Monday, May 2, 2016

Time travellers

Oh what a fantasy to be a time traveller back to past centuries and decades, disguised as someone from that era only to try have some sort of mission or trying to get back home. Maybe it was Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure which sparked my interest as a young kid back in the 80's. In this blog post I'm going to feature 2 current TV series which I've really taken a liking to which touch on the above mentioned themes, and one cult movie which to this day, remains one of my favourite films of all time.

11.22.63 - Hulu 2016 (TV Series based on the story by Stephen King

James Franco heads the cast of this time travelling drama thriller first set in our modern day millennium but then spins back into 1963. I've always really liked the roles Franco has played, he has a certain old school charm about him, that gracious smile and classic character appeal (maybe it's the fact he's born and raised in Palo Alto! A valley boy at heart). I guess my least favourite movie he starred in was 127 hours (because no one wants to watch a guy saw his arm off!) and his character in that was a bit cocky.

Franco spying on Oswald - 11.22.63
In a nutshell the plot of this series goes something like this: Jake Epping is an everyday school teacher in2016 who's friend Al (Templeton) that owns an old diner, entrusts him with a secret before he passes on due to illness. He shows Jake that he has a very special...broom closet(?) in his diner...which is actually a worm hole which leads back to 1960. Before Al passes, he gives Jake a run down on what he has been trying to achieve for the last 15 try and prevent the assassination of JFK (1963). Without giving too much more away, you kind of then get the idea that Jake now is entrusted a mission and travels back to 1960 and stays there establishing his life as a teacher back in that decade.

There are a number of intense scenes in the lead up to him slowly crossing paths attempting to spy on the accused Lee Harvey Oswald. The one thing I enjoy with this series is that Jake is immersed in staying in the era he's travelled to and the thought of him travelling back to 2015 doesn't really cross his mind too much, enabling the viewer to really get into the plot for him to try and put that curve ball into histories time line. Of course there is a love interest and a few heart stopping moments in episodes 4 and 5 and this is much needed to keep the momentum rolling. Still watching this one but I highly recommend to give it a go if you like the time traveller concept (and US political history).

Outlander - Starz 2014 (TV Series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon)

Recommended to me by a friend who knew I absolutely adored the drama, mystique and vintage appeal of Downton Abbey, I thought I'd give this english / Scottish series a whirl and I was pleasantly surprised to be hooked by the end of the first episode. This series also follows the time traveller theme and ties in Pagan ritual to attributing to the sacred stones of which act as a wormhole back into the year 1743. The main character Claire (Catrionia Balfe) is a war nurse working on the WW2 front in 1945. The war ends and she returns to her life back in London where she is re-united with her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) who was an english war captain responsible for arranging the secret missions into Europe. Being separated for 5 yrs thanks to the war, they decide to renew their marriage vows and take to the Scottish countryside to celebrate their second honeymoon. They stay in a quaint village where Frank knows the priest and there are many lazy days spent discussing ancient Scottish history and the victorian era when the English were under the rule of King Arthur and trying to over-throw the Clans to regain Scottish land. 

Jamie and Claire - Season 1: Outlander
While Frank and the priest discuss the history of the countryside, Claire is taken into the kitchen to speak with the priests housekeeper who reads her tea leaves and her palm and reveals an unusual premonition about Claire's future. There are a few more strange instances which follow this encounter and in the middle of the night, Frank and Claire decide to see if the fable of Pagan rituals run true by visiting the ancient rocks of Craig Ne Dun. They secretly discover an ancient female ceremony of dancing in the moonlight within the circle of the rocks and this ritual fascinates Claire to the point where she ventures back there the next day. After hearing a strange thunder role, she is drawn to touch the stones and then is thrown back into time to the year 1743. 

On her travel back to the 1700's and in a daze, she comes across the english army who think of her as a spy and the Captain tries to rape Claire in the process until the handsome red haired Jamie (Sam Heughan) appears. A fight ensues and Jamie is able to fight off the captain but is hurt by gun-fire. Claire is able to rescue him and treat several war wounds he attains from the English "redcoats" or soldiers. And from there....the story is born. I adore the antique styling and edict of the time. The sexism for me is highly confronting (I am feminist in nature) so the way the men treat the women in this time is appalling (and Claire seems to think so too!) yet she is vocal about this and does call it out (much to the dismay of the men) and makes you realise how forward 1945 actually was for women's rights (even though to this very day us ladies are still fighting for some pretty basic equality). The romantic chemistry between Claire and Jamie is intense and when telling my husband about the unfolding plot, he seemed a little jealous of my newfound "man crush" on the red head hehe. I highly recommend this series, especially now Game of Thrones has made its Season 6 appearance. It's a nice little filler in between waiting for other series to commence. Amazon has the entire 16 episode first season available for a small fee. Season 2 has commenced but I am yet to watch. You will find watching this show that every episode will be more intense than the last. 

Donnie Darko - 2001 (Flower films) 

Not sure what other folks think of this, but I hail Donnie Darko as one of the epic cult movies of the early millennium. The cast of a few familiar faces (Barrymore and Swayze) joins the brother and sister team Gyllenhaal's. They actually play brother and sister in the movie so this adds a real raw dynamic to the relationship between Donnie and Elizabeth. This film boasts of a timeless and haunting movie soundtrack which stays with you long after the film has ended. Set in the year 1988, the setting and scenes are strangely futuristic yet still have that 80's charm about them without being too over the top. Donnie isn't your run of the mill typical teenager. He's not a jock, a bit weird and has a number of different talents. He could even be mistaken for slightly autistic but this doesn't stop him from embarking on a series of unfortunate events which ultimately pave the way for him discovering the power of time. His parents think he needs psychiatric help as he references an imaginary friend "Frank" who when he sees him is dressed as a scary bunny rabbit.

Donnie and Gretchen  - Donnie Darko 2001
It's a movie with so many symbols and sub plots which fit together like a broken puzzle that I found myself needing to watch it a second time after my first viewing as there were so many scenes where if you blinked, you would miss something essential to figuring out. You learn about Donnie's alter ego, his visions, flashbacks and early in the plot, an aeroplanes engine actually falls through his bedroom ceiling. From there the story then spirals into weirdness with Donnie trying to piece together clues to why all these things are happening to him under the guidance of his imaginary friend "Frank" and some of the clues provided pointing to time and how it can be altered.

Barrymore plays Donnie's english teacher and her role in the movie is one of support for Donnie and his weird teen behaviour. Swayze makes an appearance as a do-gooder motivational speaker sent in to talk to the students about life and his cameo role is actually quite comical, as he explains to the teens about the 2 extreme's of life - "Love and fear". Donnie in his quest for protecting those he loves and holds dear, finds he needs to complete his search to be able to 'edit' time. Once with the help of 'Frank' he realises he has the power to do this and brings the tale of these 2 teen star crossed lovers to its finale.

When I first watched this film, I actually thought it was a twisted love story. Donnie has a love interest Gretchen in the film...she's the "new girl" at school and is almost as weird as Donnie. They both hit it off straight away and she becomes embroiled in Donnie's world. The emphasis on their teen connection is so strong that I guess that's what drove me to think of it as a twisted kind of love story, until I watched the directors cut which came out shortly after the main film and there are added scenes in it which then really reveal the "time travel" theme. Without rambling on too much more, this is really a film you have to see with your own eyes. There are a crazy amount of awesome one liners in it too and there are moments of comedy, sadness and disbelief. All the big emotions you would expect from this kind of cult film. Grab the popcorn and really enjoy it!

No comments:

Post a Comment