I just finished watching Donnie Darko for the first time a bit ago and I have to say … I don’t understand…
What the big deal is.
It’s a movie. It has some interesting visuals, some interesting ideas, but in the end it just falls short. Of course, there is the fact that I have basically no respect for stories that in their final moments cancel themselves out. “It was all a dream” “It was an alternate reality” “I time traveled back and un-did everything you just spent two hours watching by killing myself,” they’re all the same and they all render my time wasted. If it never happened, what was the point of my watching it?
Worse, if you spend two hours developing an interesting character and then he gets the chance for redemption, the chance to do everything he’d just done differently, and instead of trying to tackle the problem, instead of making any motion to escape the death he knows will come for him, he decides to sit still and just die? What the heck?
He’s a bright kid, he read The Philosophy of Time Travel, he should have figured out that he was in a Tangential Universe, that all he had to do to fulfill his role was to get the engine back to the Primary Universe. Not die. Not all that other crap that he thought he was saving people from. All that stuff happened because he was in an unstable universe, and heck, he wouldn’t even have seen Frank once he got back, since Frank was only around as Manipulated Dead, trying to force him to get the Artifact back to the Primary Universe. How simple can you get?
I now have it in my capability to make a working copy of just about any DVD, and before I watched it, based on feedback from dozens of people that I ought to love it, that I remind them of the main character, I have no desire to have a copy of Donnie Darko.
But here’s what we’ll say: I made a copy of it, kept it, but in an alternate universe or timeline that never actually happened. That’s precisely how this movie ought to be owned; only in our dreams, never in reality.