Sunday, October 08, 2006

PRIMER


Low budget but good anyway SciFi movie of the week:
PRIMER

Science fiction doesn't necessarily need a huge budget and huge special effects and huge amounts of CGI and huge name stars. Good sci-fi usually starts with a good idea. A premise that you are asked to accept (e.g. time travel), the movie then carries on to explore the consequences of that idea. This is the kind of thing that fuels imagination. This is exactly the sort of thing that drives the search for new science and technology. Going to the moon was one such premise that was explored in movies early in the last century - it inspired generations of scientists to develop the technology to make that happen.

I wouldn't be surprised if the next big advance happens just as it does in this movie. Two best friends and business partners, fooling with stuff in their garage, discover a process that just might hold the secret to time travel. Paradoxes arise. Such as - they not sure how they came across this breakthrough - so maybe they figured it out and went back in time to lead themselves to the discovery. Where will they get the money to build their full-scale machine. Well, if they go back in time a day or two with the winning lottery numbers - the money wouldn't be an issue. When they rent a storage container to do their experiments and the machine is already there - that's freaky. When they start to have to hide to keep from running into themselves - that's really freaky. When they realize that there may be many versions of themselves around at the same time - that's really super mega freaky.

This is a time travel movie for "tech heads". It doesn't explain every little thing, it assumes that you're smart enough to figure stuff out (it is often referred to as an "intellectual thriller"). Also, no sex or nudity. It was written and directed by one of the two main characters, who used all his friends, and shot much of the film in his own garage. Made for a mere $7000, This film takes a sci-fi staple like time travel and puts a new spin on it. Production quality may be lean but the ideas are rich enough to keep your imagination going for a long while.

What have we learned from PRIMER?
  1. Time travel is freaky.
  2. I know that time travel isn't possible for real, because I haven't won the lottery yet.
  3. If you travel back in time and meet someone named "McFly" ......... run.
  4. If you travel back in time and meet yourself, DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT kill you. I'll explain later.
  5. Modern technology is wonderful. It's no longer necessary to generate 1.2 Gigawatts of electricity to make the DeLorean go. Today, we can do the same thing with an old refrigerator.
  6. When you watch it for the second time (and I know many of you who will), see if you can keep track of where the $7000 was spent.
  7. I spend a lot of time around high tech engineers. This is exactly how they are. This is why I believe the next big advance will happen this way.
  8. You almost expect the "Geek Squad" to come racing around the corner in their little geek squad VW's ............. but they don't.
  9. This film exercises a part of your brain that you may not have used in awhile. Maybe that's why it aches for a day or two afterwards. If this happens, only TV until it gets better.
  10. If these geeks can make a great movie for $7K, why can't you?
PRIMER - enjoy.

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