Tuesday, March 9, 2010

N's Timeline

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Nuewanstein's Timeline

It is a little harder to dissect this theory as it is only a visual aid and not a full-blown explanation. As to its background: there is no claim or other pages tied-in with it. Which leads to belief in the rumor that it was intentionally named this and posted by one of the members of the film crew. This would explain why anyone with this much intelligence would start the action in September (when filming was completed in 2001 and edited over the next two years) rather than December or March as clearly seen in the film.

Neuwanstein refers to King Ludwig, which is German (as in this sites web address), and his castle which was the model for Disney's fantasy castle. Thus some refer to some fantasy ideas as a Neuwanstein. Is this then just pure fantasy? A constructed framework that intentionally withholds the real key to solving Primer while demonstrating the kind of action that occurs due to the constraint and freedom allowed by the time machine's in Shane's film? Very likely. That being said, we should focus more on what we can learn from this timeline diagram rather than pointing out that it fails to properly explain the Granger Incident, the recording Aaron, and the fail-safe counter-actions. There are so many actions to relate that a visual timeline would be so complicated and have so many variables or permutations that it would become nearly impossible.

In the original timeline, we truly only know that Aaron must find the fail safe and use it. Other steps can be deduced but without any guarantee. If Aaron finds the fail-safe in this Abe-controlled timeline, then he can gain control of the boxes depending on what he does upon his exit. If I were to have a timeline (like the one in my head) it would be similar to N's but I vision it as rolled into a cylinder. Now picture that each use of the time machine can land one in any timeline (not just from d to e or c but across the cylinder like e to b). In other words, when Abe fail-safes after the Granger Incident, he lands in a timeline where Aaron has control. Thus when Aaron uses the box in this timeline, this Abe is affected. With only one time traveler it remains simple; every use of the box resets the timeline or begins a new timeline. When there are two time travelers, one can never know if he lands in a timeline in his control or the other person's control. For example, if Aaron redoes the party 19 times, then Abe only lives it the 19Th time and all other 18 replays are lost. Abe is not conscious of anything except party number 19. Abe does not have anyway of knowing that Aaron redid the party 19 times. Now if Abe fail safes the next morning and goes back 48 hours, then the Aaron of this timeline is likely to repeat the upcoming party 19 times also. Unless Abe has some way to avoid or alter the events that caused Aaron to redo the party. (Perhaps he could call Rachel or her ex-boyfriend and ask him not to come, etc. Or if he finds out that Aaron repeated the party for whatever reason, go back 48 hours and instruct him how to get the party right the first time. There is also the opposite circumstance. Suppose Aaron found the party to be a bore fest. Then he travels back a day, invites the ex to liven up the party and could go back and replay the party until some major event crops up. Then Abe could be going back to try to undue the effect of the prescient Aaron.

Neu also seems to think that there are 'three' rooms at the storage center with boxes and that Aaron takes 'two' boxes with him. Then he moves the original box into another room 'without unplugging it' and sets up a new box in Abe's room. This will not work logically. First, you can't keep the box running and move it at the same time. (Carruth does not show the boxes plugged in because the storage unit that was used for filming did not have electricity in each unit. We are shown only two rooms on the manifest, not 3.) Neither is there any reason to take 'two' boxes back, nor the room to stuff it all in a box with yourself. However, in the new timeline created, the former Aaron will take a box, fold it up and disappear with it unless he is interfered with somehow. Stealing one doesn't automatically mean having an extra one as theorized by some people. ( like some guy who suggests putting money in the box. You only have twice as much until your double takes off with the original half. Bet the long shot with a perfecta or exacta at the track and you can get 100 to 1 odds. ) One must stop their earlier version from taking the box and disappearing with it in the newly created timeline. I am trying to work on a write-up of Neu's timeline, but it is tedious because I keep adding corrections and notes of errors, which is growing exponentially.

In conclusion, I feel I have demonstrated that this timeline did not come from Carruth. One thing is certain, if Shane had a clear picture of what was really going on without any plot holes; he should have filmed it and sold it as a separate film. At this point, a new commentary won't stimulate enough interest to make it worthwhile. His alleged upcoming book, an possible attempt to usurp the Primer Universe, may prove to be several years too late. True, it may contain pictures that he wouldn't allow to be used in the Universe book without cost. I only hope that he learns that it would be depreciating to produce an autobiography of his own film. Shane might not like the answers being 'thrown around for free' and especially that the book has 'gone rogue' as a free publication. Its being a taboo publication only heightens the curiosity factor. After all, there are a hundred attempts to explain what happened. Only one of them has been discussed by Shane. Only one remains.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review of Gendler

Review of Jason Gendler's report on Primer.
Title: 'The perils and paradoxes of restricted time travel'

This discussion of Primer is generally acceptable, somewhat interesting, and admits to not understanding many key parts of Primer's secrets. It is apparent that the writer tries valiantly to impress us with extensive vocabulary. He tries very hard to differentiate the story into fabula, syuzhet, and non-chronological syuzhet. (One spelling error mentions putting a "weevil"(sic) into the time machine, rather than the Weeble.This is just a submission to a self-proclaimed intellectual internet magazine, not the New York Times.)

One thing I liked is his retelling of what we see on-screen during Primer.(although this part seems unnecessary to anyone who has already seen the film.) It is three pages long, but provides a great review of what is seen for those who haven't viewed the film recently or perhaps have had only one viewing. I am glad he agrees with me on one of the things many fans miss: during the conversation between Abe and Aaron with the small version of the time machine we hear a sentence coming from Aaron's recording playing through the earpiece. Most people claim it is just muffled dialogue, but it is nice to know it is not overlooked by everyone. (Jason marks it as 24:33).

Jason feels that the narration omits crucial details to understand everything that happens in the film. Yet, he looks to camera work(What??) to unveil his version of the story. He claims that time travelers are 'immune' from paradoxes but neglects to relate why his speculation does not apply to Granger.
A minor mistake is the frequently misidentified phone call which he states is "Aaron2 to Aaron1". It has been verified by Shane Carruth that this is Aaron2 calling Abe1 ( as in "The Primer Universe".) Carruth seldom will ever discuss these type of secrets, but I think he admitted this detail as Primer fans had already identified this correctly at the time.

Jason admits to being unclear which Aaron is seen in the film's ending. He claims that one can time travel "forward" and "backward" but clearly he just did not edit this sentence properly.( One could state that sitting in any cardboard box is 'time traveling forward'. Obviously, he just misspoke, easily forgivable. Blame the editor for not catching that error as well.)

Jason claims the bleeding ear and bad handwriting are because time travelers "shouldn't exist". This statement does not explain why this would not happen immediately to both time travelers. Jason expresses that the story is excessively complicated and clearly struggles with its difficulty. This is understandable. However, don't blame the director, blame the analyst.

Jason identifies the title Primer as the definition "a script". I think he meant to refer to: 'the elementary composition of the conversational structure' (an alternate dictionary definition), but was just a bit too quick to conclude his research of the title process.

Jason returns to his favorite subject: camera work. Due to Abe's statement that 'Parabolas are important', Jason goes to great lengths to find parabolas in the film. He focuses on Aaron with the basketball, identifying an 'elliptical path' ??? Then he describes the round water fountain as 'parabolic-shaped' ???(But a circle is not a parabola.) When the camera moves on a track, again a "parabolic manifestation"??? He overlooked Carruth's explanation for the tracks when he explained it was relatively cheap and made it easy to keep the camera in focus while moving. Jason feels that when the camera pans from left to right, time is going forward; while time goes in reverse when the camera pans from right to left. Why is left up to our imagination. This part is insane. How did this get accepted?

Jason sees 'jump cuts', but identifies them without any explanation. They are merely "bizarre". Later, he states they could be "an allusion to time travel". Yet the who, what, why and when are still a mystery. I like how detailed he is in identifying three shots out of order in the famous phone call to Abe scene. However, he fails to identify this as evidence of Aaron's time travel.

In his conclusion, Jason sees Primer as having "new and interesting ideas about the possibility of time travel". However, what fans want most, he describes as "conundrums that are open to multiple interpretations". Perhaps it takes a true fan, rather than a student from a film school to identify what needs to be explained about Primer. When this was written, Shane Carruth could at least know his secrets were still safe.(At least until 2008 when the Primer Universe book was released). This article didn't excite anyone in the Primer community (and for good reason). It lacks the depth that is needed. Even in his observations, he fails to clarify the purpose and intent behind the "mysterious movements" of the camera or basketball. It seems the film's "Byzantine nature" prevented Jason from having a clear analysis of the restrictions of time travel in Primer. Perils indeed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review of Goodwin

The first letter asks about reviewing other works on Primer. I will do a few over the next couple of posts.

Review of Jonathon Goodwin's report on Primer: "Sports, Repetition, and Control"

Jonathon's explanation and analysis of Primer falls woefully short. Credit him with a well-intentioned effort. His direction focuses on sports(?) as well as a mentally created reality(?) where each character rules the world as a god. This is probably the last thing any Primer fan may expect. Many will no doubt pass on this account without reading its 16 pages in any depth.

Jonathon claims that Carruth uses sports within the film as a metaphor for control. (Shouldn't the time machine itself represent a metaphor for control?) He continually returns to the subject of sports as if this was a central theme of the film.

He claims that Aaron built the first box. (Perhaps this is from misunderstanding how Aaron got control of the fail-safe from Abe.) Also, he refers to Rachel as "Abe's current girlfriend" rather than his former girlfriend. Rachel has a boyfriend at the party (the one in March). Jonathon also feels that Granger somehow created his own box. Another error is his misunderstanding of the scene where Abe2 gases Abe1. This error is common and is due to the restraints of the film's budget. This scene was filmed with David Sullivan and Shane Carruth standing in as Abe's double, so a discerning eye often sees Aaron in this shot. Carruth's commentary clarifies this situation. Finally, before returning to sports, Jonathon expresses that Aaron builds a large box to take "an army back in time". An army? Why not a football team? Where did this thought leap out from?

In his return to the 'main theme' of sports; he sees sports as "an instrument of social control." Then, in an apparent attempt to cover his bases, he adds that their interests in sports is a "simple realistic detail". What happened to the vital sports metaphor? In the next paragraph, he returns to the"greater meaning" of sports in Primer. It sheds light on "the nature of their previous friendship." Really? Apparently, Aaron is poor at sports because he not only misses one of the shots with the basketball, but also misses the wastebasket with one of his paper balls.( Oh, you may have missed this 'significant event'.) What does this tell the audience according to Jonathon? It shows that Aaron has less "material success" and "a lack of courting success." (It may appear he at times confuses Abe and Aaron)

Next, he relates that their competition in sports, including Scrabble, shows that there was an earlier struggle between the two for "Kara's favors." Another metaphor arises from their struggle with time. This metaphor represents 'unexpressed emotion'. So, to explain the "psychological conflict", the paper asserts that the use of Argon in the time machine represents the word agon.
More confusion arises from the allusion to Abe and Aaron being the same person, with Aaron being an avatar of Abe who is having an agon with himself. The plot has certainly thickened here, perhaps it has coagulated and has become unpalatable. This leads to the film's conclusion where Aaron "has hired Foreign Legion mercenaries in Africa to extend to the dawn of human evolution." Wow. I must have missed something.

Jonathon alludes to 'All the President's Men', mentioned several times by Carruth in interviews, but does little to show any link between the two films. Jonathon returns to speaking about Primer as having an unambiguous answer, but admits it lies beyond his grasp. He then misidentifies the company as "Amoeba" (sic), instead of Emiba. Also, he claims that the name Abram is significant.(He does not list its meaning which many people misquote, as Abram is a word that means 'one's father is elevated' (or his status is elevated through the birth of his firstborn, a son.). He describes Abram from the Bible as "an embodied paradox", apparently thinking that the name has meaning of self-elevating or in his words "priority". (Research , research, research: the three most important things in editorial review)

Again, we are told of the similarities of Abe and Aaron, with the exception that Aaron impregnated his girlfriend and was forced into marriage (this is stated without any basis.) After rambling off topic for a few paragraphs, we return to the film once again. There is a "metaphor" in the expression of different 'hemispheres'. This represents, in his opinion, "the emotional effect that the discovery (of time travel) has on their friendship." Was a metaphor needed for this? What evidence is there for this connection? What about the expression of Aaron's job at 'Cortex-Semi'? Shouldn't that represent something as well?
Primer leads to Abe and Aaron needing to decide if they should become the two closest friends or complete agonists. They have become gods in a self-created "private reality". Maybe he was watching the Matrix. Somehow, there is another "allusion.". This time referring to Rudyard Kipling's 'Conrad and the Heart of Darkness". The proof is that it shows that Aaron wants to fade the alternate time lines into a white sepulcher. Maybe, this draft by Jonathon should be entombed. It doesn't deserve the effort to review it. I hope you have been spared.


Thanks for your support; Chad, Ken and others. I am not even sure if this will prove to be interesting or not. Time will tell.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Submit your questions about Primer, the film by Shane Carruth

I will try to answer your Primer questions here. Just submit them to: theprimeruniverse@gmail.com Thanks.