A Prime Month – Follow-up (part 1)

As per my earlier post I had a month of free access to Amazon Prime which I put to “good use” by forming a list of stuff to watch from the Prime Video section, both movies and series.

In this post I talk about:

  • Tales from the Loop
  • In Time
  • Star Trek: Picard
  • Predestination
  • Terminator Genesis
  • Everything and Nothing

The first series I tucked into was Tales from the Loop which I quite enjoyed; both from an aesthetical point of view (apparently based on a series of paintings by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag) and storylines were (being a sci-fi drama).

The aesthetics gave me the impression the series was based in the 1970s or perhaps 80s, but as mentioned in my previous post a VW Golf I spotted early on seemed to be from the 90s, and particularly jarring was the use of Kyle Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ from the early 2000s, which was used in a later episode when one of the youths was, lets say “coming of age”. This switch to such a more modern pop-classic, rather than the usual slow-paced piano tunes throughout, gave me thoughts about modern day culture as something akin to sin and leading youth astray.

The first movie I watched, as mentioned in my first post, was Ready Player One.

Next up: In Time.

I quite enjoyed this; the concept of a world where you live beyond the age of 25 for only as long as you can earn time, trading with time along the way, and you always remain physically 25 years [I have since read and watched Brave New World where there is a similar use of ideas about ageing]. When you run out of time, in In Time, you die. Rich people, who generally reside in their own district, can live for hundreds of years, whereas the runt of society would kill for an hour by stealing someone’s time. This film was only let down for me by the wardrobe department who had the female character wear heels, only to then realise she had a running scene at the end… yeah I noticed she wasn’t running in heels.

I like how the Justin Timberlake character, after acquiring a vast number of years, made his way through the checkpoints, to the top district; it’s kind of like real life where the people born at the bottom generally stay at the bottom.

I moved on to the Picard series. I enjoyed this; my brother had watched it already and warned me it was slow going and more about the Picard character. This was to be expected given the title but I didn’t find it too slow. I did however find it to be somewhat Lord-of-the-Rings-esque where Picard gathers he his merry band of assistants together while he goes on his Pilgrimage through the universe, giving us and many a fan-boy/girl the opportunity to relive past experiences. For this it was a bit grating. The intention of this approach was made all the more clear with reference to Don Quixote and the concept of “A Hero’s Journey”.

In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero’s journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.” – Wikipedia

This is something which I have now come to realise is repeated and regurgitated throughout TV shows and films (especially in the genres I sway towards); it was employed in Ready Player One, for example (which also made blatant reference to Lord of the Rings), it also occurs in pretty much anything that is revitalised decades later, bringing a “band back together”. It was kind of like some reality TV series (or Youtube channel) where the show asks “What are they doing now?” and visits a different celebrity each episode to tell the viewer just that. Data aged and Seven of Nine still looks… yeah.

This brings us smoothly on to Terminator Genesis, no wait, I first watched Predestination. This was quite confusing to begin with until I realised what was happening and how time travel was being used – the film turned out to be quite clever, rather than the confusing jumble I was experiencing!

Anyway, Terminator Genesis. I like Terminator for its use of time travel, in this rendition we see the future before heading back to the past (originally the present day 1984 when the first film was released – no coincidence there I’m sure), we get to relive events (with remastered footage) and even witness Schwarzenegger briefly fighting himself from the original film – I particularly enjoyed this clever spectacle. Then Sarah Connor was located, but due to the fun concept of the time travelling paradox, rather than being the unknowing muggle as she was at the start, she’d been clued-up. This sequence reminds me of Back to the Future when Marty ends up back in 1955 and has to visit Doc who has only just bumped his head that leads him on to develop the Flux Capacitor – the thing that makes time travel possible.

We then travel forward in time to our present time where everyone is addicted to their mobile phone (I can’t imagine such a world) and eagerly awaiting the Genesis program coming online. It was quite like Ready Player One but with a technomaniac that didn’t remind me of Bill Gates at all, not the sweater or anything…

Speaking of time travel, I watched “Everything and Nothing” hosted by professor Jim Al-Khalili as he “searches for the answers to deep and complex questions”. I don’t particularly like these science documentaries that try and discount the need for anything else. In the Talk section of the Wikipedia page for Jim Al-Khalili is a dispute, apparently between Al-Khalili and others, over whether his atheism is of importance, I think it is as it provides an insight into someone’s perspective, their way of thinking, and “where they’re coming from”. He thinks his beliefs should be private yet he pushes science. I think modern day science misses a lot and doesn’t know all it thinks it knows, nor can it explain all, maybe one day it will be in a better position to do so, and perhaps in the distant past there was a more all-encompasing understanding of the world [I’m currently reading a book about how the Great Pyramid was built].

More is to follow in my second instalment on this topic.

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