Thursday, July 22, 2021

Gemini Man: A Missed Time-Travel Op

I saw Ang Lee's 2019 Gemini Man on Hulu last night.   Mainly because of what it could have been, but wasn't.  It had lots of star power with Will Smith and Clive Owen, and lesser-known Mary Elizabeth Winstead was good, too.  The action scenes were excellent.   As to the plot ...

Well, the story features Smith's Henry Brogan fighting a younger version of himself, sent to do him in by Owen's Clay Veris.   Smith not only acted well, but looked his younger self via a de-aging process I last saw in The Irishman, which worked very well.  My initial thought and expectation is this could amount to a good time-travel narrative, in which young Brogan has the advantage over his older self, in that the younger version could kill the older version, but not vice versa, since if the younger version were killed that would instantly erase the older version from existence.  (Of course, that time travel scenario would have had to account for why the older Brogan didn't remember being attacked by a younger version of himself, but that could have been fun to work out, too.)

Instead, the explanation for the older and younger Brogan is cloning.  Now, that has the advantage of certainly being possible in reality, in contrast to time travel, which (a) hasn't happened yet (as far I know), and (b) is likely to never happen, owing to the paradoxes involved (like the grandfather paradox: if you travel back in time and prevent your grandparents from meeting, how did you exist to travel back in the first place) and the "solutions" which are even more incredible than time travel (travel to past generates alternates realities, one in which the time traveler exists and one which the time traveler does not).  But, in my view, the cloning explanation for more than one Brogan makes for a more mundane, less intellectually challenging, even boring narrative.

But, hey, if I feel so strongly about that, maybe I should write a story with that time-travel mechanism, and get it to a Hollywood producer, rather than complaining about Lee's movie (for which Game of Thrones' David Benioff wrote the screenplay, with two others, so it's not even mostly Lee's fault).  Anyway, see the movie, if you haven't already, and see what you think.


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