Quantum Droid: Source Code (2011)

Quantum-DroidSince I have a sincere love for anything that relates to time travel (thanks to seeing Back to the Future as a youngster, which is of course the greatest movie of all time!), I hereby introduce a new review series, Quantum Droid. There’s a heck of a lot of material for this series, and I will look in on it every now and then as a break from the usual series I’ve got going. The inaugural entry for this series is the newly released ‘Source Code’. Enjoy.

Source-Code-PosterTheorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Doctor Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top secret project, known as ‘Quantum Leap’. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Doctor Beckett, prematurely stepped into the Project Accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own time was made through brainwave transmissions, with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Doctor Beckett could see and hear. Trapped in the past, Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right, that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next leap will be the leap home.

Hang on a second… I’m reviewing ‘Source Code’… My mistake.

Source-Code-1Theorizing that one could be inserted into the consciousness of a dead man for eight minutes, Doctor Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) led an elite group of military scientists to develop a top secret project, known as ‘Source Code’. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Doctor Rutledge employed Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), a helicopter pilot and Iraq war hero, to step into the shoes of Sean Fentress, a victim of a terrorist act that killed all passengers on a Chicago train that morning. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own time was made through brainwave transmissions, with Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), the Project Observer, who appeared on a computer monitor that only Captain Stevens could see and hear. Trapped in the test chamber, Captain Stevens found himself repeatedly leaping to the same point in time, with the mission to put things right that once went wrong, to find the bomber and thwart another imminent large scale terrorist act, and hoping each time, that his next leap will be the leap home.

Am I crazy or are there some similarities there?

Source-Code-4Okay, so I think I’ve got that out of my system. ‘Source Code’ takes the premise of ‘Quantum Leap’, and combines it with ‘White Tulip’, a season two episode of Fringe that starred Peter Weller as a scientist repeatedly travelling back to the same point in time in an attempt to prevent the death of his fiancée. The difference in ‘Source Code’ is that the events of the past cannot be altered (or can they?). Captain Stevens is sent back to spend these eight minutes with the single purpose of locating the bomb and identifying the terrorist in order to prevent the next attack. Along the way he manages to meet and fall for Christina (Michelle Monaghan), learn the truth about his involvement in the project, and make peace with his father (in a cute nod to the films all too obvious inspiration, Stevens father is voiced by Scott Bakula).

Source-Code-2After his impressive debut film ‘Moon’, David Bowie’s kid Duncan Jones was one to look out for. What he shows with ‘Source Code’ is a more traditional (and welcome) directorial style. More intent on building a scene and keeping the pacing tight and effective, Jones thankfully doesn’t resort to shaky cam or hyper-editing to paper over the cracks of a thin premise. His style reminded me on numerous occasions of The Fugitive’s Andrew Davis. This is a good thing. The screenplay by Ben Ripley on the other hand, I take huge issue with. To put aside previously mentioned similarity to ‘Quantum Leap’, the screenplay never satisfactorily convinces on its central premise. There’s a bit of pseudo science talk (more like mumbled by Jeffrey Wright), but you do have to meet the film more than halfway if you’re going to buy into it. The other problem I had with the screenplay I unfortunately can’t talk about, because to do so would amount to be a huge spoiler. Which is a shame (for me) because it’s a doozy and it borders on film ruining. To get the happy ending that filmmakers think that audiences demand, ‘Source Code’ hasn’t really played fair and expects us not the consider the ramifications of the ending. That the film just barely survives it shows just how forgiving I am towards time travel type movies. Okay, I’ve changed my mind, I’m going to talk about it. But I’ll invisitext it at the end of the review.

Source-Code-6The films performances are a bit of a mixed bag. Jake Gyllenhaal makes a sympathetic hero, as lost as we are as to the true nature of his whereabouts and his involvement in the project. I have to say that after waking in the train at the beginning of the film, Stevens takes the initial revelation that his reflection isn’t his own pretty damn well though. I’d be a little bit freaked out to be quite honest. He also handles the action elements of the role, as well as the emotional. Michelle Monaghan has a natural screen presence, and has perfected the “obtainable” love interest. To clarify, she’s pretty in an obtainable way, and has that matey personality that makes the audience sympathise with her almost immediately. This is essential to the characters success, as she has to repeat the same scenes and dialogue over and over again with only minor variations. Monaghan does just about as well as anyone could with the character. The relationship between these two make the movie work a lot better than it would have otherwise.

Source-Code-3On the acting down side, I’m yet to see the appeal of Vera Farmiga. The only thing I remember from any of her performances are a quiet earnestness. That’s a kind way for me to say she’s a bit boring. And while it’s not a bad performance per se, it’s just kind of… there. Admittedly the ‘Source Code’ screenplay, hasn’t given her much to work with. While Farmiga’s performance was a little on the average side, it’s award worthy when compared to Jeffrey Wright’s, who is an actor I usually like. Armed with one of those reliable acting props, the crutch (meant to immediately make a one dimensional character more interesting), Wright mumbles and twitches his way through the film without ever developing the character in any interesting way. The thinly drawn character needed someone a little more passionate, a little more energetic. To venture back to the previously mentioned Fringe episode, Peter Weller would’ve made a more interesting choice.

Source-Code-5At its core, ‘Source Code’ is an entertaining crowd pleaser that doesn’t hold together upon close examination. It has moments of inspiration, such as the revelation behind Colter’s involvement in the project, and the films pacing and direction are spot on. To this Duncan Jones can be credited. It also features two nice performances by Gyllenhaal and Monaghan. But there the praise ends. ‘Source Code’s rules are vaguely defined, and although the central premise is a strong one, they aren’t explored in and interesting way. Limitations are placed on the story by the eight minute deadline (creating tension is the only reason I can think of as to why it’s eight minutes) makes the film fall a far short of it’s potential. For this and the spoiler reasons below, I give ‘Source Code’ two helpful holograms out of a possible four.

Quantum-Droid-Rating-2If you have seen ‘Source Code’ then read the invisitext below. But if you haven’t, then I strongly recommend you don’t. Unless you don’t plan on seeing it, or don’t care about spoilers.

Oh Boy!

DroidLet the invisitext begin!

Okay. So I assume from here you’ve seen ‘Source Code’. So I shall rant a bit. Where ‘Source Code’ completely jumps the shark is the end. First of all, Rutledge has explicitly stated that the source code only lasts eight minutes. Now surely there’s a reason why. Stevens just decides that he can live longer than those eight minutes. That goes against everything that we’ve already been told. How does the source code work? There’s no explanation as to how a person can be inserted into the mind of someone else. There’s some mumbling about how the brain works and whatnot, but we are asked to take it on faith that this somehow works. I was going on the fact that these are Sean Fentriss’ memories, and Stevens was somehow in his mind and able to move around in them. This is beyond far fetched, but I was able to accept it. But to try to paper of the cracks of logic and make it the actual real world he’s being inserted into is absolute horseshit. It makes absolutely no sense and the movie simply doesn’t even attempt to explain it.

The second sticking point I have with ‘Source Code’ is again, the end. Poor fucking Sean Fentriss. What about him? Sure, Colter. Walk off into the sunset as Sean. Get a second chance. Get to bang Christina. Get to fucking live a long life. What about that poor schmuck who’s body you’ve stolen? Didn’t you stop to consider him? You’ve saved a train load of people, but stolen someone elses body while you’re at it. And you’re going to have a reminder every time you look in the mirror. On top of that, your real body is still in the source code project! So when another terrorist act occurs, we’re going to have yet another fucking Colter Stevens running around in someone elses body. How is that fair? Really, the film could’ve found a legitimate way to end with Colter saving the train, and him getting to speak to his father one last time, and then being put out of his misery by Goodwin. It’s not as upbeat an ending as walking through Chicago arm in arm with Christina, but at least it doesn’t leave such a bad taste in my mouth. Really, what a selfish bastard. “I want you to have the decency to let me try.” I want you to have the decency to let the poor bastard who’s body you’re inhabiting to have his fucking body back!


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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

168 responses to “Quantum Droid: Source Code (2011)”

  1. Jarv says :

    Haven’t read the in Invisitxt but looking at the length of it that looks like some blunder.

  2. Jarv says :

    Reading the spoiler- you’re spot on. That shit happens A LOT in time travel things of this sort, and it’s always severely unpleasant.

    Rude selfish bastard.

    I also had to look up Vera whatshername. I’d always been under the impression that I liked her for some reason, but looking at it the only thing I can remember her in is The Departed.

    Which is poo.

    Wonder where I’ve got that idea from? I think it’s like when we were talking about Urban, and we “liked” him despite the fact that he’s in uniformly terrible films and completely unmemorable.

    • Droid says :

      She’s also in Up In The Air. And again, she’s okay but forgettable. I don’t hate her or anything. I just find her boring.

      For some reason I like Urban. It’s inexplicable due to the amount of dogshit he’s in, but he seems to walk between the raindrops. I never really associate the film with him.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s inexplicable due to the amount of dogshit he’s in, but he seems to walk between the raindrops. I never really associate the film with him.

        That’s exactly what I was thinking about with her- maybe it’s because they’re both so unmemorable.

      • koutchboom says :

        Vera been in some good movies. Running Scared and Joshua come to mind. But she is one of those actresses movie sites and places like to play up as being some amazing up and coming actress.

    • Droid says :

      It’s also inexplicable the amount of reviews that either…

      a) Don’t think about the implications of the end.

      b) Don’t care.

      The movie doesn’t play fair with the central premise and expects the audience not to think about it. It annoyed me a lot.

      • Jarv says :

        I think it’s because it’s almost a convention- people ignore it because they partly expect it. However, you’re right, it is prime cuntishness.

  3. Xiphos0311 says :

    Glad I avoided this and I almost went last weekend. I have trouble passing up sci-fi.

    I looked up Farmiga and man she’s in a bunch of movies but the only thing I remember in is a goofy movie called Running Scared which I admit is total crap yet I like it.

    I think Urban get’s a pass becasue he seems like a decent guy and like if you ran into him at the pub he’d buy a round.

    • Droid says :

      Is that the one with Paul Walker? I’ve been meaning to see that.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        yep that’s the one. It’s totally nonsensical and goofy as hell but it’s fun. Don’t take it seriously it’s like a live action cartoon but less coherent then most. I also suggest beer and or Pizza to go along with it.

      • Bartleby says :

        is that the one where Farmiga and the kid **SPOILERS**end up in the home of these crazy murdering paedos **SPOILERS** at one point? That was a crazy movie, and rather entertaining as I rememeber.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Bart you are correct sir. It’s totally wacked out but entertaining as hell

      • Bartleby says :

        haha, yea Running Scared is a lot of fun. Thinking I need to rewatch it. Is it bad too, I think I’m actually pumped for Fast Five.

        Tonight, though, is Hanna. Hoping this is the spy flick that finally grabs me. I missed the boat on the Salt love for some reason last summer.

      • Droid says :

        SALT FTW!!!

        I’m interested in seeing Hanna. Could be good. And Fast Five looks hilarious.

    • Jarv says :

      I think Urban get’s a pass becasue he seems like a decent guy and like if you ran into him at the pub he’d buy a round.

      That’s a nice way of putting it. That’s probably what it is.

  4. Bartleby says :

    Interesting take, although I disagree.

    It isn’t that I personally didn’t think about implications or didn’t care. For purposes of review, it’s not immediately tied into how the movie works previously. The science there is wonky, and vague. By the end, it’s operating on theoretical quantum mechanics as near as I can tell.

    However, what’s being suggested by the ending might be a little more than what you have assumed above. Only thing I will cop to is that there should have been more explanation about where Sean is, and some moment of realization. I know it’s probably a cheat for me to argue this, and then fail to lay it all out, but there it is.

    I will say that I expected the movie to end as you laid out in the spoiler text, and I might have preferred that. There’s some tantalizing and creepy stuff suggested in that last image, and it implies that the SC wasn’t what we thought it was. A few more moments or hints throughout and I think it could have tightened it up. I give you that the writing also purposefully ignores that.

    I really enjoyed the movie and think the ending plays for good discussion. I’d also argue that it’s no less improbable or sound than Frequency, which also takes some intense liberties with time travel and makes a mess of them. I’m a big fan of both movies.

    Eitherway, potato, tomato. Nice review.

    • Droid says :

      I’ve been trying to formulate some sort of sensible explanation for the end not actually being real life, but some sort of extension of his psyche. Like he lived on in his mind. But it’s such a half thought that I can’t work out how that would work. I’m too stupid to work something like that out.

      I have to admit that for most of the running time I enjoyed it. As I said, Jones did well keeping things moving and entertaining. But the end shit me, and the more I thought about it the more things began to fall apart. And that annoyed me a lot. Frequency has mucho issues, but they’re minor compared to SC’s issues, which is at the core of its premise. Also, SC took its time travel stuff a little more seriously than two guys talking on a CB radio.

      • Bartleby says :

        I know what you mean. You aren’t wrong. I spent all last weekend trying to puzzle it out, and I’ve found some stuff and explanations that are–honestly–too brainy for my capacity. I understand them, but I don’t buy them, because they aren’t in keeping with a general audience member’s thoughts.

        Frequency is more self-contained. It’s probably closer to a Twelve Monkeys paradox. You know, I bet with a few minimal edits the issue you mention could have been easily reworked without giving a ‘this is it’ answer and still not left that weird taste.

        I’ve considered trying to map SC out but with my current workload of reviews, I don’t think it’s a wise idea. Map would probably look like a pretzel anyway.

        I personally think it’s living on in his own mind and not, if string theory is actually in play. If it is, then **SPOILERS**Sean died on that train, and Colter is living whatever life the soul has when the body died**SPOILERS END**

        Best way to end it now….Colter and gal pal walking into sunset, and as he takes her hand, he hears an annoying Gilbert Gottfried voice shriek through his head: ‘Get your hands off my girl, jackass!!’

        Queue Colter looking at screen with a ‘Whoops!’ face and the inevitable sitcom, with Colter and disembodied Sean solving petty crimes together.

      • Jarv says :

        Did you ever do that review of Norwegian Wood Jonah?

      • Droid says :

        Best way to end it. A POV shot of Colter looking at Christina with Seans voice over saying “Christina. Christina, I love you, Christina. Oh, look away. Look away. Look away. Look away. Look away. Look away. Look away. Look away.”

      • Bartleby says :

        not yet Jarv, unfortunately too busy watching crap like Your Highness, Soul Surfer, Arthur and Hobo with s Shotgun.

      • Jarv says :

        Your Highness is being bloody advertised everywhere here and looks as funny as root canal

      • Droid says :

        There’s the things like the email that he sends to Vera. That’s obviously real world. That was not explained satisfactorily.

        Also, if Sean died then everyone else died. If Colters living whatever life Seans soul has then he’s not stolen his body, but his SOUL!!!! Evil bastard!

      • Droid says :

        Your Highness looks funny! Mainly because Danny McBride makes me laugh. I cannot rationally explain why he makes me laugh. He just does.

  5. Xiphos0311 says :

    Arthur looks dismal.

    • Bartleby says :

      it is. the first one was great, in this one you cant even always tell if brand is supposed to be drunk or not. you are never in doubt, however, if he;s a cunt. its obvious.

    • Jarv says :

      Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to remake Arthur. The only success in that film is because of John Gielguld, who’s now dead and there’s nobody around fit to tie his shoelaces.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Geilguld was excellent in Arthur truly stellar. Everybody else not so much. Overall the original was OK.

      • Jarv says :

        Geilguld was one of the greatest actors that ever lived, and not too shoddy a theatre director as well. Mirren is a good actress, but not in that league.

    • Droid says :

      Haven’t seen the original Arthur.

      • Jarv says :


        It’s Alright, I suppose. Gielguld is very good, Dudley Moore is OK, but it’s basically about a bumbling fuck that’s perpetually pissed and he learns something about himself.

      • Droid says :

        Isn’t Helen Mirren in the Gielgud role in the remake?

      • Bartleby says :

        I watched original just recently and it is actually a decent comedy. Gielgud makes it great. One could argue that Minelli does the exact opposite.

        Good, great, ok or terrible, it never should have been remade.

      • Bartleby says :

        yes, she is. She’s good, but Gielgud only had to deal with Moore, who to be fair, was actually attempting to play an alcoholic and nowhere near as cuntish as Brand. Here, they give Bran Luis Guzman to offset the cuntishness and that doesn’t even work.

      • Droid says :

        Although I’ve never seen it, I’ve always just thought that Dudley’s Arthur was a bit of a loveable drunk who only really hurts himself and doesn’t really have too much of a negative impact on those around him. I can imagine Brand as one of those fuckwit drunks who thinks he’s the life of the party and shows up uninvited because he assumes everyone likes him when in fact he’s the cunt who everyone goes out of their way to avoid and is universally loathed.

      • Jarv says :

        Again, so he’s not acting? Actually, that description sounds exactly like my boss who’s bastardry has ruined my day.

        That’s not a bad description of Moore’s Arthur. He’s not meant to be a bastard, just a buffoon.

      • Droid says :

        Why have you got to stay until 3?

      • Jarv says :

        Because he’s a cunt.

        Historically, when term finishes that’s it- tools down, piss up on. However, for some reason best known to himself he sent us an email saying “you can finish at 3 today” like we’re meant to be grateful.

        Fuck him. I’m going to go and get the free beer anyway.

      • Jarv says :


        Have beer.

        Still fuming.

      • Jarv says :

        Got second beer.

        Feeling marginally better.

      • Jarv says :

        Fuck it.

        Going to go and get a third beer.

      • Jarv says :

        Out of beer.

        Forced to drink wine instead

      • Jarv says :

        Found more beer. Life is better again.

      • Droid says :

        It’s a toss of the coin which Arthur you are. I’m leaning towards the cuntish Brand version.

      • Jarv says :

        Fuck you.

        I’m a scholar and a poet, and I’m going to be sitting in the sun drinking beer and all will be splendid in under 45 minutes.

      • Droid says :

        Fuck you.

        Very poetic and scholarly.

      • Jarv says :


        The perfect construction of metre, form, and expression.

      • Droid says :

        I’m seriously considering just leaving early today. My boss is over at canary wharf. And it’s nice outside. Plus I hate work.

        All roads lead to doing a runner!

      • Jarv says :


        I’ve got a crushing headache. I really am having a terrible day all round.

      • Droid says :

        Bit pissed already are we? Ya fucking lush.

      • Jarv says :


        I’ve been sitting in the sun with French Minion, Italian TA and English TA (the hot one, not the myriad creatures), drinking beery loveliness and smoking lovely cigarettes.

        How’s the spreadsheet?

      • Droid says :

        I feel sorry for all three of them. No one should be forced to socialise with the likes of you.

        Well, the spreadsheet isn’t getting much of a look in right now. Haven’t really done any work for a couple of hours.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, the spreadsheet isn’t getting much of a look in right now. Haven’t really done any work for a couple of hours.

        Huzzah! The economic recovery starts here!

      • Droid says :

        We’re all doomed if the hopes of economic recovery ride with me.

      • Jarv says :

        It rides on you not doing your job.

      • Droid says :

        If thats the case, then England shall ascend to unforeseen and unimaginable power and riches.

      • Jarv says :


        Things are looking up.

        In other news, I’m now on my 5th Beer.

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    I saw it, and also have seen Frequency. I like both. My guess is that by shifting what happens, Colter creates a new timeline(?) via the fun filled butterfly effect. I think that’s what the implication was here, he rides off into a new timeline w/ our brunette friend there. What happens to Sean Fentress? He IS Sean Fentress, maybe? It just didn’t bother me.

    I agree you don’t wanna think too hard about any of these timeline flicks, the logic kinda caves back in onto itself–but while watching them go thru their paces on the train etc-this movie works by and large.

    It’s a rental. Didn’t catch that it was Quantam Leap’s voice on the phone though! interesting.

    • Droid says :

      How does it create an alternate timeline? This is the thing that I cannot understand and the movie just zooms passed without bothering to try to explain.

      Basically they’re plugging Colters mind into Seans remaining consciousness right? So Colter is accessing Seans memory. So the only thing Colter should be able to change is Seans memory! There’s not a single valid argument or explanation I’ve seen that can prove to me how accessing Seans mind will manifest itself in the real world!

      • Jarv says :

        The other argument is that as whatshisname would be dead anyway, it doesn’t matter that he’s carjacked the body,

      • Droid says :

        Not if it’s the real world. THESE ARE SPOILERS The movie ends with Colter in Seans body with Christina. He’s sent an email from the source code to the real world Vera telling her about it. In the real world Colter is still in the project. It’s possible that there was some sort of transferrence of the mind, and Colter as Sean has been transferred to the consiousness of real world Colter. I’m starting to think that we need Jonahs map to try to keep this theory together.

        Whatever the case, it’s poorly executed. It makes me appreciate Inception a lot more, because that dealt with similar themes and was never confusing.

    • Bartleby says :

      I think it’s that, according to what I ould parse, that what the source code really did wasnt jst a memory world, but a closed circuit alternate reality. It lasts eight minutes because thats (arbitrary number) how far back before the trauma they can go. If you somehow manage to stop the truauma, then you circumvent an end to the source code. That laternate world inserts Colter’s consciousness into a slot where Sean is. In the world at the end that Colter saunters off in, there is no Sean because the tangent universe was born the moment Colter started mixing things around. SO, Sean either died on that train, or due to some ripple through the alternate universe string, he’s sagfe and got off the train with everyone else and his girl. Colter’s consciousness is living out in the contained universe, no longer contained and opened up to the possibilities of a normal causal universe.

      • Droid says :

        a closed circuit alternate reality

        Okay. This could be the case, but what the film doesn’t explain (well the film doesn’t explain anything!) is how this virtual reality with living, breathing, CHANGING and ADAPTABLE people (their actions can be changed/manipulated) can be created by Seans memories. If the source code allowed you to walk in Seans shoes for 8 minutes and see what he saw, possibly seeing something significant that you can use to identify the bomber, then okay, thats fantastic but believable. This is not the case however. What the source code creates is a fully manipulative, free roaming world from the memories of one man. There’s people in this world that Sean would never have even seen, let alone was familiar with (I know that the movie tries to make a point that he’s “talked to most of these people before”). How the source code can create this world, virtual or not, is never satisfactorily explained.

        If you somehow manage to stop the truauma, then you circumvent an end to the source code.

        That’s never stated, and the movie scientist (who invented it!) makes a point of saying that it can only last 8 minutes. What you say may be true, but how and why is it true? Again, the movie never explains anything. Colter says he wants to try to save her. They say it will make no difference, everyones already dead. Colter tries anyway and does thwart the bomber. And the program continues. Why/how does it continue? It’s a program. I don’t get it. I deserve something more than taking it on blind faith.

        That laternate world inserts Colter’s consciousness into a slot where Sean is. In the world at the end that Colter saunters off in, there is no Sean because the tangent universe was born the moment Colter started mixing things around. SO, Sean either died on that train, or due to some ripple through the alternate universe string, he’s sagfe and got off the train with everyone else and his girl. Colter’s consciousness is living out in the contained universe, no longer contained and opened up to the possibilities of a normal causal universe.

        If Colter has replaced Sean in this alternate universe/conscious, why does he look like Sean? Surely he should never have looked like Sean in the first place if it was a like for like switch. There are far too many instances of just ignoring the details of the plot for my liking.

        As an ignore the plot, race against time action thriller I think this works pretty well. But as a time travel/alternate reality scifi movie there are more gaping holes than a pornstar convention.

      • Jarv says :

        Reading that- I seriously recommend you watch Primer.

      • Droid says :

        I’ve got it on my PS3, in the time travel folder. I’ve been waiting until I start this series to watch it so I can review it.

      • koutchboom says :

        SPOILERS…even though I haven’t seen it?
        I thought the ending had to do with multiverses? Like each time he made that final jump was to a different verse with the bomb exploding and in the end he found a way to move on. There are hints that Wright may know about this and is sketchy about anyone asking questions and he is the one that is all strict about the 8 minutes, that he may know the real implications behind the Source Code.

      • Bartleby says :

        Yes, Droid you have opened a can of worms on SC. I think though, that–and maybe it’s lazy on the part of the movie, maybe its not– we have to accept that movie scientist is lying when he says thats what the source code does. I guess my mind just messed with me, but I immediately thought it was revealed that the SC was actually a consolidated universe and as such it could only be reached by actually travelling time, regardless of what MS says it is. You have to concede that or its not working at all.

        The source code isn’t a trip back to Seans memories, although I suspect Sean’s memories are the key by which that door is unlocked, but some sort of trip back to the closed loop of a dead man.

        There are less ethical issues raised if Wright and co can sell it as a virtual reality.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah thats what I thought that Jeffery Wright was controlling the whole thing and putting the arbitrary 8 minutes on it and shunning away anyone who tried to probe his phliosophy.

        Still not having seen it mind you. But come on Echo can you honestly say Source Code is better than Insidious? Insidious is fucking CLASSIC! I actually read this on McWeeny’s review about it but he’s right, the movies soul goal is to scare the shit out of you and it works, and its great because it doesn’t fuck around. There were no false scares, like build up to something that just turns out to be a cat, every scare was on purpose.

      • Droid says :

        If thats the case… How? I don’t expect a lesson in quantum mechanics or something, but I do expect to be thrown at least a bone of an explanation as to how it works, and what exactly is occuring. Back to the Future gave us the flux capacitor. No real need to explain much more than that on a technical level. All we need to learn is that Doc has invented a device that makes time travel possible. Or I’ll give you Inception as an example. It clearly maps out for the audience how everything works, but in such a broad way that we get the feeling we understand how it works, without ever being told anything about the process. That’s what SC fails to do. I think it’s because it’s saddlebagged with having to hide the true nature of Colters reality. It doesn’t have the freedom to reveal important information because the story is centered around the mystery of his involvement.

        How can one mans memory be the link to time travel? HOW? I demand ANY sort of reasonable explanation!

      • koutchboom says :

        See I think that Wright doesn’t fully know what the Source Code can do, just that he knows it does more then what he’s saying.

      • koutchboom says :

        Isn’t there also a theory that SPOLIERS Jillenhall is actually dead as well?

      • Jarv says :

        La Jetee. Genuinely.

      • Droid says :

        we have to accept that movie scientist is lying

        Why do we have to accept it? The movie asks us to assume that the one guy who knows what the SC does, our one source of information, is a liar? We need this guy to be telling the truth (at least as far as he understands it). Because as the only guy who knows what the SC does, we rely on him to set the rules, to explain what the process is. It’s like if Leo turned out to be a liar in Inception. It doesn’t work. Without that guy who explains it all, we don’t know the rules of the game. And this is the result. We sit around trying to figure out what the fuck the SC was, and how it worked. This is a massive mistake the movie has made, and the more I’m talking about it the more I think I’ve overrated it.

      • Bartleby says :

        funny, the more we talk, the more I like it. Im curious what you will think when you start watching some of the more serious time travel films–like Primer–on that list.

        Right, whether or not Wright knows the SC does what it does in regards to time, the moment we as the audience see it do this, we know it to be true. You don’t need to be told that Jake has found a way to parse causal reality because we just saw it happen. In reality, Primer never explains exactly how it’s machine works either and what it does exactly is unknown to its creators until its already started to happen. Usually the only time time-travel is explained in one of these movies is when it can be done easily and off-the-cuff and the time travel is subordinate to everything else, i.e. Back to the Future. You get the concept once you nod your head that a flux capacitor can send you back in time.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah jesus Primer felt like fucking homework. That guy MAY have a new movie coming out soonish.

      • Droid says :

        the moment we as the audience see it do this, we know it to be true.

        When do we see it do “this” (and what is “this”)? The only time we see something that could prove that Colter was able to change events is the phone call he makes. But it clearly states that he doesn’t get through to Vera. “Next time I’ll order a pizza!” After this point in the movie, no one in the “real” world says anything about getting a phone call during the time of the bombing. Actually if they had thrown a line in there it would’ve gone a long way to establishing the rules and proving that he was actually travelling through time, and not entering a virtual world. Like I said before, I’m not asking that they explain exactly how this works. I’m asking that they prove to the audience what exactly Colter is doing, where he’s going (real vs virtual world) and that it does actually work. Because it’s never made clear exactly what/where/how he’s doing it, even in broad strokes (which is all we really need), we (in this case it seems to be the royal we) don’t get passed the initial concept and buy into the movie. You’re explaining it by using assumptions you’ve made. You may very well be right on the money, but unless Jones or the writer can confirm it, I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied.

      • Bartleby says :

        Droid, check out the link above. It doesn;’t actually explain the script, but Jones does talk a bit about the approach. I think the only difference is Im going off the idea that it’s not so much time travel, as theories of parallell worlds. Within that context, making changes in some tangent uiniverses affects the main universe. I do confess that I appreciate movies that let me build theories as opposed to being told outright.

        Then again, I think Im the only person who still likes the original Donnie Darko (as opposed to the directors cut).

      • Droid says :

        I’m not talking about having everything spelled out for me. I’m talking about a film having a sound concept that (while fantastical/hypothetical) is satisfactorily explained to the audience during the course of the film. To me, a film has failed when you have to read an interview afterwards to understand the central concept. I like to be challenged to meet a film halfway, but I don’t think a film should throw out vague concepts that don’t hold up. If SC had spent a few minutes with the movie scientist where he discusses the project with someone then it would be a much better film. Sometimes a little exposition goes a long way.

      • Bartleby says :

        Yea, I know what you mean. I’m not saying it’s not that way. We agree. It’s vague. I’m just offering a different interpretation from the ‘Colter steals Sean’s body/life/etc’ theory. Mostly just to offer up an alternative view that others might still dig the movie. I formed the alternate worlds theory while watching the film last week, before I even read Ebert or anyone else’s review and well before the article.

        But what you are essentially asking is the ‘how’ and I don’t see how they could have given me something that would have been satisfactory because what the movie is proposing is ludicrous, and could only ever happen theoretically. I’m really curious what you are going to think of Primer now.

        For me, a film has failed when it doesn’t do what it set out to do. Source Code sets out to be a thriller and thought-provoking science fiction film. For me, it did both, and it did the latter by presenting a theoretical concept and leaving out the physical why of it. I can see, in light of the whole, why they did it.

    • TomBodet says :

      Droid, you missed the part where the little Buscemi-voiced Robot scooted around the corner, humped Michelle M’s leg, hit the Butterfly Affect Timeline Enhancer(TM) switch, hopped off the train and caught a cab to Wrigley. Okay? I think it was shown kinda quick but if you were actually Paying Attention, you’d have seen it.

      Plus that part where McFly teaches Chuck Berry all he needs to know was a little scary.

  7. Jarv says :

    Looking at that rating has reminded me of something- I’m retiring the Orangutan of Doom for the video game reviews. It’s pointless because I’ve already given that cunt Boll 2, and that other cunt Anderson 1. The Bloodrayne review, however, gave me a great idea to unveil a “new” 0 Chang rating for that series.

    It’s annoying in a way, because I’ve been saving him for actively offensively dreadful films, but there are just too many in that series, and he’ll get overused.

  8. Bartleby says :

    and Ebert FTW with the first sentence of his Hanna review:

    Hanna” is a first-rate thriller about the drawbacks of home schooling.

  9. Spud McSpud says :

    He’s a FREEJACK!!

    So basically Sean Fentress is Emilio Estevez in FREEJACK, only they actualy caught him in SOURCE CODE, and Our Boy Jake is actually Anthony Hopkins!! That about right??

    Fuck. And to think Mrs Spud-To-Be actually wants to watch this shite.

    I’m digging out my VHS FREEJACK. That’s some quality early 90s SF shit right there 😀

  10. Droid says :

    I’m hereby welcoming suggestions for some of the more little known time travel movies that I may not have seen. We all know the big ones. I’ve got Primer at home, as well as Time After Time, which see’s Malcolm McDowell as HG Wells travel to 1979 San Fransisco in pursuit of Jack the Ripper, played by David Warner, and a young Mary Steenburgen (who incidentally doesn’t look much different from an old Mary Steenburgen!).

    Suggestions please!

  11. koutchboom says :

    Here’s a question, are there any time travel horror flicks? Besides Mindwarp, which I’m not sure totally counts as time travel. I guess Army of Darkness as well.

  12. Droid says :

    The list so far…

    Peggy Sue Got Married
    Time Bandits
    Time After Time
    Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
    A Sound of Thunder
    The Butterfly Effect
    Black Knight
    The Time Machine (both versions)
    Deja Vu
    Les visiteurs
    12 Monkeys
    Disasters in Time
    Happy Accidents
    Summer Time Machine Blues

    • koutchboom says :

      Just Visiting/Les visiteurs you pick.

      • Droid says :

        Whats the difference?

      • koutchboom says :

        Just Visiting is the English remake of Les Visiteurs, but is has the same leads (Jean Reno and another frenchie) and same director. I’ve never seen either but Just Visiting also has Kelly Bundy but at the time was considered the worst movie of that year.

      • Droid says :

        Is the original supposed to be good?

      • koutchboom says :

        I don’t know? Sounds like your typical zany French comedy. Heres a IMDB review about it:

        I watched this film late at night on Channel 4 while not being able to sleep, not knowing what on earth to expect. In fact it turned out to be a delightful film, which really made me laugh and was unashamedly silly while not being specifically aimed at kids. I ended up getting it on DVD and making my friend watch it: she also thought it was great. Neither of us can speak French and while we knew the subtitles probably weren’t getting all of the humour across we still found it very enjoyable. Shame it had to be remade, although I never saw the English version I’m sure it wasn’t as good. Recommended!

        (P.S. We were also shown some of it in French class – the teacher and I giggled throughout and no one else in the class did! So maybe an acquired taste, but I loved it!)

      • Bartleby says :

        koutch is right, they are nearly the same movie, and both are terrible. foreign one is actually worse.

      • koutchboom says :

        We should do a crossover event with my Adventures in Terrible Comedy. I choose the American one.

    • Droid says :

      Cool. I’ve chucked Les visiteurs on the list too.

      • koutchboom says :

        I say you add The Lake House on there as well!

      • Droid says :

        I’ll hold off on that one for now. Got plenty to keep me going. But cheers for the suggestion.

      • koutchboom says :

        Awww almost got you to sit through that insufferable crap. Well maybe it’s good i don’t know, I’ve never seen it. Pretty much any Keanu outside of an action flim = insufferable crap.

      • koutchboom says :

        Speaking of Reeves he’s got some Samurai flick coming out……hrmmmmm this could be awesomely terrible.

      • Droid says :

        There’s a few romantic time travel movies. Kate and Leopold, Lake House, Time Travellers Wife, Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve.

        I’ll do my darndest to avoid them all.

      • Droid says :

        Whens your next adventure in comedy? You should do Down in the Valley.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’ve been slow with watching movies recently I’ve done 100 already this year and feeling a bit worn out. I’ve had two netflix movies I’ve really wanted to watch at home for like 2 weeks. I’m planning on doing that Tom Green double feature, but its a pain because I just know HOW fucking bad that next Tom Green movie is going to be and finding it hard to find the will to watch it.

        Heheh Down in the Valley, Ed Norton as a Cowboy I guess thats the joke?

      • Droid says :

        He’s also doing Bill and Teds 3. Which could be anything really.

      • koutchboom says :

        I heard a good joke about Bill and Ted 3. The plot involves Keanu Reeves trying to find out what happened to the other guys career.

      • Droid says :

        Ed Norton as a cowboy?

      • koutchboom says :

        Thats what I read about the plot of Down In The Valley? That Ed Norton thinks he’s a cowboy. I didn’t know it was a comedy. I thought it was some actual cowboy movie.

      • Droid says :

        Oh, for fuck sake. I meant DEEP in the Valley. Ed Norton definitely isn’t in that one. But it does have Andy from Parks and Rec in it. It’s pretty funny. You should do that one for your Comdey series.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ohh ok I was like???? Yeah that movie actually looked pretty funny. You he’s married to Anna Faris?

      • Droid says :

        Is he now… Bastard.

  13. Droid says :

    How the fuck is Before Sunrise a time travel movie?


  14. Bartleby says :

    Hey Droid:

    For your list:

    Trinagle, by Christopher Smith. You can say it’s not traditional time travel, but it’s got all of the elements and I think it counts.

    Grand Tour/Disasters in Time: This is a cool little movie that was one of the first by david twohy. Jeff Daniels and Arianna Richards (Jurassic Park) dealing with time travelers who go back to witness great diasters.

    Time Bandits of course, although its not quite the same kind of time travel movie as the ones mentioned.

    The Philadelphia Experiment 1 and 2

    The Final Countdown

    Happy Accidents with Marisa Tomei and Vincent Donofrio

    and the one you really should check out is: Summer Time Machine Blues. You arent as allergic to subtitles as the monkey is are you?

    • Droid says :

      I’ve seen Disasters in Time. Thats a good one if memory serves. Thanks for reminding me.

      Triangle? Not really a time travel movie… hmm…. Maybe.

      Phili Experiment and Final Countdown cross over to my bday series, so I’m doing them already.

      • Bartleby says :

        I think Triangle istime travel in the same sense that SC is. There’s a supernatural explanation, but those people are trapped in a time loop of chain reaction. Once you have seen some of the other movies on that list, I suspect you will be more inclined to see it that way. Timecrimes comes to mind. Besides Triangle ha that awesome shot that shows what happens to the bodies in an infinite murder loop.

        Are you going to add Happy Accidents (directed by Session Nine’s Brad Anderson) and Summer Time Machine Blues?

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I just read about Happy Accidents the other day (it was some OTHER TIME TRAVEL movies list) for some reason I had thought Sessions 9 was Brads first movie. Hahah he did Next Stop Wonderland? And a episode of Rubicon? I’ve still got 6 of those left to sit through.

  15. Bartleby says :

    Also, I notice that Frequency and Twelve Monkeys aren’t on your list either. Maybe I missed a bit of the criteria. Also, in the animated category, there’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. that’s really good.

    • koutchboom says :

      Thats a good call animated, not that I can think of any just that PIXAR should make some awesome fucking time traveling movie.

    • Droid says :

      I’ve reviewed Frequency for my best of. I’m going to do 12 Monkeys. That should be on the list.

      • toadkillerdog says :

        Droid there is a time travel movie starring some Austrian muscle dude. Can’t think of name

      • Droid says :

        HA! Yeah, I’ve already done Terminator as part of my Arnie series. Got the rest of the T’s coming up eventually.

  16. Toadkillerdog says :

    Loved quantum leap

  17. koutchboom says :

    You know that ‘White Tulip’ episode, OR hoping back in time in order to save your fiance is the premise of The Time Machine. He realizes he can’t change the fact that she’s gonna die and just fucking fast forwards the mother fucker.

  18. Continentalop says :

    Doid, suggestion: Repeat Performance, a 1947 movie that might be the only time Film Noir about time travel I know of.

  19. Droid says :

    I’ve been thinking about his multiverse theory…

    Okay, so from what I can gather regarding this theory is that each time Colter enters the source code and does something different he’s changing the original universe and creating an alternate one. When the eight minutes run out, he’s pulled back to the original universe. But by changing the outcome (when he stops the bomb from exploding) the finality of the eight minute time frame is eliminated, because Sean Fentress is the qualifying factor. So if he lives longer than eight minutes the source code will continue undisturbed. Is this the theory? If so, here are my issues with it and the films depiction of it.

    Colter steals Seans body. There are no ifs, ands or buts on this matter. Regardless of which universe Colter ends up in, at the end Colter has saved everyone on the train except for Sean Fentress. This on it’s own can be excused I suppose, but not when he has assumed the body, and the life of Sean. Saving himself and sacrificing Sean in the process. Thanks to that putz Sean Fentress, Colter’s waltzing around Chicago in a stolen meat suit (in the new universe) getting it on with Christina (who, by the way, thinks she’s getting it on with Sean, not an imposter!). This is a complete and utter act of cuntishness and a black hole that the film cannot escape from.

    I suppose my biggest problem with the movie (apart from the above cuntishness) is the fact that the rules of the game are never established. SC is so wrapped up with hiding things from the audience that it forgets to build the framework for the audience. The audience does not need to know the details, but we do need the necessary information about the project to understand the rules. It’s never explained…

    a) how they are accessing/connecting to Sean Fentress’ memories.

    b) how they are inserting Colter into this real world scenario using only brainwaves and the undisclosed access to Seans memories.

    SC never once shows/says anything regarding how it works. Instead we get a slick little transition sequence and a lovely sweeping shot of geese flying over a lake.

    Jones should’ve taken note from The Matrix (the first one), which established the vague rules of an alternate universe quite easily and in an entertaining manner.

    • Jarv says :

      OK- the only mitigation I can find for the whole body stealing is this:

      It’s arguably acceptable because Sean was going to die anyway. Therefore, although he is being pirated, he isn’t losing anything that he wouldn’t have lost anyhow.

      However, when you take into account that Colter is porking his missus, who thinks that he is sean, then yes, it becomes an unforgivable act of cuntishness.

      I honestly, though, think that this is just one of those things that’s accepted in the genre and never thought out properly.

    • Bartleby says :

      Cool, Droid. Yes, you and I are on the same page there. I agree, it’s not supported by details. One of the reasons I didnt go four stars with it. I appreciate your review though all the more, because as Ebert said of an Inception review over the summer, it made me consider why I liked the movie and has increased my affection for it. It’s probably my favorite review/debate you have done so far. Bravo.

    • Bartleby says :

      well, unless the new universe is born the minute that Jake saves it, then no matter that he’s wearing Fentress’ body, there’s no Fentress ever existing in the new universe. The paradox would be that if there’s a ripple effect that prevents the train from exploding in the original universe, then we shouldb e able to see a normal Sean get off the train with his gal. That actually, while still as propesterous, would have been the better twist. We see Colter’s body unplugged, real Sean escape, assume Colter has died sacrificially. And then see the source code universe, where something totally new and different is happening. You have two universes going along two lines. one with Sean Fentress and one without him, sort of. There’s no longer a physical body of Colter in either one.

      • Bartleby says :

        final thought, acknowledging what you are saying Droid.

        there should have been an additional scene that acknowledged what you are talking about, the stealing of Sean’s identity. There’s no dark cloud hanging about it at the end. It’s the difference between this and say Dark City, where we are glad John has defeated the strangers, but the film makes a few of the last scenes ominous so that even though he walks off into the sunset, we are left wondering if John being in control, with all of his power, is ultimately going to be the best thing for this new world. A few of the things he says to Schrieber, how he’s sort of playing a game with Emma, building the world he wants it. I think Proyas purposefully sews a few subtle suggestions in there that maybe this won’t be as kosher as we think it is. A triumphant ending with a downside.

  20. ThereWolf says :

    Nice one, Droid.

    Looking forward to seeing this, doubt I’ll be going to the cinema though. I like Jakey G and Dunc’s ‘Moon’ is a terrific film.

    I haven’t read too many of the comments coz they were getting worryingly close to spoilsies!

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