Friday, 11 October 2013

Film School Friday Lesson #8 - Time Travel 101


Last week, Film School Friday taught us all how to bag a Disney bride. Unfortunately, most of the people who took my advice are now in prison for stealing, kidnapping or sexual assault. Good news inmates! This week's lesson is a 101 on the mechanics of time travel, for those who wish that they could turn back the clock to a time before they read my last article. Let's just hope these prisoners can access the internet. I'd hate for my readership to be halved but hey; 3 readers is better than nothing right?

Lesson #8 - Time Travel 101

The movies make time travel look easy, but like buying a VHS or sitting through a M. Night Shyamalan movie, some things can be far more difficult than they first appear. In some time travel films, none of the characters even make it out of their time line and instead, are forced to just communicate with the past using a radio or even letters. Not only is that the lamest form of time travel going, but it also results in some horrendously poor movies like Frequency or The Lake House. URGH! What you guys really want is a time machine, so pick up the wrench, buy some super glue and listen up as I give you the 101 on time travel.

Save Your Pennies

It's one thing to want a time machine though and another thing to actually build one. Those things cost serious money. And money doesn't grow on trees apparently, so say hello to years of staying in every night, watching rom coms on Netflix while you save your pennies.

Oh, and it also helps if you're a scientist of quantum physics or... I don't know, a maths teacher or something? Anyways, once you have invented/built/stolen your time machine, don't hold your hopes too high. It's not going to look all futuristic and awesome like the movies have led you to believe. No, we're talking basic sweat shop craftsmanship here people. 12 MonkeysLooper, Primer... watch any of these for a glimpse of what your actual time machine may look like... Pretty crap right?

timemachinePimp Your Ride

So you've got your time machine working. I'm sure you're keen to explore the furthest recesses of history like an over zealous Dr Who on crack, but put that pipe down and listen up. What's it going to look like if you have the poorest looking time machine around? How embarrassed will you be rolling up in a box when all the other time travellers appear with their fancy dials adorned with spinning clocks and fuzzy dice?

Here's what you do; go back in time a few decades - but not to the 80s, never the 80s - and invest all you have in something precious like... I don't know, the internet or something. Then, when you return to the present, millions upon millions of pounds (or dollars, hey America!) will be yours for the taking. Imagine it; you already know how to build a time machine, but with all that money, you'll now be ready to pimp your ride in no time at all. Still struggling? Go back to 2004 and enlist  the help of failing rapper turned TV presenter Xzibit. Pimp that ride! You owe it to yourself.
Change The World

But what if you're not rich/clever/motivated enough to build your own time machine? Well my friends, that's where the movies really help. Ever since Bill and Ted had their excellent adventure in a phone booth, people have been travelling back and forth through time using the most ridiculous objects imaginable. If you ever bump into Christopher Walken and he offers you a universal remote control, take it and run. With the ability to control time, you'll be able to go back and improve out world for the better. Kill off Hitler as a baby. Save Martin Luther King. Stop Adam Sandler from making Jack and Jill. The possibilities are endless.

Do The Time Warp

For the really lazy among you though - we're talking Terrence Malick lazy here - there are other ways to travel through time that require even less effort. Some like Owen Wilson stumble across portals which instantly send them into the past. Sure they can't control where they're going, but at least they get to meet cowboys and fight dinosaurs and... oh wait. Wilson didn't get to do any of that cool stuff. Damn you Woody Allen! Midnight In Paris sure could have benefited from some Jurassic capers...

Then there's the really lucky bastards who are actually born with the ability to traverse time. If you're a) Kryptonian, b) a Japanese school girl who leaps a lot or c) the star of the latest bland Richard Curtis film, then time travel should come naturally to you. Be warned though; whatever method you choose, there could be consequences.
timegroundhog day
Think Before You Kill

There's no other way of saying it; time loops are an absolute bitch. I get bored just eating the same cereal two days in a row. How the hell did Bill Murray manage to not rip someones face off in Groundhog Day?  If you do find yourself caught in a time loop, repeating the same series of events over and over, don't bother telling anyone. They'll just think you're insane. Killing yourself won't get you far either. Sex. Sex is the answer. Find yourself an Andie MacDowell and plough away. You'll be out of that loop before you know it. If only they'd told Melissa George that before she started killing everyone in the British horror Triangle. Poor gal could have slept with Liam Hemsworth before Miley Cyrus got in there with her foam finger.

Check That You're Adopted First

Finally, I feel I must impart one more vital piece of advice. It's even more important than not changing the past, but it's also harder to resist. That's right. I'm talking about having sex with your parents. Wait wait wait! Hear me out. In Back To The Future, Marty claimed to be repulsed by the idea, but you know what? 1955 Lorraine was pretty hot. Just saying. Also, watch out for dwarves who appear in your room at night. They're probably time bandits... I hope.

So there we have it loyal readers. A comprehensive guide on all things time travel. If you're expecting an explanation of how John Connor somehow sent his father back in time to conceive him in the past, all I can give you is a quote from the genius that is Bruce Willis. "This time travel crap just fries your brain like an egg." Unfortunately, paradoxes/poorly written plot holes are not for me to explain. I'm just a simple writer who thinks all of life is a movie and that Acme is a real corporation.

Remember to come back next week for a lesson on how to spot a serial killer. It's Halloween, so I figured I should make some kind of effort and you never know when this advice might save your life... or find you true love! See you next week you little psychos :) And keep the ideas coming! Which genre do you want to learn about next?

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