I guess I should really start off by being honest and letting you know up front that there’s an underlying motive for this blog, which starts with the fact that I was just reading the April 2011 issue of Discover Magazine.
As part of a review of the forthcoming movie Source Code (scheduled to open on April), the reviewer mentioned two films of which I was previously unaware.
One of these films was Donnie Darko. The leader on Amazon starts off saying: “During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night, and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds.”
My initial reaction was “Do I really want to see yet another film about demonic-looking rabbits?” (I’ve still not recovered from “the incident” [grin]), but there are a whole bunch of reviews for this film and they all score very highly. Also, the Director's Cut version was only $13.16, so I thought “What the heck?” and ordered it. (For some reason, the Original Cut sells for $39.95, which I thought was over the top, but if you’ve seen both versions I’d love to hear your views as to which one is the one to see.)
But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about (grin). The other film was Primer, which was described (in Discover Magazine) as follows: "Despite its puny $7,000 budget, Shane Carruth’s 2004 cult classic stitched together one of the trippiest movie versions of time travel. Be prepared to watch it several times to decipher the convoluted time line.”
Now I have to say that this one really caught my eye, because I very much enjoy stories about time travel. But when I bounced over to check it out on Amazon I saw that it had a mixed bag of reviews – some folks love it while others loath it. Also, it costs $52.98, which is a price that brings tears to my eyes (and these are not tears of happiness). So I thought I’d ask around to see if anyone whose opinion I respected (that would be you, because as a reader of Programmable Logic Designline you’ve already shown yourself to be a discerning, highly-intelligent individual) had seen this film and – if so – what was your impression?
So, excluding Primer (about which I am still a little sketchy), what was your favorite time travel story of all time? I’ve not seen The Time Traveler’s Wife so I really cannot comment on that. I really liked Millennium (the movie), although that was really more of a mystery-thriller than a time travelling tale.
Of course H.G. Wells’ Time Machine is absolutely brilliant – both in book and movie form. Personally, with regard to the movie, I prefer the Original 1960s version starring Rod Taylor, but I also very much enjoyed the effects in the 2002 Remake starring Guy Pearce.
And who amongst us could forget A Sound of Thunder – the short story by Ray Bradbury, which was first published in Collier’s magazine in 1952. According to the Wikipedia, as of 1984, this was the most re-published science fiction story of all time. The idea is that a hunting party from 2055 travel back into the past on a guided safari to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’m drastically simplifying this, but one of the hunters leaves the designated path and kills a butterfly – when the party returns to their own time they discover that the demise of the butterfly have triggered many changes… (Someone made a film about this, but it was so bad that I don’t want to sully your eyes with a description of it here.)
Now, if we are talking about a time traveling story that (to the best of my knowledge) only ever appeared in written form, I would have to say that my all-time favorite was The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. This is too convoluted to go into here (you’ve either read it or you haven’t), but I thought that everything about this book was very clever and thought-provoking – especially the twist at the end. The mystery to me is why no one ever made this into a movie … if they did I would be queuing outside the cinema clamoring to be let in...
But I’m sure that I’m forgetting a bunch of really amazing books and films … help me out here … which time travelling tale would you vote “#1 Of All Time”?
You've picked some good ones. I haven't read The End of Eternity for probably 25 years, but it's still fairly fresh in my memory. I'd put that very high on my list of time travel books/movies, if not number one. I think I'll hunt down a copy and read it again.
A Sound of Thunder is very good as well. I just re-read that one a few months ago while revisiting a couple of Bradbury short story collections.
The movie that comes to mind is rather predictable and campy, but I liked it. The Final Countdown. The U.S.S Nimitz gets sucked into a time vortex, arriving off Hawaii on the Eve of the Pearl Harbor attack.
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