We all have those moments in our lives that we wish we could have done differently. Whether it’s the witty retort that you could have responded with or the opportunity that you let pass by, once the moment is gone, it is set in place in your personal history. The trouble with this is that sometimes these moments are completely outside of our control. We are often caught up in the whirlwind of reactions caused by a single event, helpless to change the circumstances that drive us forward. But what if we could fix the past? What if we could go back and adjust the events so that our miserable future does not come to pass? In order to do this, we would need to travel backwards in time. Unfortunately backwards time travel is not possible in our reality. However, this week’s two films examine the possibilities of fixing the past through the means of time travel.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Length: 86 minutes / 1.43 hours
Having studied science for many years, I’ve come to the realization that the world is very logical and follows a clear set of rules. People, however, do not. People can be incredibly difficult to predict, even with the same set of inputs. Part of what makes us unpredictable is our past. Because of what someone has experienced in their life, they will make decisions and perform actions based on this past. In some cases, we will have a nostalgic memory that we want to recreate. This is merely one way that we can live in the past. We can also live vicariously through others, giving them advice on how to live their lives so they won’t make the same mistakes we made. Still, there are some events that take place in our lives that we cannot recreate. In order to fix these events, we need to travel backward in time.
Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass) is looking for someone to go back in time with him. He has only done it once before, and he cannot guarantee that the trip will be safe. The reason for his planned time travel trip is to prevent the death of his old girlfriend, Belinda (Kristen Bell). Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza) meets Kenneth while investigating the classified ad he placed in a local newspaper for a time travelling partner. Initially, she is merely helping Jeff Schwensen (Jake Johnson) write an article about Kenneth, but she opens up that she also wants to prevent someone’s death: her mother’s. Jeff, on the other hand, is experiencing his own time travel as he reunites with an old flame from high school. When she rejects him, he tries to relive his past through the other intern, Arnau (Karan Soni). As things spiral out of control, Kenneth decides Darius is ready to go and they both travel back to save some lives.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Length: 131 minutes / 2.18 hours
Sometimes there are events outside of our control that are so large, that they can be traced back to a single action. This extreme butterfly effect can change the future either into a utopia or a dystopia, depending on what happens. We often imagine what the world would be like if certain events didn’t happen. If dictators didn’t come to power, if terrorist attacks never occurred, if disasters hadn’t happened. Would our world be better off? The conundrum of the time traveler who tries to change the world is that they might inadvertently remove their existence. But would this sacrifice be worth it, if the world would benefit from it? There are many ways to travel back in time, but one of the more unique ways is through mutant powers. Powers like those of Kitty Pryde: one of the X-Men who can use a person’s consciousness to contact their past self.
In the dystopian future of the X-Men universe, mutants are being exterminated by large, autonomous robots known as “Sentinels”. When backed into a corner in China, the X-Men use Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) power to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to his consciousness in 1973. It’s in this time period where the Sentinels are being built and approved for use against the mutant threat. The man behind the Sentinels is Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), who uses some of Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) DNA to adapt the Sentinels to overcome all mutant powers. In order to stop Trask, Professor Xavier (James McAvoy/Patrick Stewart) needs to free Magneto (Michael Fassbender/Ian McKellen) from prison so they can convince Mystique to not attempt to assassinate Trask, getting herself captured in the process. When the whole situation reaches the president, decisions are made that will affect the future.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 patches on the past