Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Time Travel is Hard to Write About! by Jonathan Russell

If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, I suggest you do so. It is a wonderfully vibrant, family friendly adventure full of fun, fantasy, and major paradoxical plot holes. Meet the Robinsons boasts a terrifically funny script. The dialogue is witty, and colourful; and the characters are well-rounded. Despite all of this, the film is rife with plot holes. I guess I should have seen it coming. After all, can anyone name a perfectly written story about time travel? ....Anyone? No? I thought not.

Anyway, let’s dig in, shall we?

The movie begins by introducing a blonde, spikey-haired boy. His name is Louise, or Tom Selleck, or something. Blonde kid proceeds to enter his invention in a science contest, at which point, it explodes. Blondie gets really sad, but finds new meaning in life when he meets Wilbur.
Wilbur claims to be a time traveler, and upon further investigation, Blondie finds out that he is just that: a time traveler. Wilbur then whisks Blondie away to the nearish future to meet Wilbur’s family.  Unbeknownst to Blondie, Wilbur’s family is actually Blonde kid’s family! Wilbur is Blondie’s son, Wilbur’s mom is Blondie’s husband, and so on. Wilbur cleverly hides all of this from Blondie by never allowing him to cross paths with his older version. Comedy, tragedy, and wily times ensue, and eventually, Blondie meets his older self. This comes as a surprise to grown-up Blondie.

That’s what bothers me.

If young Blondie meets his mature counterpart, and then grows up with that memory, wouldn't his older version still be able to recollect their meeting? It doesn't seem to be congruent. Why does Blondie get to grow up with the knowledge that he once met an older version of himself, but the older version doesn't even recall having that memory?

“Well that’s not too bad. I can look past that.”, you say? Wait. There’s more.

Here’s some more backstory: adult Blondie decides to invent something called a helping hat. It’s some sort of mechanical butler that sits neatly on your head. Seems like a nice idea. However, the only reason that Wilbur ever traveled to the past is because the hat had turned evil, and was trying to sabotage young Blondie’s life.  This hat becomes the main antagonist, and bullies the good characters to no end. Alas, the courageous Blondie defeats the hat in a last attempt to save humanity! He looks the hat straight in the glowing red, mechanical eye and says “I am never going to invent you.”
BOOM. The hat explodes into nothingness. Seems pretty solid, right? Wrong. If young Blondie was then and there making a concrete decision to never invent that hat, then wouldn't everything around him have to crumble into dust? The only reason he was there in the first place is because of the hat. Without it, this entire adventure would have never taken place! And that, my friends, is what we call a paradox.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

And by the way, if anyone tries to come back at me with any Doctor Who influenced counterpoints, don’t. Just don’t even go there.


  1. When I first read this next week...oh wait, I wasn't supposed to tell you that I can read things in the future. But don't worry, you're older self (in one week) won't remember that I sent this comment.

  2. It's the same thing with Bowler Hat guy. With his catching the ball, there is no failure, no years of festering resentment,no traveling to the past and basically, the entire plot goes to hell. By the way, I wrote this reply the day before you wrote this, but traveled into the future to publish it. Nice to meet you.