“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
This famous quote by George Santayana sums up a very poignant idea: if we don’t learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others, we are doomed to the same fate. How often do we long for that second chance? The opportunity to right our wrongs and fix our mistakes is perhaps why time travel is so popular as a theme. And while hindsight is always 20/20, the only way we can correct a fatal error is if we are in a video game. Unfortunately, real life is much less forgiving. However, movies are not real life. As a result, some films have explored the idea of going back in time and re-experiencing something again. A “Reset Button,” if you will. While some of these “Reset Buttons” can be controlled and used by the protagonist, some are out of their control as a way to induce character growth. This week’s two films look at what happens with a “Reset Button” at your disposal.
Length: 101 minutes / 1.68 hours
What if you just had the worst day of your life, would you want to repeat it? I know most of us would answer with an emphatic, “No.” However, what if that day was a learning experience? Something that would change your life forever? Still “No”? OK, I’ll be the first to admit that reliving failures is not fun, but in the long run, they are good for personal development and growth. Now, the only reason anyone would subject themselves to a day repeated over and over again is probably because they are so oblivious to their faults that it takes a while for them to realize what needs to change. Of course, the flip side is that, if you find yourself trapped in a never-ending loop of February 2nds, you can do pretty much anything you want, since you don’t know if February 3rd even exists anymore.
Phil (Bill Murray) has a personality that often rubs others the wrong way. After being assigned the annual puff piece on Groundhog Day for the fourth year in a row, he’s pretty much had it. When he begrudgingly finishes the news segment and goes to bed, he figures he’s done with it. Until he wakes up and finds that he needs to do it all again because it’s still February 2nd. After the initial frustration, he tries to use the knowledge of the day to his advantage. When that fails, he becomes depressed and tries to exit the loop by suicide. After multiple successful deaths, he figures that doesn’t work either. Finally, he concludes that, if he’s trapped in that one day, he might as well use it to his advantage and do all the things he’s never had time real.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Length: 116 minutes / 1.93 hours
The origins of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) are directly from the realm of video games. In 1989, Prince of Persia was released as a computer game which featured a multitude of somewhat gruesome deaths, all of which would reset your character to an earlier part of the level. With this standard video game structure, one could become very frustrated when trying to get past guillotines or spikes, while always dying at the same points and being forced to replay the level again. In the 2000s, the series was rebooted with “The Sands of Time” added, still maintaining the “Reset Button” dynamic. As a result of the entire series’ success and influence on video games, it was eventually turned into a movie in 2010, under the title of the millennial reboot.
In a realm often covered with sand, Persia can be unforgiving to anyone who would drop their guard for even a moment. As an adopted prince, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) did his best to fit in with royalty, but could never shake his orphaned origins. This is why he is on the run after being accused of his adopted father’s death. However, two discoveries have changed his fate. One is meeting Tamina (Gemma Arterton), a princess who has noticed that Dastan now holds the second discovery: a dagger that can reverse the flow of time. While Dastan is on the run, he aims to prove his innocence and to uncover the real killer of his father. Fortunately, the mystical dagger filled with magical sand is the key to unraveling the mystery and restoring Dastan to his princely position.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2+ chances