Sunday, February 15, 2015

Predestination--The More Things Change

Last night I watched the Sci-Fi film, Predestination (2014), which came from the short story by Robert A. Heinlein called All You Zombies.  I wasn't familiar with either, which is probably the best way to approach the film.  Even if you're read the short story, you'd probably enjoy the film, as it has a lot of twist and turns in it, and also reminded me a bit of Phillip K. Dick.

As I said I wasn't really aware of the film, maybe half-remembering the title.  But yesterday I was so tired, as I spent part of the day cleaning out the garage, that later I really didn't care what I watched as I was so tired.  Just give me a bowl of soup, and something on the tube, and I was happy.  It just so happened I went to YouTube, and under their What To Watch section, I ran across Predestination.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.

 I'll back up a bit, as some might be wondering, how a recent movie from 2014 appears on YT.  Well, sometimes someone will put up a bootleg copy.  Sometimes they are watchable and sometimes not.  They will, once the copyright infringement is found out by YT management get taken down.  Also I'll explain a bit of how my home entertainment system is setup.  I've got a Vizio Quick Start (E3D420VX) Smart 42 inch TV.  It's HD +3D.  The 3D part I've never used.  What I like about it is that it has these apps on it that allow for streaming from Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus, a weather app, among a few others.  I've also got a wireless router, so it transmits all that to my TV.  I'll admit, I like it.

So back to Predestination.  No spoilers.  To review this movie is hard without a few spoilers.  But since I insist you watch the movie without them, about all I can tell you is generalities about the film, and a basic plot.  It is a time travel story, that concerns time paradoxes.  It stars Ethan Hawke, who does his usual solid job of acting, Sarah Snook, whom I was unfamiliar with, but did a really good job, and Noah Taylor as head of the time travel agency. 

The story is told in a nonlinear fashion between the dates of 1945 and 1993 surrounding the story about a criminal known as the "Fizzle" bomber (yeah, ok, I had a bit of trouble with his nickname too), so you have to pay attention, but don't let that scare you off.  One of the bomber's explosions happens in New York in 1975, leveling a large part of NYC.  The Temporal Bureau and time travel was established in 1981, which tries to track him down and capture him.  Ethan Hawke is a part of this Time Bureau, but also works as a bartender in NYC under cover.

One night a rather androgynous man comes into the bar, and Hawke and Snook begin a conversation.  Ok, during this second act the groundwork of the story is laid out, and I must admit, it was fascinating to hear, and at the same time I wondered if this whole movie was just going to revolve around this conversation in the bar.  It does move on from there and gets a bit more action oriented.  Snook tells a bit about her background, how she once trained for the SpaceCorp and other details.  Snook relates her past of falling in love, getting pregnant, her baby is abducted from her, and Hawke ask her (being a timetraveller), if there was a way to do so, would she like to rectify the past.  She thinks he's crazy, but she agrees.  I think I've already given away too much, ha.  If it sounds interesting give it a shot.  It's one of those SF features that's like Looper, Time Cop, Minority Report, Source Code or Enemy.  It's compelling, but left me scratching my head too.

Here's a link, but I expect it to be taken down soon.


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I have read the short story but wasn't aware it had been adapted to a movie. Since you held off on spoilers I will too, but the whole of the short story involves the child, and not bombers chased by time cops. I suppose the police and action were needed for a full movie since the personal story would have been more suitable for a half hour Twilight Zone episode. Thanks for the heads up.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, you're welcome and you are right Richard--it would be hard to make a feature film out of just a short story, some padding is going to have to be added to expand it, and for the most part, if done well, I don't mind.

Having just said that, however, there have been some pretty successful SF films that have been made into feature films: 2001, The Thing, Total Recall, A.I., among some others. By and large, they did a good job with Predestination. If I run a cheap copy which contains the Heinlein story I'll have to pick it up to compare the two.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

I heard some really good things about this one. Kinda sounded similar to "Looper" and "Source Code" which I enjoyed as well. Need to check this out.

So you gave "Enemy" a watch? I really liked that movie, but it got some seriously mixed reviews. What did you think?

At 7:44 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I liked Enemy a lot as well. Yes, it was ambiguous, but that's okay when it's handled so well. I thought I had written a review on it earlier, but I guess I didn't. I guess the negativity came from those that don't care for that type thing or prefer something a bit more structured or pat.

But for me, it offered something to think about afterwards and I enjoyed that aspect. So much so, I went back to the web and was looking for some of the hidden meanings. Predestination had the same vibe for me, and again, I went back to the web to seek answers.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger SFF said...

So I've been sick as a bugger this last week but feeling human again.

I've got this one in my watch list thanks to you. Very interested.


At 9:02 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Well, hope you are felling better soon SFF. I know how that goes. I have allergies, and I think I am plagued by them about a third of the year.

Last week they were bothering me so much, I wondered if I was gong to have to start seeing an allergist again to start an injection program, which I do NOT want to do if possible. So I just bear with it, but it's a drag.

These winters, ya know? I bet it would be hell living on Hoth. :)


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