Thursday, April 26, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: In Time

2011, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1m0ne) -- download

Yes, I am that guy who is fond of those light-weight scifi movies.  I enjoyed I, Robot and Minority Report purely because I enjoy being presented with The Future.  And that italicize is a phrase, not another movie reference.  I like the glossy technology and the postulated extravagances.  Too bad but the only futuristic element of this movie is the premise -- that in the future, nobody ages past 25 (and apparently are engineered as beautiful) but then they have one year left. This one year is counted down on a sub-dermal clock and the seconds, minutes, hours and days are traded like rare commodities.  Yes, the cliche of how previous time is.

Niccol's previous movies are about the moral implications that technology sticks us with, whether it gene manipulation, artificial life or even just the age old ease of access to firearms.  There is a hint of a morality play in this movie but it's really hard to find in all the pretty people running around jumping off things and waving guns around.  The story would have been better if it had been an adaptation of a PK Dick story for the conspiracy would have been deeper and the cynicism so much more dark.  Alas the simple story is that it is wrong to steal time from people in order to just stay relativistically young and beautiful.

I could have forgiven the story if it was just a little more ... futuristic.  So, we have an established lower class where they live in fear of their 26th year. They have to trade time for food, for amenities and for the basic necessities of life.  Oh yeah, and booze.  And gambling.  They are all completely tied down by their need for more time.  Add in a few more puns or cliches cuz the movie sure does.  Meanwhile a few concrete blocks away the rich and beautiful lives for hundreds of years just because they are rich. But if they have this much time, why is technology and lifestyle so stunted and ... familiar?  Beyond the tech that establishes their world, there is not much else to enjoy.  So, all we end up with is a Bonnie & Clyde story of freeing time for everyone.  Pun.  Cliche.  Pun. Beautiful body. Cliche.  I don't have time for this.