Tag Archives: Time Travel

Heroes: Ordinary People with Extraordinary Powers!

Heroes is an American series which aired during 2006-07. Each episode every week use to take my breath away. Heroes is back after nine years as Heroes Reborn. And this is when I felt nostalgic and decided to re-watch the first original season of Heroes. And damn I realized it was more awesome then I initially thought. This article is an account of my views about the breathtaking original season of the show.
Heroes_Logo

Heroes Season 1 : Genesis

It is where it started it all. A group of people from all around the world started discovering that they have powers. Claire, a 16 year old girl from Odessa, Texas, could heal herself after an injury of any extent, an ability known as Rapid cellular regeneration. Matt Parkman, a man from Los Angeles could read minds. Nathan Petrelli, coming from New York could fly. Niki Sanders from Las Vegas, had Dissociative Identity Disorder, that means she was two person in one. D.L. Hawkins, husband of Niki, could pass through walls. Peter Petrelli, brother of Nathan, could absorb powers from others and could do Anything! My favorite, Hiro Nakamura, could bend Time and Space, which means he could Travel in time. And then there was… Sylar! Like Peter, Sylar could absorb power from others too, but in order to do that, he had to murder the other person and eat(?) their brain. Its as disgusting as it sounds. There were other smaller characters with powers too. And all of them together had one role, that is to stop Sylar destroying New York.

Heroes Characters
(Clockwise from Top) Peter, Claire, Ando, Sylar, Nathan, Noah, Mohinder, Matt, Maya (not in first season), Hiro, Niki (or Jessica) and Angela

Season 1 was great. It slowly opened up the lives of people with extraordinary abilities and their reaction to it, while their lives crossed one another. And by the end each of the characters had some part to play. The story telling by the creator of the show, Tim Kring had a unique style in portraying the story and the character development. On the pretext of the power of time travel with Hiro, Kring use to take us to past and future in a blink of eye, thereby giving us glimpses of the story which would otherwise take many episodes to reach.

I can still not get over how the first episode of Season 1 of Heroes ended…

*mild spoiler begins*
Hiro is shown to have teleported to New York from within metro train in Japan. As soon as Hiro realize this and he reaches Time Square, he flung his arm in air and explains, “Yattaaaa!!!!” Everytime I see it, and in hindsight realizing what story is to be followed, sends shivers down my spine.
*mild spoiler ends*

Even watching Season 1 now, makes me think, that they had a plan. The first few episodes tells what exactly will happen. Rest of the season is just to answer, “how”. And boy does this season does that brilliantly.

In comparison to the first season I would not even want to talk about the rest of the season. So I would just summarize the rest of the season here.

Heroes Season 2: Generations
Several characters are introduced. Origins of “The Company” is revealed and something about a virus named “Shanti” threatens to kill most of human population.

Heroes Season 3: Villains and Fugitives
12 bad guys are escaped and hunt begins.. and something something.

Heroes Season 4: Redemption
Something I don’t even remember. And if I even remember somehow, I would probably want to forget.

Heroes Reborn Season 1: Awakening

Looking at the first episode of Awakening, it made me realize how great the Genesis was. So much so that I had to watch the Season one in its entirety to be dazzled again. But I am hoping later episodes can create that awe that original Heroes started. Although I am very skeptical.

cheerleader
Save the Cheerleader, Save the world!

What made Heroes Season 1 Special?

Coming back to Heroes first season, it seemed that it had a vision, and it had a sense of completeness. Right from episode 2, we knew how it was going to end. Every character arc was handheld maturely. Every character’s role was defined. Season one wasn’t pretentious. Every episode was allocated to unfold story arcs of a set of people. And when character used to cross paths, we knew it hold a pretty significant importance. The journey of Heroes season 1 and not just the climax was a ride into a world I can probably never forget.

Characters:

The characters in the original stories represented a wide variety of audience and was very balanced. On one end of spectrum we had a girl with dual personality – a rather dark tone, and a jolly Hiro Nakamura on the other end, with an ability that every one must have thought about when they were a child. At one end we had a man who was very doubtful about his ability to hear thoughts, and on the opposite end was a man who was confident about his ability to fly. At one end was a man who could absorb others power and still remain true by heart and on the extreme end was a man that could murder anyone for the lust of power. But midst all of these people with powers, there were people with no supernatural power at all. And what this show makes it interesting that those people are no less significant.

HiroNakamura
Hiro: The one who can bend time and space

Storytelling:

One of the best thing about the original Heroes is the storytelling. Yes, it had flaws. But the writers knew what they were doing and Tim Kring knew how to present the story in the most enthralling manner. To show the climax of the show in just the 2nd episode, sets a standard and the show actually stays put to it. The later seasons were met with bumpy roads and bigger plot holes. Many blame the writer’s strike that happened during later seasons but we may never know the actual cause.

CGI and Visual Style:

Half Helix Symbol
Half Helix Symbol

The effects in the show were practical, short but believable, subtle yet had an impact. The focus of the show was more on story than CGI, and hence CGI used was rather sparingly and wisely. For instance, when you have to show that someone was flying, you get the shots of building, panning and going up and down the streets. It makes ‘you’ imagine that you are flying. When Hiro needed to travel in time, the character just disappears and appears where it’s supposed to. Just like it would actually be for any Time Traveler who could travel in time just by thinking. The show didn’t need some flashy effects to show that. The use of paintings to show future (and past) was another practical effect that made the show memorable. You can use a painting to show as much or as little about the things to come in the show. As a viewer whenever you saw a new painting and the revelation which it brought, you were dazzled since you knew that its about to happen in near future. And don’t even get me started with the half helix symbol that if you can notice throughout the show.

Music and Sound effects:

This is probably the MOST important thing that makes the original Heroes memorable to me. Tim Kring gave the music directors total freedom to write music. And I must say the composers did a phenomenal job. Every character have its own signature style of music. Claire have a “dreamy” cue which shows the doubts and confusion that Claire have while she explores the extent of her abilities. Sylar had this distinct sounds of clock’s ticking to show how he have a knack to understand how things work like he use to understand and fix the complicated clockwork. Niki had a soundtrack that use to change to wind and Indian voices when Jessica use to take control to make viewers believe about her being possessed. Matt, who could read minds use to be depicted by voices in reverse. Hiro had a style of music that showcased an “urgency” and a sense of “unpredictability”. So on and so forth. Combined with other soundtracks of the show, makes for a pleasant visual cues that made us more aware of the show. Needless to say Music was a very own character in the show.

Peter from Heroes
Peter Petrelli: The man who can do everything

Narration style:

The start of almost ever Heroes episode began with a monologue and/or end with too. And most of the monologue was done by a character on the show who had no powers. Yet he was connected to almost every other character. This is Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor from India who wanted to carry on the work of his father, Chandra Suresh. The monologue use to raise mostly philosophical questions. It use to tie every character under common emotion and use to help them connect on a spiritual level. The narration sometimes were also done by other characters, which would play a crucial role in the respective episodes.

Heroes is a tale of Superheroes, survival, courage, and friendship.

Heroes have a grave impact on my way of thinking. And when I re-watched the original series it grew over me. I realized the depth of characters more than what I knew when I watched it almost 8 years ago. And I hope Heroes Reborn do justice with the spirit of original Heroes. There’s so much to talk about this show.. but probably later. For the time being I will end this article with this quote from Sylar… the greatest villain of all time.

sylar_at_halloween
Tick tock …

Source for Sylar quote: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Sylar-at-Halloween-time-264240044

Predestination (Spoilers)

I was able to watch Predestination few days ago and the movie was every bit I was expecting. I started to draft this blog, but it took me a while to complete.

Maybe the cause of my fixation with Time Travel and having been read a lot about Time Paradoxes, I understood the “main plot” in one shot. Heck, I would even say that the movie felt a little slow even if it was clocked around 90 min, for what was it worth. But the reason why I put “main plot” in quotes is that while the plot is crystal clear in my mind, to be able to write this post, I watched it again just so to note more details that I may have missed the first time.

The least you know about Predestination more you will enjoy it. Hence this article isn’t actually a review but an analysis of the movie’s plot. Needless to say, if you are into Time Travel movies, it’s best to watch the movie first and then come back here in case you need to know what actually happened in the movie.

Spoilers from here:

Predestination is a movie that will be a cult classic for those who want to study about “Predestination paradox”, “Novikov self-consistency principle” and “Bootstrap paradox”.

The events in the movie have no origin, no middle and no end in terms of causality. But instead is filled with loops that have to be followed in the order it is to be performed. A girl is dropped to an orphanage, raised to become a women, had a sex change into a man, time travels into the past, falls in love with his female version, gives birth to a baby girl, and then turns into someone who becomes totally unrecognisable, who then takes the baby girl back to the orphanage, there by closing one of the loops the movie had. But the movie have so many such loops that it easily gets viewers confused.

I am wondering about the prowess of writers who manages to write such a plot. If we write the movie chronologically of how she grew up, the involvement of her future self makes it complex. If we try to write about it in chronologically of Time it will be more challenging since causality will be very difficult to explain. Hence for me to be able to decipher all the loops I will need some terminology to setup.

A = Jane – The baby girl.
B = Jane – The women
C = John – After sex change, Jane becomes a man.
D = Ethan – When John’s face is burned he becomes Ethan.
E = Old Ethan – When Ethan becomes the Fizzle bomber.
R = Robertson, the person representing SpaceCorp

Keeping in mind above terminologies here’s what happened in the movie, plot wise:

1. The film starts in 2-Mar-1970, with C. When he’s at the location of the bomb trying to defuse it. But E tries to shoot C. (6 shots are fired from both sides in total). C while defusing the bomb burns gets his face burnt in the process. D comes into picture here and helps C escape the scene by sliding the time machine to him. C escapes to 0900, 21-Feb-1992.

2. In the next shot we see D (who have just transformed from C) in the medical room. (BTW, here he says, “I doubt my own mother will recognize me”, which is foreshadowing the event when D meets A and B :D)

3. D starts with a job at the bar as a bartender (in unknown time). This is where C arrives in the bar and D was waiting for him. It is also here where C tells D his life till now. (BTW, at this point D tells him the joke about, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?”, again foreshadowing the story).

C narrates D his story. And following events occur:

4. D drops A to the doorstep of an orphanage (0945, 13-Sep-1945).
5. A grows up into a girl. And she is confused about her gender since she knows there is something wrong about her. We will know soon what that is. She also wanted that when she would have a child, the child would have both a father and a mother, and so she vowed to be a virgin.
6. A grows up to B and is invited by R to join some kind of space program. (which we later comes to know that is actually not a space program but a way to recruit people who can travel in time).
7. But here B was rejected from the program since R found out that she had a two full set of organs: Male and Female. (We would know why later).
8. B then stumbles with C and since C is just a male version of B, C is captivated by her own beauty.
9. B gets pregnant from C.
10. C left B letting her sit on a park bench. (24-Jun-1963)
11. R shows up at B’s residence but founds out that she was pregnant, and again rejects B for SpaceCorp.
12. B comes to know about her weird body structure.
13. B gave birth to A, but someone steals the baby. (Later we come to know it was D).
14. And now, after some 3 major operations and many months later, B changes to C.
15. C now have a hatred for the one who ruined her life by making her pregnant.
16. C tried again to get enlist into SpaceCorp, but he was unsuccessfully.
17. C came to New York and started working as a chef but then she came up with the idea to publish articles under the pen name “The Unmarried Mother”. Reason that C was first a women, made her able to write so good with “women’s angle”.

18. D now opens up and says C that he can get him to meet the man who ruined her life, and “guarantee’s that he would get away with it”. (It is here that he asks “what if I am Fizzle Bomber, then proceeds to ask C if he’s a Fizzle Bomber, foreshadowing that Both are infact the Fizzle Bomber).

19. D time travels with C and brings him to 1705, 3-Apr-1963, gives him money and a gun and asks him to change clothes.
20. D also tells C to make the conversation to this time period, to its absolute minimum.
21. C then stumbles with B and realizes that it was himself who she met with in 1963. [Connected to point 8]
22. D goes to 1970 (0845, 2-Mar-1970), to stop E, the Fizzle Bomber. [Connected to point 1]
23. C is also there trying to defuse the bomb which E planted and while he tries to do it, he burns his face, (who then converts to D). (Exactly 6 shots are fired here, just like before). [Connected to point 1]
24. D travels to 2-Mar-1964, the time when B gives birth to A. [Connected to point 13]
25. D steals A, the baby, and take her to start of the story (0945, 13-Sep-1945) and drops A to the doorstep of an orphanage. [Connected to point 4]
26. D travels to 24-Jun-1963 when C is talking with B sitting on a park’s bench. D tells C that he would have to leave B. [Connected to point 10]
27. D takes him to 12-Aug-1985 and leaves him with the Tape Recorder where he have recorded instructions throughout his journey which would help C perform his work.
28. D would not retire and he wants to do that by going to 1975. R tells D that after he reaches to 1975, his field kit (time machine) would get decommission. D then travels to 1200, 7-Jan-1975 (date near to the blast by Fizzle Bomber) in preparation of his retirement.
29. The Time machine though, doesn’t get decommission depicting that he have a fully working time machine at it’s disposable.
30. D researches a lot on locating E, the Fizzle bomber and traces him in a Laundromat.
31. D recognizes E that he is “himself” but now aged.
32. E starts the conversation by saying “he missed D”.
33. E then tells D that he is not actually a Fizzle Bomber, but he have actually saved many lives using the Time Machine.
34. But all the persuasion proves futile, and D kills E.

35. The movie ends with a montage of all the phases of the protagonist’s life from, A -> B -> C -> D -> E.
36. In the very last shot before credits roll, D says “he misses C” like he mentioned before (or after) when he becomes E and meets D in Laundromat. [Connected to point 32]

Timeline Chronology:

Finally, taking into account all that that happened in the movie, here’s the actual timeline chronology:

13-Sep-1945 - Assumed birth-date of Jane (as per city records).
03-Apr-1963 - Ethan brings John to past in order for him to kill "the person who ruined his life")
24-Jun-1963 - When John leaves Jane on the park bench.
02-Mar-1964 - Real birth-date of Jane (as per the person's chronology).
02-Mar-1970 - Old Ethan plants bomb, John tries to defuse the bomb and Ethan tries to kill Old Ethan.
07-Jan-1975 - The date Ethan chooses to get retire
xx-Mar-1975 - The Main Bomb that the Fizzle Bomber manages to blast in New York.
xx-xxx-1981 - Invention of the Time Machine
12-Aug-1985 - Ethan have brought John to the 'facility' where he would get trained for 'the job'.
21-Feb-1992 - John traveled from 1970 after he gets his face burnt and becomes Ethan.

Predestination is an incredible and an excellent movie. It have got breathtaking attention to details and amazing execution of the paradoxes.

FAQ about Time Travel

Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel” sounds like a kind of documentary. But on the contrary, its one of those jewel, which adds a sparkling touch to my personal “must watch movies on time travel” list.
What starts with a boring conversation, soon turns out to be the most adventurous night the trio friend would ever have. And with an attempt not to disclose any spoiler, my review for this movie ends here.

Actually this movie can be watched as a guide to the ones who are newbie to the idea of traveling in time, and the paradoxes it involves.
One thing’s for sure, that after this movie, I am a fan of Chris O’Dowd. I also watched the series, The IT Crowd, which featured Chris, as a geek, having a seat in basement of an IT building, serving them, and getting nothing than ignorance in return.

I loved the series, cause I could sometimes identify with him. His ascent (probably Irish) made the dialogues even fumier. “Have you tried turning it off an’ on again“, oh boy, how I used to recite it like a mantra after him. Just seems yesterday.

On closing note, remember, not to perceive a nerd as a nerd, rather, call him an imagineer!

Primer – Complex to Understand than even Time itself.

Before I begin, I must say, that I love Time Travel movies. The journey of a man to the 4th dimension, and the probability of meeting with one’s own self is itself the most incredible idea that is enough to distill a world of possibilities (other than the probability that the Universe would collapse!).



But, I can claim one thing, that I have understood more of the story of Primer, after reading it on wikipedia, rather than watching the actual movie. I think, it would require a couple of watches more before I can fully understand the technicality of the story.

I would recommend this movie, for anyone with a high appetite for technical dialogue overdose or someone who wants to have a good night sleep!
But seriously its a must watch for a die hard lover of time travel concept, as it bring with it the most original and innovative method to travel back in time that I have witnessed the night of 1st Jan 2010… (albeit not so exciting, as to travel flying in DeLorean!).

Back to the Future

The mind of a true Sci-Fi lover would immediately recognize the title of this article.
Back to the Future” is a Robert Zemeckis epic movie which captured the imagination of 80’s. With a mind blowing story of a boy getting in trouble even before he was born and the special effects so great for the time, this movie was produced, it truly and literally justifies the title.
And yes, the eve of the new year, on Thursday, 31st December 2009, I was celebrating with my friend Ankur, watching the 2nd part of this incredible trilogy.
Memories came flooding back and each hair on my body was feeling the excitement as I was following the story. No matter how many times do I see it, it always feels the same, as it had when I first watched it years ago on AXN.
My only wish would be to watch this movie on the big screen. But for that I may need the  DeLorean, for the first part was released one year before I was born.
Time to go back in time…
Image Source: © Universal Studios. All rights Reserved.