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Looper was… [ehem] SUPER DOOPER! Sorry, I had to. Thanks for being a trooper. Pooper scooper, Sterling Cooper.
Seriously though, Looper was exactly what I want from a stand alone sci-fi movie. It brings you into it’s world, quickly establishes why it’s different, how it’s futuristic, etc. then it tells a human story with the gimmick (in this case, time travel and a bit more) as the back drop. The futuristic aspects of the story are small elements of the narrative and while they make it possible, they do not overtake or even lead the story as it progresses. In Looper the characters (FANTASTIC performances by Joseph Gordon Levitt, Emily Blunt and a stunning/terrifying young boy) and their choices are the focus. So many one-shot sci-fi films get this formula backwards. It’s like someone writes a cool idea on a napkin (100 years in the future, money is all gone and people use hip hop dancing as currency), then scrambles to write another 119 pages just to make that idea take 2 hours to play out on screen.
My favorite part about Looper is that it was filled with actual “nearly didn’t see that coming” surprises. This was due mainly to the fact that the first round of trailers fooled you into thinking they were serving up the entire plot (young Bruce Willis has to kill old Bruce Willis from the future) on a silver platter, when in fact that only covers about the first half of the movie. The main story is much smaller, much more character-centric, and has nearly nothing to do with time travel. The current trailers are showing more of the 2nd half plot, but nothing that actually clues you in as to what’s going on.
As far as original sci-fi stories go, I have absolutely nothing but praise for this film. SURE, if you question the time travel premise even a little bit, the whole thing falls apart, BUT that’s why we have the old saying, “You can’t spell TIME TRAVEL BULLSHIT without BULLSHIT.” Leave it alone. Let it be. Enjoy the movie. It’s great.
Side note: The makeup effects better win somebody an Oscar. You don’t really get the full impact of JGL’s transformation into young Bruce until the two are face to face on screen for the first time. It’s rather shocking.
ADDITIONAL Side note: If you HAVE seen Looper, go read this interview with the writer where he explains many of the loose ends that might have nagged at your geek-brain.
- Download Rian Johnson’s First ‘Looper’ Commentary Track, and Listen Along in the Theater
- What Looper Teaches Us About How to Do Genre Right
COMMENTERS: What did you think of Looper? Also, what is your favorite/least favorite stand alone (non franchise, series, tv spin off, etc) cinematic sci-fi situation?