Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Time Paradox

You know those movies where there's a big, epic adventure, but then something tragic happens, and at the very end, the main character gets to go back in time and stop it all from ever happening?  Sometimes, the whole movie is everything to do with going back in time to change the past.  And sometimes it's actually a good movie.

It happens in books, too.  There are also the stories of love transcending time: the lovers that belong to different decades, centuries, or even millenia.  These never end well, and annoy me to end!  You know as you pick up the book that it can't have a good ending, but the first few pages make it sound so worth it...  Ha!

The Clearing, for example.  I know I've already posted a review of this book, but I would like to say just again how awful it was.  Really!  It was disappointing, and the end was just a--"Oh!  I have to end the book now, but I don't have a mind-blowing resolution...  I'll copy everybody else!  The main character dies!"  (Oh, were you planning on reading that book?  No, I didn't thinks so.)

It all comes down to three things: the ending, what was changed, and how it was addressed in the rest of the story.  These three things are what determine the quality of a time-related story, in my opinion.  I'd like to give you a couple of great examples of this story type.

One of my absolute-favorite movies, this story does it right!  What I love about this one is that nobody is travelling through time... it's just letters transported two years into the future/past by a magic mailbox that never gets explained.  I think I like this time-related story most because it's about the romance, and not really the concept of time-travel.  The photography helped, too, as did the beautiful writing. :)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!  I have to admit that, without a doubt, I think Harry Potter is the only book I've ever read that does the time-travel thing well, as well as the only film that included all the details I wanted.  What I love most about how J.K. Rowling approached this one is the little details she throws in the last few chapters.  Before Harry and Hermione give three turns to her time-turner, there are details in the action that are later explained by the time travel!  I have to ashamedly admit that it's been a long time since I've seen or read it, and I therefore cannot recall all of the specifics.

Neither of these movies use time travel as a way to erase the entire story.  I hate those!  When you get to the end, you're like, "Okay, so it never happened..."  I also love that the story was more important than the action.  Action is important, but it can't smother the actual plot, or it gets tiresome.

What do you think about time stories?  (No, I haven't seen Doctor Who, though I hear it's really great.)

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