nerd radio

Tune in live Thursday from 9pm est

FTN looks at the science of Looper

October 21st, 2012 by Al Keenan the Bald Gamer Dude 1 Comment



I don’t claim to be a scientist, I know a fair amount of scientific fact and some theorems but other than that I don’t have a clue.

One thing I do have under my belt is a real fascination with time travel, its paradoxes, impossibilities and reasoning.

This week I saw Looper, the newest film in a long line of time travel movies. Looper was awesome, in fact it was one of my favourite films this year but time travel is a really dodgy subject and here’s why.

There’s a point in the film where Joe from the future looks back at his life. Now future Joe had killed his sent back future self and went on to live a care free drug addled life, then he meets a woman who changes that all. This dude called the Rainmaker is causing all sorts of bother and closing all the Loopers’ loops. The only information we know about him from future Joe’s future is that he has a synthetic jaw and is one bad mofo.

So, later on when future Joe is sent back to the past and meets the present Joe he escapes his own clutches…

This is the first problem, having just escaped would have negated the fact that Joe was ever sent back in the first place. If future Joe had never killed his future self way back when he was a young man, then he would never have grown up in the life that he grew up in.

Now you could say to me that future Joe coming back has changed the timeline causing a paradox and creating a whole new universe with this anomaly. Problem is, later on when present Joe carves a message into his arm, it appears on future Joe’s arm.

In fact, the same thing happened to Paul Dano’s character, Seth. Chopping off Seth in the present’s limbs effected future Seth, but if that had happened so soon in Seth’s life then he would never have grown up to be the man sent back, hence present Seth would never have let him go and old Seth would never have properly existed.

If you are trying to say that this time travel is causing paradoxes then that can’t be true. The fact is, if what happens in the present is affecting the future one’s self, then they are still connected in their timeline. If that is the case, then whenever they didn’t do what they were supposed to it negates all premise of their time travel.

The best case for this is the Rainmaker himself who turns out to be Emily Blunt’s son, Cid. Now Cid is a very powerful telekinetic – or TK as they’re called here. Cid is very volatile and when future Joe tries to kill him and fails (planting a bullet in his cheek, which would lead to an infection of the jaw causing it to drop off, meaning in the future he would need a synthetic jaw) Cid goes crazy and pretty much everyone dies.

So the filmmakers are telling us this is how the Rainmaker was created, future Joe came back and done a physical and emotional number on him, causing the Rainmaker to turn into one big bad mofo in the future. The problem is that in the full loop of time this always has to happen. When present Joe stops it he would cause a ripple effect. Cid would never be the rainmaker, meaning he would never go on a rein on terror in the future and wouldn’t close the loops. Also, considering future Joe killed everyone who knew about the loopers, there would be no one to care about closing loops so future Joe would never be sent back.

It’s really too much to get your brain working, Bruce Willis says it well in the film when he says: “we could sit here all day drawing diagrams with straws”.

The film stands as a great sci-fi movie without the time travel, so don’t let this article hurt your love of the film any, just let it get you thinking and wonder if the invention of time travel would even be worth it considering all the mess it would make.

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

I'm Al The Bald Gamer Dude, as you can tell by the name, I'm bald, I play games and I'm a dude. I also do Tattoos, comics, Movies and TV... You can usually find me quoting obscure film references and geeking out when someone understands them. If you have an Xbox360 and fancy a game add my Gamertag below: GT: baldgamerdude Follow me on twitter @baldgamerdude YouTube:

  • Andrew

    That’s one thing i really like about looper, you get to see the effect before you see the cause, which for all we know is what could happen.

    For me, the movie establishes that everything the ‘future’ Joe has experienced is in flux, but any changes that young Joe makes from Old Joe’s timeline, don’t catch up to him until the moment they are made, after which they are set in stone, and old Joe’s past, including his memories and scarring, are then corrected. This is what the scene with the old Seth establishes, and for me, it worked.

Proudly Powered By WordPress