A Response to Time Loops Apr24

A Response to Time Loops...

In All You Need is Kill, a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka turned into a manga (and the source material for the movie Edge of Tomorrow), the earth has been overrun with aliens known as Mimics. New recruit Keiji Kiriya is stuck in a time loop that starts the morning before his first battle and ends mid battle the next day, if he hasn’t died before then. When Keiji realizes he is trapped in the loop, he tries several times to escape, but there is nowhere for him to run to. So on the fifth loop, he commits himself to fight against the loop—to train and learn until he overcomes it. And he does. He pushes himself, trains his mind, and learns how to fight effectively, because every time he fails and dies, he can start again, having learned from his mistakes. It’s slow work. Every day he has to go through the same conversations, the same basic training, before he can focus on becoming a better soldier to escape the loop. Every time he wakes up, his progress is erased, except for the little piece he learned that he carries in his mind. I admire Keiji’s dedication. It only takes him four failures, four loops, before he vows to fight the loop, and he doesn’t break that vow. Some days he gets through his mundane tasks only to break his back minutes into training. The loop starts again, and he goes through another three hours of push-ups before he can begin his true work. I can relate to the feeling of being in a time loop. Sometimes it feels like the world gets reset when I go to bed. Every morning I make my bed, make breakfast, do the dishes, walk to work, come...

The Problem with Time Loops Mar10

The Problem with Time Loops...

One of my favourite movies from the last few years is Edge of Tomorrow, the Tom Cruise vehicle that had him repeating the same day over and over again as he fought against alien beings. Marketed with the tagline, “Live. Die. Repeat.”, the film really fed my love for the concept of time loops. The idea that we can relive the same past until we get it right holds a strong appeal for me. Comics, anime, and movies that show time loops often present them as a curse, but I see them more as a superpower. With this ability, what could I do better with the time I’m given? How could I improve my situation? Could I do something to help the people around me that I didn’t do the first time? Steins;gate, an anime about a pair of scientists and their cohorts who find themselves intertwined in conspiracies and plots involving time travel, emphasizes further complexities regarding time loops. At first, Rintaro Okabe, a peculiar college student and self-described mad scientist, is satisfied living an eccentric life, visiting his wide array of friends, and conducting unusual experiments involving bananas in his home laboratory. But as his conspiracy theories start to tap into truth, Okabe and his partners discover that time travel research has come at a great cost, and that the organization that has conducted it is willing to kill to hide and preserve their findings. Okabe encounters a time loop as he travels to the past incessantly in an attempt to save someone very important to him. Although it’s a loop that Okabe can exit, it has no less effect on him than one in which he would be helpless to break. Okabe witnesses the brutal death of a dear friend over...

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. Jul23

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard....

These days, there is no shortage of funny movies on the silver screen or in your Netflix queue. But it’s occurred to me that while so many movies have funny moments, so few of them use the medium to its full potential. Let me explain. First, I am not a film expert by any means, but I am a comedy nerd. It seems to me that a huge percentage of popular comedies these days rely entirely on the dialogue and delivery to get laughs. That doesn’t make them bad movies, but it means they could be podcasts or plays and might be just as funny. Let’s break this down with some examples from some of my favourite geeky directors. Comedy and Dialogue You could scour the ‘verse and not find another director who has done more for mainstream geek culture than Joss Whedon. The creator, writer and sometimes director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly is a creative force behind the camera. He is every bit a “writer’s director” in that his universes are given life by dialogue and character more than anything else. Let’s take a look at the way Whedon uses his style to set up and deliver jokes. No one has ever said the world needs less laughter. This joke is funny because we know Mal, and we already don’t like Atherton Wing (the guy he stabs). Though it doesn’t rely on the frame or any visual aspect to make it funny, it’s writer’s joke. Another example from Firefly is when Mal tells Simon that Kaylee is dead in the pilot episode. Now this one is a bit different because it uses a lot of filmic elements to support what is still, I think, a writer’s joke. The...