Time travel, Bruce Willis and my dystopian preferences
I went to see “Looper” and felt like the writer of Ecclesiastes who noted that there was nothing new under the sun. Not that I didn’t enjoy the movie. I love time travel and I love Bruce Willis, so we were on to a winner.
Not only is Bruce Willis getting old, but so am I. Everything has echoes of everything else. A pastiche of plots, a moth-eaten montage.
The main character Joe works in a post apocalyptic America as a ‘Looper’ – an executioner- for gangsters who live 30 years in the future. They post their enemies back in time and he kills them for bars of silver. He lives in the knowledge that when he is found as his older self in that future, his older self will be posted back and he will have to shoot his older self. He will able to live out thirty years of retirement until such times as he will inevitably be posted back to the past to be shot by his younger self.
So, it’s just like Terminator, except the guy from the future comes back to get killed rather than to kill.
So, we follow the younger Joe and then when he grows up he turns out to be Bruce Willis. This is a bit flawed, really, as the younger Joe looks not much like Bruce Willis.
This could be my fault though, as I am sufficiently old to know pretty much what Bruce Willis looked like 30 years ago, because he was cute and in Moonlightling – arguably with hair – and looking nothing like the guy in Loopers.
Although it did mean that when the older self and the younger self come face to face in the diner, they don’t really get funny looks from other people. Although if this had happened in the Back to the Future Trilogy there would have been a paradox and the space time contimuum would have come crashing down around our ears.
I liked the older self/younger self moment. I’ve written two before, back in the early days of Wee Scoops when the Daily Post suggested it. One is advice from an older self to a younger self. The other one is when my older self takes my younger self on at “The Krypton Factor“…
I also must be getting old because despite Bruce Willis being decidedly old and a little moth-eaten at the corners, I thought he was more attractive than his younger self. He was a bit too … tidy, somehow – and there was something weird going on with his eyebrows.
The movie reminded me a little of “The Day of the Triffids” which I always think of as being fundamentally flawed as a post apocalyptic novel becuase it relies on two distinct changes in normality for the plot to function. In “The Day of the Triffids”, not only does the planet get over-run with ambulent man-killing plants, everyone goes blind as well. In “Loopers”, the two changes in normality are the introduction of the reality of time travel (although it was immediately banned – but you know how it is with time travel. Bit hard to manage, but once you manage it, it’s a bit hard to manage…); and the fact that some citizens become telekinetic – which means that they have the ability to levitate random objects.
I think it is “better” if a text can get away with working on just one step from reality in this type of Dystopia. Either go with time travel, or levitation. Mixing it up a bit while going for dystopia means it doesn’t ring true as I’d like. I think if you are going to mess with reality in two fundamental ways, you might as well ditch the Dystopian thing and go for fantasy.
Another problem with the movie was the inconsistency in the main character. Apart from looking entirely dissimilar, they were, for the most part different in character – although, arguably, Joe manages to become consistent in his selves by the end of the movie. But for most of the movie there was no sense of him being himself – he seemed to have no regard for himself as himself – only the self he was currently being. Which is odd, I think.
Okay, so apart from it being a bit violent, a bit flawed-plot-wise, a bit confused in its post apocalyptic rendering of ‘the city’…
I liked it 🙂
Time travel and Bruce Willis can’t go wrong.
I didn’t get what the TK angle added to the plot either. I also thought that young Joe seemed a more thoughtful than the other loopers (saving money, learning French) which made me wonder why he was a looper in the first place ….
Probably because he thought he could short circuit the system. But why did he learn french anyway? It only came in handy when he was talking to himself…
I love anything with Bruce Willis and I’m a sci-fi fan. I do understand what you mean by the characters two different selves even though they are the same character. I would have thought they would have more affinity for each other and I haven’t seen the movie yet, I got that from a few clips.
I think I recommend it, although it is quite violent in parts.
What do we want!
When do we want it!
I couldn’t agree more with your final statement 🙂
Who played young Joe?
He’s called Joseph Gordon Levitt. He is kind of fresh-faced and featureless.
Yes, I know him. Bland.
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