Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PRIMER: A Mystery Why So Many People Like It

I finally watched Primer the other night on Netflix. I had been inspired to watch it after reading a lot about time travel. I read about time travel because other shows & movies disappointed me with their time travel. Primer was held up as a pinnacle of logical time travel.

I haven't gotten all the timelines of the movie down. Frankly, I don't care to do so. The characters weren't compelling enough to make me care for most of the movie. A lot of reviewers phrase that the movie doesn't dumb itself down and explain itself. Being bored was one reaction.



Now I can say that I didn't get beyond understanding the characters other than they are engineers trying to make an invention that would make them millions. They accidently invent a time machine. They then experiment with it to see what happens. It takes four days (roughly double that for them just sitting around in a hotel room doing not much of anything).

I didn't get any sense of personality from the characters. They don't want include their other two partners. One of them wants to punch some guy in the face (who was that other guy, anyway). At first they don't want to run risk of paradox or anything. An event arises that causes them to operate their failsafe machine. . .and it somehow involves a girlfriend that one of them instantly develops. Huh?

How does the main character have a wife and a child, anyway? At least not have one that doesn't argue with him all the time about spending all his time in the garage and no time with the family? No tension after so many attempts at experiments to make money fail? Attempts at secondary characters fail because none of the secondary characters were developed enough to make the audience care or understand why they should be there.

The "science" of the time travel makes enough sense, like how the "science" of Inception makes sense. Whereas the rules of Inception make the narrative boring for me (even as I appreciate the consistency), the rules of Primer without "dumbing down" make it too convoluted for me.

Doubles, triples and quadruples dabbling in the timeline doesn't get explained until the end. . .and it took an explanation online for me to connect obscure events to a plot point. The sound quality sucking could have done something with the obscurity.

To me, it's a mystery why so many people like Primer. Maybe so they can feel challenged by a plot not being spelled out for them, requiring multiple re-watchings? I would be into multiple re-watchings if the characters and the world built proved compelling. . .but they don't.

I found the movie too boring to re-watch. Reading the summary multiple times and peoples' theories about it held my attention better. I'm just not motivated to watch it again in the attempt to make connections and gain comprehension.

Can anyone else explain why so many people like it?

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