Unexplainable pseudoscience technology has been the MacGuffin or catalyst for many good character driven sci-fi stories over the years. Storytellers have formulated hypotheses regarding the future of mankind ever  since Verne and Wells first wrote their tales of trips to the moon, time travel, underwater adventures, etc. I recently watched the film TiMER, starring Emma Caulfield of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. TiMER is a film set in a very near future, in which Scientists have been able to break down our auras, or time-lines, or pheromones, or something, so they can pin-point the exact day in your individual future that you will meet your honest to goodness soul mate. A TiMER, seen in the above picture, is then implanted in your wrist, which will count down until that day.

Damn it! I'm thirty!

The concept of the TiMER, in the wrong hands could have easily become a Logan’s Run, as thirty-year-olds obviously rebel against the stigmas that goes with age. Instead, it is a wonderful character film, which does–actually— like Logan’s Run, follow 29-year-old Oona as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, and worries that she will be alone forever. You see, Oona’s TiMER is blank. Which can mean one of three things: 1. Her soul mate doesn’t have a TiMER. They both need to have one for some reason. 2. She missed her chance. Or 3. She doesn’t have a soul mate.

The opening weekend gross of ROTK was strategically placed in the news scroll placing the intro of the TiMER in 2003.

The technology in TiMER is handled in such a wonderful and simultaneously ‘as a matter of fact’ way that it really needs no explanation, just an introduction.  The film opens with a series of news clips introducing the TiMER circa 2003.Through this montage, we arrive at the future, or rather the present of the film and a TiMER TV commercial, which markets the TiMER eerily like an  Apple product. Now, I do love my Mac, but it did not introduce me to my wife— who also has a Mac— Oh crap. Did we meet because of the Apple Corporation?! Digressing too far. The technology is simply stated at the beginning of the film to be what it was. Nothing else was necessary. The rest of the film is character driven.

Like the TiMER, Lost introduced several technologies and sciences that were simply stated for what they were. Like Han Solo declaring that the Kessel Run record-breaking ship the Millenium Falcon is the fastest ship in the Galaxy because it has a hyperdrive.  We just accept these scientific impossibilities because a character told us it was so, and it has been established in their universe that these things are possible. Some of these pseudosciences in Lost were as follows:

  • An Arctic Station to detect and pinpoint specific EM radiation bursts with amazing accuracy.
  • A Rat that is bathed in radiation so it’s mind travels into the future and it knows a path through a maze that it never ran before.
  • A magic button that will release magic electromagnetic energy every 108 minutes, thus saving the planet and maybe universe from annihilation.
  • Healing waters of a jungle temple protected by a hippie cult.
  • Time and space shifting donkey wheels.
  • Teleporting Islands.

Some Lost Science

But, my favorite was the time travel and characters becoming unstuck in time. The characters accepted the Time Travel with such ease, that I as a viewer accepted it as well. One day they were wandering the present day jungle, a flash of white light washed over them, and they found themselves in the 70’s. They accepted the shift, why wouldn’t I?

Another recent viewing, which, while amusing, could have played up its reality shifting goodness A LOT MORE, was Hot Tub Time Machine. I mean, come on, lets talk about a ridiculous time travel technology. They spill an illegal russian red bull called Chernobly on the controls of a hot tub, and their consciousnesses travel in time like Elly the rat! Whatever, I buy it. That is what I came here for. I rented this film knowing what I was getting into.  The only real problem I had with this film was that it felt like it was written by some kid that never experienced the eighties. He or she was probably a teen in the nineties and just wiki’d the eighties.  So they included the highlights of the 80’s, i.e. “Where’s the beef?, Poison,  Jessie’s Girl, flourescent clothing, etc.  There was so much more to the 80’s to make fun of.   Since it was at a Ski resort, I was hoping that Cusack’s character Adam would run into Lane Meyer, whom Cusack played in 1986’s Better Off Dead, another 80’s ski comedy.  That meeting would have been like a triple paradox!   Instead, they created way too much drama for four characters (A broken marriage, a suicide attempt, a shattered Cusack who ominously says “I didn’t do anything”) when it really should have been hilarity right through the whole thing.

80's things to make fun of: Sweat bands, John Travolta, One-man-army films, John Hughes, Ollie North, a Character that might be a Communist, a shopping montage, a training montage, someone randomly breaks into dance, nerds become cool, nerds get the girl, Jocks are evil, Principals or Deans are the devil, The Brat Pack, a robot with personality, and it should have ended with the entire resort gathering around someone doing something truly good and heroic and they would all applaud.

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