Sunday, 25 November 2012

BLOG -- My Issue With Time Travel Stories

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US. Okay, now on to my blog. 

Before I go on, I must say: this entry will spoil the movies Looper and The Terminator. If you haven't watched either of these two movies and don't want to be spoiled, don't read this blog. 

Having that said, this entry makes the assumption that you've watched both movies. I won't fully explain the plot for either one -- just enough to make point of my issue with them.


Okay, so... I have an issue with time travel stories. Whenever I watch anything involving time travel, unless parallel timelines are brought up, I tend to assume there is only one linear timeline (as in if the past gets affected, the future gets affected and adjusts itself to those past events). That's when I ask myself: does this story make sense? Does it still make sense when future elements are in the past, interacting with it? When it doesn't, I have a problem. 

Here is the issue I have with time traveling stories: When the driving reason for the future to collide with the past originated from some kind of interaction with the future and past. When that happens, I wonder: what drove the future elements to go into the past in the first place? It just doesn't make sense to me.

Now this issue happens with Looper and The Terminator. First, I gotta say that these movies are very good and enjoyable. Just so you know I'm not bashing them because I just don't like them. But this issue... it doesn't make sense.

In Looper, Joe from the future (let's call him Future Joe) goes to the past with the aim to kill a boy (Cid) who would grow up to become the "Rainmaker". The "Rainmaker" is responsible for closing all loops (loopers getting sent to the past to be killed by their past self). Later on, we find out that the driving reason for Cid's hatred of loopers comes from Future Joe being in the past, killing Cid's mother (who was killed trying to protect Cid from Future Joe).

Now, I'm confused. Thoughts and questions fly through my mind: So, Cid won't develop a hatred of loopers if his mother wasn't killed... And his mother wouldn't be killed if Future Joe wasn't back in the past... and Future Joe wouldn't be in the past in the first place if Cid didn't have a hatred of loopers... but Cid wouldn't have a hatred of loopers if his mother wasn't killed... Aggg, my head hurts!

This same issue happens in The Terminator. A cyborg assassin from the future is sent to the past to kill Sarah, the woman who would give birth to John, the savior for humanity in the future. Kyle also gets sent back to the past, but to protect Sarah. Later on, it's revealed that John is the result of a union between Sarah and Kyle. Sarah and Kyle... some guy from the future.

So... how was John conceived in the first place? Kyle went back to the past to protect Sarah, because... why? John would have never existed in the first place. Because in the first place, Kyle would never have had a reason to be in the past.

So, there is my issue. I don't mind it so much when it's in cheesy movies like Bill and Ted. And I can still enjoy time travel stories. But if it does happens, I just go *facepalm*, become confused, and complain about it later.  

If this issue could be explained logically and somehow I'm just missing something, please let me know. I want to understand!

Thanks for reading! :)


  1. I haven't seen Looper but I have seen the Terminator and that particular plot line actually makes sense IF you consider that everything was already fixed. Yes, it's an endless loop if you think about it in terms of absolute lines but if you think not of a line (or a loop) but as a broad stroke, it makes sense.

    What I'm trying to say that by having Arnold.. I mean, the Terminator in the past and then having Kyle in the past CAUSED John to be conceived. But in doing so the future was fixed. In other words, there was no 'choice' in the matter. No ifs, or buts. The timeline is FIXED in the sense that Arnold MUST go back in time and so MUST Kyle. Because that is the REAL time line. You see? The very fact that in Kyles original time John exists GUARENTEES that Kyle will succeed in his mission to protect Sarah. It's just a matter of how.

    If you can zoom out of a time line, say, and view the 'big picture' from the edge of the cosmos, then all this makes sense. If you can step out of linearity, then it's possible to see that everything is fixed, destined. From the outside, there is a broader perspective.

    Not saying that that is what life is. I have no idea if my destiny is fixed or not, but watching a movie? I have no problems with it.

    If you ever play the Zero Escape games, you will see what I mean, but I won't spoil anything here.

    1. Thanks for the response! I'm not completely sure that I get what you're saying.

      I figured that it could be possible for Kyle to have traveled back to the past to figure out how to change the future (Kyle's original future that didn't have John) and then ended up falling in love with Sarah and having her give birth to John. But that's just a possibility. I wish there was something more concrete.