The DeLorean Time Travel Consultant – Intermission – Nov. 2020

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As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume

The DeLorean Time Travel Consultant

First some house keeping, as the clean up crew sweep up the popcorn off the floor let us begin. I didn’t do an Intermission post last month because I’m still trying to catch up and get into a flow of things again. Last month by the time I was ready to write one it was too late to publish it for that month. The current situation has affected us all in different ways and we’re all trying to recover some ‘normality’ so it will take a while for us all to get our flow back. My intermission posts are normally on a single subject, this month though I have a few shorter ones to release into the wild. I hope you find them interesting.

I’ve always wanted to go to either a film festival or a big genre convention. My personal situation has meant that this is impossible or highly unlikely to happen in the short to medium term. The nearest thing to one I have ever been to was in the early 1980’s going to a RPG (Role Playing Game) convention in London. I remember having a great time, the highlight was meeting the Artist Chris Achilleos and getting a signed poster of his cover of Michael Moorcock’s Elric. Sadly I no longer own this poster it probably went missing in the ridiculous amount of times I had to move house in a ten year period. It was due to work, I worked out once that I moved on average 3 times a year…though some years I didn’t move, so other years it felt like every week!

Anyway back to the point I was making, many film festivals have gone online this year. This has enabled myself and Rosie (my wife) to take part in some. We have enjoyed both Frightfest and Grimmfest, who both had great online editions. It has enabled us to watch many films and a lot of ones we would have normally passed by. It’s been a great experience and I do hope that when things return to ‘normal’ that these festivals wont forget those of us who have finally managed to take part. It would be a shame that this step forward for accessibility, both geographical and disability was forgotten. See my current articles on Frightfest and Grimmfest (opens in a new tab/window).

One of Ron Cobbs designs for the Hammerhead in the Star Wars Cantina

I was sad to hear of the passing of the artist and film designer Ron Cobb in September. As a Science Fiction fan and budding artist (well artist may be pushing it, I like to draw) growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, as well as seeing lots of examples of his art I saw a lot of the films he worked on. His work is all around the cinema of that period, he did conceptual work on Star Wars, Alien and Dark Star just to mention a few. He was also the production Designer on John Milius’s Conan the Barbarian, The Last Starfighter and Total Recall. As well as the visual arts he was also a writer and contributed some episodes to the Twilight Zone with his wife and wrote the original (unpublished) story Night Skies which was a scarier darker version of E.T, and would have been the sequel to Close Encounters. Cobb was offered the chance to direct but problems arose over the effects and it needed a big rewrite, Speilberg then decided to do the more friendly alien story that is the E.T. we know and love. Ron Cobb still earned some profit off the film because of his original story Night Skies.

There is so much more of his work I could talk about including his credit as ‘DeLorean Time Travel consultant’ on Back to the Future. The world lost a great creative artist in September.

** Spoilers for 12 Monkeys**

In my March intermission I talked about watching films and media more than once and what that gives to you and the overall experience. One of the reasons is we all miss things the first time around. Now let’s talk 12 Monkeys because I have a confession. I recently picked up as part of my Birthday the Arrow release of what I personally believe is Terry Gilliam’s best film. I’ve seen it too many times to mention and was lucky enough to see it at the cinema when it was first released. Since then I have probably seen it at least once a year. It’s a great film with so many elements and as with all time travel based films you can you tie yourself in knots when you start trying to work out who’s where and when. As much as I don’t really adhere to auteur theory in film Terry Gilliam is the nearest thing to an auteur working in film today.

Included in the Arrow release is a copy of the Documentary The Hamster Factor (which I have also seen numerous times), a great insight to the making of the film. At the end of 12 Monkeys we see young Cole witness his older self getting killed. We then cut to the plane where we see the scientist who’s carrying the virus sit next to Jones, one of the Scientists from the future. Now for some reason in the dozens of times I’ve seen this film I assumed that Jones was a younger version of herself and it was just a coincidence that she was on the plane. In the documentary Gilliam explains it shows that Coles sacrifice wasn’t pointless and that Jones had obviously travelled back in time because of Coles information. I did not pick up on this, it was only when my wife mentioned it (her first time seeing the documentary) that it all clicked. It all goes to show that having fresh eyes can make all the difference.

Now why have I never seen this before? It’s obvious when you think about it, the Jones on the plane is the same age as the one in the future so she can’t be a younger version. I am now a mixture of excited that I now know this and also ashamed that I missed something so obvious.

The question is have you ever missed something obvious in a film? It’s confession time, I’ve opened up the comments so post ahead.

The lights dim, we now resume the main feature

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