FILM THOUGHTS: PREDESTINATION

PREDESTINATION_27X40_R3MECH.inddI’m a sucker for time-travel movies. I freely admit that the mere mention of time-travel as a premise is enough to guarantee me as a viewer. I want my mind to be blown. The more confusing and vague, the better in my opinion.

Predestination didn’t disappoint in this regard, by the way. It’s a head scratcher. I kept me up way past my bedtime, simply because I couldn’t get my head around what had actually happened…and why.

If you watch a lot of these movies, you know what happens. As you think through the twists and turns, you start to notice similarities to other time-related films. You start to recognize tropes and arcs that have appeared in earlier works. That’s the fun of being a genre fan, I guess.

This movie was still rolling around in my head the next morning. I was enjoying the futile process of finding balance in the story, but something else was lurking just outside all my fun theorizing. For the rest of the day, it got stronger. What was bothering me so much about Predestination? It was great…mysterious, well-acted, creatively written.

But when it finally hit me, it colored the entire time-travel filmography in my head. I’ll try to do this without SPOILERS, but if you’r tentative about that sort of thing, maybe don’t read on…better safe than sorry.

Predestination fails in the same pace as other time-travel films – the premise. Watch 20 movies about jumping through time and you’ll find the same central idea over and over and over again: repetition.

Think about how many time-based sci-fi films simply loop on itself. It’s as if the only way they can keep us guessing is to make sure that the narrative folds in on itself in a way that can’t be logically justified.

There’s a part of me that wants to believe that filmmakers doing time travel stories are trying to make a bigger statement – that somehow by making all these movies cautionary and illogical, we’ll collectively learn that yes, actually, time-travel is a bad idea. It would be amazing if these sci-fi writers were trying to wave us off of these theories in an effort to protect us by writing movies that can’t be parsed in the end. But I don’t think that’s the case.

There are fantastic parts of Predestination, by the way. There are lots of fresh ideas and performances. But in the end, it’s the same time-travel movie you’ve seen before.

I’m glad I watched it. But I’m a glutton for punishment.

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