[January 31, 2007]
Have we met before? Shit! Nangyare na to eh! Well it has been quite a while since I’ve “blogged”. And what a coincidence or is it destiny that I’m “blogging” again right after the night when I said to JA that I would be quoting her response of my response that “right is right…” as “morbidly poetic.” Or maybe it’s just the movie or perhaps déjà vu then again maybe it’s the sum of all that.
Let’s define déjà vu. In psychology it is the illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time or an impression of having seen or experienced something before.
John Scaksteder’s summary of the movie Déjà Vu is as follows: After an explosion on a ferry that kills over 500 people including a large group of party-going sailors, an ATF agent (Denzel Washington) investigates the crime. AN FBI agent (Val Kilmer) also joins the investigation. Impressed with the ATF agent’s skills, the FBI agent invites him to join a new team that has a new program that uses satellite technology to look backwards in time for 4-1/2 days to try to capture the terrorist (Jim Cavieziel). Meanwhile a young woman (Paula Patton) who was burned washes up on shore. Meant to look like part of the explosion, the body arrives at its location too soon, which leads the agents to believe her death is related to the explosion. As they use the new technology to study the woman, the ATF agent determines that this is not satellite imagery but somehow is using a time warp. From this point in the film, the movie moves from a crime film to a sci-fi time paradox film. Nonetheless, the action is non-stop and always captivating. The end of the film may be confusing to some people, but it is all laid out if one cares to look carefully.
Let’s expound on what Scaksteder said as “sci-fi time paradox” and add a reality based exponent. Albert Einstein’s relativity theory actually states that time travel might be possible and up till now no one has really proven him otherwise but also no one has really proven it either. Here’s a crash on how time travel works. If we think two-dimensionally, the shortest route between two points is a straight line on the contrary, in a three-dimension (or a four dimension universe, time being the fourth dimension) it is not. Imagine a piece of paper; point A is five inches from point B. so how far would our pencil travel to connect the two points? Five inches, right? Now try folding that same piece of paper so that point A and point B is directly on top of each other. Now you got yourself your very first time machine; a crude one but with the same concept—warping space.
I am not saying that Déjà Vu or any other sci-fi time paradox film like Paycheck, Back to the Future or Butterfly Effect is possible. I’m just open to the fact that Einstein maybe right. However, that is where I draw the line for I believe that we could never change our past. And never try to. Because if we could do that, then who needs a future when we could always go back in time and change it. (CTRL-Z or UNDO for humans?) And think of the countless alternate or parallel universes each of us who goes back in time would create. It would eventually choke us out of existence.
In the film we see Denzel Washington try to change the past the first time by sending a note to himself warning him of the bomber who’ll be present at the dock but instead of foiling the tragedy before it happens, he actually is responsible for the death of his friend who sees the note instead of him and is killed and burned by the bomber and the countdown to the explosion still continues. Now the debate on ‘destiny’ kicks in. It is said that no matter how you change factors if something happened it will still happen but this time with a new set of factors, still, the outcome is what you tried to prevent in the first place.
How do you live your life knowing that there is already a pre-determined path for you to take? All along the yes or no or the right or left (right JA, life is a gamble) you chose were all just for the fun factor. Because no matter which, you’ll still end up with what your destined to have or destined to be (tragic irony or poetic justice?) Can you accept the fact that the world really is a stage and we are all merely actors who have scripts to follow and roles to act? That’s not my cup but if you insist then you can absolutely have mine.
The ending was a let down, for me. Denzel Washington eventually changes the present by changing the past clearly dislodging the notion of ‘destiny’ at least in the movie. It would have been more interesting if the events during the opening still transpired. Let me call it lack of realism, well, for a movie about time travel, you might brand me as one sick idiot looking for realism but hey, as what Gabriel from Swordfish said “it’s pushing the envelope.” And didn’t I try to interject some sense of reality in the prospect of time travel. But my cause might be all for naught for this is Hollywood we’re talking about and happy endings translate to bigger earnings. Or I’m just being morbidly poetic again.
As a conclusion, let me say that it is correct that we look for a present that is best for us or a future where we are at our best but we cannot do that by changing the past rather we learn from the past and use what we learned to construct a better future for ourselves. We do not need time machines or decipher Einstein’s theory of relativity so we can have a better present. For all we know, the present we have now is already the best present there is and we just might end up screwing it up by looking for alternate universes. What has been done has been done and time lost is in reality—time lost. We can never have it back again, at least for now. But we can pick up where we left and start all over again. It sure can be very hard to start from scratch. But it’s just like what if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world but you knew they’d never believe—you try.