I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a movie with a nerd, but let me just warn you, it’s not always easy. The problem we run into most often is his inability to watch inaccurate science fiction. “This could never happen this way,” “That’s not how it works,” or my favorite, “That’s so fake” are just a few of the huffy comments I hear while watching these movies. We’re watching a movie about dragons, of course it’s fake! The Nerd however, needs movies to be completely accurate while assuming some impossible stuff is possible. How do you know what’s accurate, you ask? Well, The Nerd knows, and that’s all that matters. Magic in the movie is fine. But magic in the movie that is more powerful than it should be is incorrect. Time travel is the biggest issue for The Nerd. Apparently, even though time travel is in itself impossible, there are rules a movie needs to follow in order to do it properly. Rather than attempting to explain The Nerd’s views myself, I thought I’d let him tell you how he feels. These are the two bad examples he references every time any movie or show has involves time travel.
Movies always get time travel wrong. Take for instance “Terminator”. The basic plot line is that (spoilers) a machine travels back in time in order to kill Sarah Conner, because her son, John Conner, leads the human resistance in the future and the terminator doesn’t want that to happen. Then Terminator 2 and 3 are more of the same, except the humans send protector robots back in time to keep John Conner alive. It’s absurd. Let’s imagine the logical necessity of the matter. If John lives into the future then the robots in the future are responding to the fact that he’s alive in the future. They respond by trying to kill him in the past. But if he already exists in the future then clearly the robots won’t be able to kill him in the past. But you respond saying, “but Russ, they are trying to change the past”. Well evidently you don’t understand time travel either. If the robot succeeds in killing John Conner in the past, then when the future time comes around and there is no John Conner, the robots won’t send an assassin back in time, as there is no adult John Conner that they want to get rid of. We arrive at a paradox in which if the assassin succeeds, then the conditions for the assassin existing never come to be. Thus the assassin must fail. Therefore our only conclusion is that robots are irrational or don’t understand the time space continuum? That seems rather bizarre. They’re robots for crying out loud. Bad all around.
Another example of a poorly used time travel device in films is in Harry Potter. Hermione comes across a necklace that let’s her go back in time. She is given this so that she can attend her classes because she has a hard schedule? First of all, a time travel device is an immensely powerful object. Giving it to an over achiever in school seems a tad irresponsible, but I digress. So she uses it, and in its use, the film seems okay. She travels back in time, but doesn’t really change anything, rather she just becomes a part of the present that they had already experienced. Yet, this should have created a doppelgänger scenario after the version of her that went into the past caught up to the future. If I went back to yesterday, and hung out with yesterday Russ, what would happen when we both went to sleep? We wouldn’t merge into one person or anything absurd like that. Instead we would simply both continue to exist.
But beyond the basic logic issues, there is an obvious story flaw. Why in the world would someone not keep this powerful object around for a time when it would be useful again, say when Voldemort starts murdering people? That’d be a really useful time to use it. Oh, you’re about to bring Voldemort back to life? No worries, I traveled back in time and stopped it. Thanks crazy necklace, millions of lives have been saved. You would like a bunch of powerful wizards could keep their eyes on a time traveling necklace.
And don’t give me this BS, “it was magic” defense. That’s just a cop-out. Why didn’t someone just make another one, you know, out of magic? Oh, magic doesn’t work that way? Magic has certain rules? Well evidently logical consistency isn’t one of them.
As I’m sure you can imagine after reading that lovely insight to the nerd brain, the argument, “this is strictly for entertainment purposes so don’t over-analyze it” most certainly does not work for The Nerd. Apparently things cannot be entertaining if they don’t follow the rules. Now I’m not okay with a character dying in one scene and being alive in the next with no explanation, but there are some things you just have to get on board with. Like obviously, they couldn’t have continued to use the Time Turner in Harry Potter because that would have ended the series 3 books early and no one wanted that.