Welcome to Tomorrow (2014)

Not to be judgmental or anything, but this movie looks incredibly stupid.

— Alan

The trailer for Welcome to Yesterday doesn’t look so good either.

I must be easily entertained, because I’d definitely watch this.

I like the concept. Young kids getting time travel powers and thoroughly ruining shit because they’re teenagers. Obviously, the basic premise of Chronicle was the same which I thought was interesting. I like the idea of showing kids being complete dumbasses with superpowers instead of becoming warriors for truth & justice.

Unfortunately, this shares the same issue I had with Chronicle. The “found footage” or shakycam conceit. I’m tired of it.

Me, too. I’d go see it, just to cheer as they fuck with their lives before the hammer comes down, and then just to watch them squirm as they figure out all the little nooks and crannies to time travel. The problem with movies like this is that they get too obsessed with how it all works, or too lax. Either is a detriment. Back to the Future is probably the best time travel movie I’ve ever watched. For the most part, it succeeded because it struck a nice balance between the two.

I hate time travel movies without a consistent theory of time. There are three good time travel movies:

  1. The Terminator
  2. Los cronocrímenes
  3. Primer

This one will not be joining them.

I don’t even like Los Chronocrimenes, myself. The protagonist does a lot of stupid shit just because it fits with the timeline he knows. If he’d been the least bit rational most of the movie never would have happened.

I enjoyed the casual comment in the trailer “Hey, let’s build it!”. I guess once you have the blueprints, any teenager with a soldering gun can make a time machine.

I’ll be interested to see if they address some of the stickier parts of time travel, or if it will dumb it down to lowest common denominator levels. One of the things I liked about Chronicle was that it felt realistic, to a degree.

Consistently dumb maybe. If John Conner sent his own father back in time to impregnate his mother, how did it happen the first time? You know, the time John Conner didn’t exist because he hadn’t sent his father back yet. Great movie, really bad time travel movie.

I believe you left off Time Cop, which was (IIRC) dubbed “The Thinking Man’s Action Movie™” by the Washington Post.

You’re assuming that the movie is the first iteration. Lots of time travel fiction has dealt with how you create time loops.

For example, in the first timeline, Skynet might not exist at all, humans create the time travel device, and Kyle Reese comes back for entirely different reasons, but ends up with Sarah Connor. Or it’s pretty much as we saw it except that Kyle Reese was not the father of the first John Connor. Or John Connor didn’t exist in timeline one, but Skynet dabbles in time travel for some other reason, and Kyle Reese comes back to prevent Skynet’s creation and ends up with Sarah Connor somehow.

The Terminator doesn’t lay that out, but it doesn’t assume the audience is completely new to the concept of time travel and its implications, either. “It has a causality loop” is no reason to sneer at a time travel story, given that time travel stories are almost always about twisting causality in ways not possible without time travel.

I really enjoyed Chronicle as well - It was a pretty decent character portrayal movie…Sorry, don’t know the English expression for it, but I saw it(The movie) as a vehicle for telling a story about three different teens, their upbringing and how that comes to the fore when they are pushed, which is where most reveal their character.

Gus, you can’t just make up back story to have the time travel in the movie make sense. All we have to go on is the established time travel fiction of the movie and that established fiction does not make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie but it’s a typical Hollywood big sci-fi action movie. Fun to watch but dumb.

All time travel has paradox built into it. Most of the time they gloss over it or ignore it completely. About the only time travel movies I can think of that handle time travel fairly well are both light hearted one (Back To The Future and Star Trek IV). Hmmm, I guess the new The Time Machine addresses time travel really well, but it does it by saying, in essence, “You can’t change the past” (terrible movie, but solid time travel foundation).

Most movies with time travel require that you shut your brain off. If I go down the rabbit hold of questioning The Terminator, I end up hating the movie. But with my brain shut off, it’s one of my favorite classic sci-fi action films.

Eh. The first Terminator is one of those time travel escapades where you can assume that the incidence of time travel shown is “built into” the history and future. In other words, Kyle Reese’s travel back in time to be Conner’s father happened because that’s what was going to happen. It can’t NOT happen that way. And the first Terminator ends in a way that implies that nothing has changed – Reese IS John father, so John will send Reese back.

It’s the second move that is the mess, since they claim that they’ve changed the future at the end of it. [I’ve never seen the later movies]

Yeah, what Tin Wisdom said. What all three movies that I mentioned have in common is that there are no causality problems. There are no alternate timestreams. Nobody ever uses their knowledge of the future to change the past. Instead, time travel is just part of a closed loop of events.

Terminator 2 ruined all that, of course, because it’s stupid.

What I’m saying is that your automatic dismissal of time loops as “stupid” demonstrates that you don’t understand time travel very well. I’d hate to think what would happen if you tried watching Primer, which features a minimum of 9 timelines - and we only see the last one.

Does The Terminator lay out how the time loop started? No, it doesn’t, but it doesn’t need to, and it would hurt the story significantly to do so. Walk through it. Suppose the movie did explore any of the many different possibilities I mentioned. How would that work narratively? Any way I can think of spelling it out for the slower members of the audience would wreck the movie.

Did James Cameron work out a specific scenario that started the time loop? I have no idea, I’ve never seen him mention it in an interview. If I had to guess, he probably at least thought about it, because he’s not Jerry Bruckheimer. It doesn’t really matter. The issue is that since there are reasonable scenarios, criticizing the existence of a time loop is invalid.

This I don’t buy.

I frankly hate time travel stories which don’t allow events to change. Why bother with time travel if change isn’t possible? It’s throwing away the most interesting part of the premise.

There are problems with the second movie, but mostly they’re about the T1000. The difference in tech between the T800 (Arnold) and the T1000 (the liquid metal critter) is preposterous. The T800 was supposed to be cutting edge when Reese went back, and there just isn’t time for Skynet for develop supermagic technologies before it’s destroyed in the future. Not to mention that the liquid metal thing violates the “organics only” rule which is central to the time travel fiction.

Dude, did you even watch Primer? It’s chock-full of changes to the timestream, and yes, people use knowledge of the future to change the past repeatedly.

There’s a fairly well-known chart that spells it out. And it needs spelling out, because the central conceit of Primer is that it makes no concessions to the audience.

Primer timelines

That’s not the most readable thing zoomed all the way out, so you may want to look at the direct link.

The “stuff happens because it happened” thing is true of Los Cronocrímenes, but that’s also why it’s such an awful, stupid movie. As I said before, the main character does a lot of stuff just because he knows his future self did it, when it’s about the dumbest possible thing to do.

You are history’s worst monster.

I actually tend to enjoy the whole Calvinist thing with time-travel movies… where no matter what the heroes do, they can’t manage to change anything. Those films tend to have either (a) cool twists where all the heroes’ efforts end up being for naught, or (b) the heroes end up realizing that the present isn’t as bad as they originally thought because they learned some new truth in the journey to the past, yadda yadda.

You already know the answer to that – the “why bother” is the good story. The time travel is just the setting; if you don’t have a good story to tell it’s gonna suck whether it’s a closed or open loop tale.