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)