife into the water. The last mystical creature they encounter is the giant. Once they take over the ogre’s ship, a huge giant emerges from the water. The ship is somehow attached to the giant’s head, but they escape by giving the giant sleeping potion. 

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I thought this movie was a thrilling adventure. It had many elements that we have explored throughout the year as well as some new ones. It kept me on the edge of my seat and was always unexpected. Especially that ending when Kevin’s parents explode…..? Anyway, the film did a great job of exploring many different time periods and displaying them in a cool way. I thought it was interesting that it incorporated mystical elements with real ones. It is definitely an unusual twist on a time travel story. Overall, I enjoyed Time Bandits and would recommend it to anyone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6X9KcrXHwg (Ha ha)

What happens, happens

It is interesting to see that so many works we have read encounter the same paradox: Items in the future cannot be brought into the past, and items in the past cannot be brought into the future. The Tyme Safari had strict rules about what visitors can or cannot do while adventuring through the era of the dinosaurs. When the hunters killed their “game” they could not carry it with them, they could only take a picture with it. It was as if any wrong move could disrupt the future forever. Just as we were talking in last class, I’ve been thinking about the fact of stepping on a mouse and endangering thousands of species yet to be born. It is a cool thought that everything that has already happened, happened perfectly so that our present would be exactly as it is now. Although the things we do in the present may change our future, we do not worry about it because we don’t know what the future holds. Do people who believe in destiny treat every action as if it were in the past, like it was supposed to happen? Maybe if people thought about it this way, we would be more careful with the things we do. However, it doesn’t really matter because whatever happens, happens. These are just the thoughts that arose from Sound of Thunder and our discussions. I may drive myself crazy thinking about this, but it’s good food for thought.

Time-Distorted Reality

“I had begun to feel-feel, not think – that a great deal of time had passed for me too. It was a vague feeling, but it seemed right and comfortable. More comfortable than trying to keep in mind what was really happening. Some part of me had apparently gien up on time-distorted reality and smoothed things out.”

Kindred has many differences than other time-travel novels. One of those is that it doesn’t seem to fit the cookie cutter mold of a science fiction novel. The storyline is almost like a drama instead of a time-travel novel, even though there is time travel in the novel. The big similarity that Kindred has to time travel novels is the unusual paradox of two time speeds The idea that time moves faster for one person than it does the other is prevalent in Octavia Butler’s novel. In the quote above, Dana realizes that time seems to be a little more than relative. It is distorted for her and not for the other people around her. She tries to explain this to Rufus and how when he was drowning that day as a little boy, she came to rescue him but came back to her time period with only a few seconds passing. Two months to him is like a few minutes/hours to her.

This happened in the Dr. Who episode we watched in class. For The Doctor, time elapsed quickly, but for the damsel in distress, it was normal. Maybe these time travel writers are trying to tell us something about the way we see time in “the future,” or present day as compared to how it was in the past. This concept is a recurring theme that does not go unnoticed. 

Rabbit Holes through Time

As I’ve been in this time travel literature class, more and more unusual things have been brought to my attention. The aspects of social norms seeming strange and going into the unknown have been my lingering thoughts. I’ve started to notice these aspects in many other well known works. One of my favorite movies, which is also a highly loved Disney classic, is Alice in Wonderland. This tale of a curious little girl wandering through her mind into the unknown has been around for a very long time. But how many people do you think would classify this as a sci-fi work? 

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There are numerous aspects of time travel in this story. Granted, Alice does not necessarily travel through time, but she does encounter things that would not have happened in her reality. She enters the Queen’s world, where everything is nonsense to her. This reminds me a little of the Eloi in H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” They way that these creatures are perceived by the Time Traveler is similar to how Alice sees the many bizarre characters in Wonderland. Both tales have something in common. They seem as though they would just be a figment of imagination. Both Alice and the Time Traveller encounter things that they would have never thought about before. 

Talking caterpillars, rabbits with wristwatches, a queen whose subjects are a deck of cards… these things are all what we would consider “imaginary.” When we imagine things, we usually think, “That’s impossible.” But do we ever stop to think that maybe it would be possible if it were thousands of years into our future?  Mr. Butler mentioned Skype technology and how we take it for granted. In 1827, I’m fairly positive that most people would have never dreamed of having a device where you could view the person you’re talking to. We’re living in a Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century world. These things are becoming possible. Alice may have travelled into the future in her dream, making the imaginary seem real.

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I know I’ve already made several comparisons, but I’d like to link the story of Alice to the episode of Dr. Who that we watched in class yesterday. Dr. Who said himself that this spaceship they were on had “holes through the universe.” He jumped through one hole into a different time, then jumped back into the future. As I was pondering on Alice in Wonderland, the same concept of falling through to a different universe came to my mind. Alice ends up, completely on accident of course, somewhere she’s never imagined before, through a rabbit hole. These comparisons can be made in many different works of literature and film. This one seemed to stand out to me because of the love I have for this movie.

Time for Culture

On thinking about time, I’ve found it interesting how much we depend on this abstract notion. Time is different depending on where you are in the world, and everyone has his or her own viewpoint on it. Different cultures have different opinions on the importance of time. It seems that just about everywhere here in the good ole’ USA, we are completely dependent on time. Being “on time” is a huge necessity, and someone not being punctual is considered a character flaw. Everything has a deadline, and all events start on time.

I visited the beautiful island of Puerto Rico in 2010 and noticed some interesting things about Puertorricans’ perception of time. Things seem to move at a much slower pace on “Island Time.” I was there with a group of students from my high school, so we had lots of things to do. Everything onour itinerary started at least 30 minutes late, if not an hour. It made a lot of people on the trip mad, but the Puertorricans had not a care in the world. We waited an hour for our boat ride on the Bioluminescent Bay to start. When the driver of the boat finally arrived, he greeted us with a smile and acted as if it was no problem that he was late. Most of the Alabamians were completely irritated at this point, but the locals always stayed with a pleasant attitude. I enjoyed seeing this take on time and how people who do not let time run their lives seem to be happier. Not to say that Americans are unhappy…. (well, maybe) but the mindset is completely different.

Related to time travel: if time didn’t matter to anyone, time travel would not be such a hot topic, because the events of the past and the future would be irrelevant. Nothing would matter because people would see only “the now.” What is happening at this moment and this moment only. It would be hard to imagine a world like that because our world is so very depended on the existence of time, the past, and the future. However, even though some cultures see time as less important than others, it still happens whether we want it to or not.