"Tenet" - 2020.. Nolan's new mindbender

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Flying Spaghetti Monster, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    With such a complicated movie he's wrong in this case, at least in my opinion.

    I had no trouble following the plots of his movies, even the more complicated ones like Inception but this one, to this day, i have no idea how, what, when and why. Granted i only watched it once at home but i honestly have no desire to re-watch it.

    In my opinion the story and execution got away from Nolan and he put it so far above the audience that only he truly knows what he intended with it.
     
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  2. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nah, it's not THAT complicated. Lots of exposition explains exactly what's going on.
     
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  3. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The problem is the sound mixing is so poor, making it near impossible to hear all the exposition understanding the movie is so dependent on.
     
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  4. Ovation

    Ovation Admiral Admiral

    But that's the point. We're not supposed to catch all the dialogue/exposition. We're supposed to feel the degree of confusion any character is feeling in any given point in the movie. This is a storytelling technique as old as the early 30s in film (very soon after the development of "talkies") and it has been effective in countless dramas and comedies. Now, it is entirely valid for a viewer to not like such a technique, or to not like the way Nolan chose to implement it. But I would be extremely surprised to learn this was a mistake (particularly from a director who likes to control every detail like Nolan).

    In the end, I don't think the movie is dependent on the exposition--it is dependent on the audience feeling the confusion and frustration of not getting all the information (like the characters). Perhaps that's not what many in the audience prefer, but the audience is not entitled to experience its preferences. It's only entitled to having a movie-watching experience. Satisfaction is NEVER guaranteed (nor should it be--if the sound issues were confined to a individual screening, that would be another matter).
     
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  5. theenglish

    theenglish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think Ovation is correct in this. Essentially, this is a James Bond film with a "reverse time" twist. The character has to learn about and stop a shadowy organization about which there is very little information. The first hour of the movie, is the protagonist following breadcrumbs---and then when we see events play out a second time they make more sense, but there is actually very little we learn about the temporal cold war, its players, and their true purpose. At times it seems like the temporal war is actually an attempt to save humanity, which would mean that we are following the story of the antagonist, but this is never really made clear either.

    Add to that the technical achievement of having characters interact and fight with others who are moving through time opposite to them and it becomes all the more interesting/confusing. It is definitely a film that requires multiple viewings, but I suspect that much like Memento from twenty years ago that once you figure out the story telling key, the plot is actually pretty simple in nature.
     
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  6. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I get confused very easily by things like Westworld, but tenet didn't confuse me all that much...
     
  7. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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  8. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Overall I've watched it twice and honestly the movie plot doesn't make a lot of sense with respect to the motivations of the group that originally developed the time reversal tech.

    Okay so the Earth has been environmentally destroyed, and somehow in the future, a group believes somehow that events can be changed and the world saved.

    However they state that this technology was developed generations in the future; and with how it works I don't really think there's a way they could pass the technology backwards in time because you're still limited by a human lifespan.

    IE when entropy is reversed on a person, the person still proceeds through time and ages normally. So yeah I don't see how they could pass the information on how to create these devices, and even if you could bury one of the devices in a working state; How in the world would you explain to someone who finds it what it is, or get them to use it in a way that change the future, assuming they were insane enough to try?

    Hell, the one character from the future of sorts, Even states that "what happens happens"; effectively meaning that for all their machinations in the future time, all this will lead to the situation that they are trying to change. In fact the film goes out of its way to show that everything unfolded as expected, because in the second half, Nolan makes a point of showing all the things the audience may have thought were meaningless had a meaning or a reason for being in a shot.

    I suppose it's an interesting concept for about 5 minutes but it really falls apart as of the movie progresses. If you're into that type of thing I suppose it's entertaining but in the end if you try and think about it too much you just get a headache.

    I actually enjoyed a lot about Inception but as far as this film goes it just falls flat for me. I watched the second time only because I wanted to see if it really did make some sort of sense in the end, but it doesn't. In effect it's mostly just a spectacle that I suppose Nolan hopes entertains people.

    I was actually hoping they'd do a sequel to Inception, because I was curious to find out if the ending sequence is still a dream of the main character.

    For me Tenant is honestly a somewhat forgettable story. The more they dive into the plot of the meta story; the less sense it makes.
     
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  9. Ovation

    Ovation Admiral Admiral

    I’m a huge fan of Nolan but even he hasn’t managed to avoid the fact that no time travel story withstands close scrutiny. I reached that conclusion long ago and have found it much easier to enjoy time travel stories ever since. I simply accept the rules of time travel as presented in the story and go from there. If not, some of my favourite stories would bother me to the point of not being enjoyable.
     
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  10. theenglish

    theenglish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With any Time Travel story, I take the same approach I do with Dr. WHO. Enjoy it for what its meant to be and dont worry about pulling on the loose threads.
     
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  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    $2.23 blind buy from a Redbox kiosk, tax included. I wonder if pairing it with an unofficial, comedic commentary would be more fun than watching the movie proper, especially seeing as I've listened to several spoiler-y reviews already... :p
     
  12. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Honestly, I think that this is Nolan's most impressive directorial work so far, from a purely technical standpoint. Some of the set pieces in this movie look completely ridiculously difficult to pull off, especially considering that he used almost no reverse shots. Actors had to act things out forward and backward. This isn't a commentary on plot or entertainment value, just the technical directorial skill to pull off the scenes. Absolutely top level. Nolan is on top of his game.
     
  13. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why is it perfectly acceptable to have an ongoing thread with an outdated title but not one that’s so on-topic you have to look really carefully in order to notice a gap of several years between just two messages on one page?

    Tenet (2020) is enough for posterity.
     
  14. Ovation

    Ovation Admiral Admiral

    This question belongs in a different thread (and forum—likely QSF). It’s unlikely to receive a satisfactory response here.
     
  15. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Let’s just fix the title and keep going.
     
  16. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Or, you know, not sweat the small stuff. 2020 is when it came out so...
     
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  17. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But it won’t be new forever. “Nolan’s 2020 mindbender”?
     
  18. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Over in TV & Media, the No Time To Die thread is still titled "Daniel Craig signs for Bond 25, Christopher Nolan in talks to direct". Yeah, thread titles sometimes don't age well, and it would be nice if Mods would deal with them, but they're busy with keeping the peace and you can still tell what the threads are about, so I don't think it's that big a deal.
     
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  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I picked this up at the library today and I just finished. I thought I might watch it in stages, but I decided I needed to watch it all the way through to keep track of the story, although I did take a couple of breaks.

    I liked it better than I expected to from the reviews. I could quibble with some of the time reversal mechanics, but it wasn't quite as nonsensical as I expected, and its approach to temporal physics and self-consistency was pretty good -- except that the bad guys' whole plan was to attempt a change when that shouldn't have been possible with the model the film was using. At best, per Neil's discussion of the physics, it would've split off a parallel timeline, which wouldn't have benefitted the people in the original timeline. Still, as a creative exercise in putting puzzle pieces together, it was very clever. And I'm impressed by how much of it was done with practical effects instead of CGI.

    Still, this is a film I appreciate more for its concepts and production than its characters. Washington was effective, but his character was anonymous by design. The film falls short on the Bechdel Test, and having so much of it revolve around an abusive husband and his victimized wife wasn't very pleasant. Maybe it was supposed to make Sator come off as menacing, but he just seemed pathetic and cowardly to me, a small man trying to feel big by bullying his wife.

    Tenet also features the most cursory and gratuitous use of Michael Caine in any Nolan film I've seen. Hardly even seemed worth bothering.

    There were a few loose ends that may have been lost in editing. For instance, there was an unexplained bit about how the Protagonist thought he'd spoken on the phone to the artist Arepo, but Kat said that was impossible. I thought that in the reverse part of the movie, we'd get an explanation for who he'd really been talking to, but we never did. Maybe we're supposed to fill in the blank and conclude it was part of the massive temporal pincer operation he had recruited himself to carry out.


    In the flashback to when Sator found the first piece of the algorithm, we saw him finding a laminated sheet of paper inserted with it. Presumably that contained the instructions from the future.

    Also, we saw throughout the film that inverted agents recruited people moving normally through time. So someone who'd gone backward through decades and was at the end of their lifespan could recruit someone young who would then go backwards several more decades, and so on and so on.


    It made sense to me, aside from the technicalities I mentioned earlier. Within its own internal physics and logic, it was consistent, and its physics were less absurd than in 99% of time-travel movies.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just finished watching the documentary feature on the second disk. Nice to have more than an hour of behind-the-scenes material; on a movie like this, how it was made can be at least as interesting as the movie itself. It's surprising how much they staged with actors actually moving and talking backward rather than just reverse-filming. Although I guess that was for scenes where someone was walking forward in inverted time and smoke and dust around them were flowing backward. And I guess the backward talking was just to get lip sync for actual inverted audio that would be dubbed in later.

    What was weird was where they talked about rigging the IMAX cameras to run the film backward. Why bother? Why not just film normally and reverse the film in editing?

    They talked about something regarding the Protagonist that I liked about the character -- how, even though he was based on a James Bond/spy template, they made him more of a compassionate figure, someone who cares and wants to help people. I don't like spy movies and their fondness for killing, so it ameliorates that when it's clearer that it's not just killers vs. killers, that the protagonists actually care about saving lives where they can. That was something I appreciated in Mission: Impossible -- Fallout, the contrast between Ethan Hunt trying to save lives and protect people and Henry Cavill being a stone cold assassin. And I appreciated it here. The opening sequence established it well by having the Protagonist go off-mission to save the audience from the bombs.