Tuesday, May 5, 2009


In ‘The Time Machine’, Alexander looses his beloved Emma and begins his quest to build the machine to save her life. Every effort of his to save her always fails. This is a wonderful part of the script, that he could only invent the time machine because of her death. Therefore, the machine cannot possibly save her life. This creation paradox is ruined in the film when Alexander has this detail explained to him. It gives the audience nothing to figure out. This is a universal theme: either the time machine itself is a paradox or it is an abomination that leads only to tragic events.

Correcting one tragedy may lead to something far worse, a Greek element of story-telling. In ‘The Time Machine’, Alexander’s best friend is Filby. Filby is the name for Aaron’s cat in Primer. (Listen carefully to the fountain scene.) Some people may say that Abe could have used Filby as the first living time traveler. It certainly is not part of the story though. Others theorize that the cat is a reference to a paradox theory known as ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’. Filby is most likely a small tribute to the original book written by H.G. Wells in 1894. Without this early science fiction on time travel, Primer may never have been written.

Every use of time travel incurs serious thought and application of theory. There is no way for the author to write without some paradox. It only has to fit the rules established in the film. Carruth does an excellent job of this in Primer, despite the fact that many of his critics have not understood enough to seriously critic the time travel that is shown in Primer.