I loved Quantum Leap. It was the perfect mix of both sci-fi and drama. I was only about ten years old when I first got into it and though I didn’t hugely appreciate the drama aspects of the show, the moment where he jumped into the person’s body at the beginning and the end of the show was enough to keep me watching. If he punched someone during the episode, that was even better. As I got older I began to appreciate the actual story of the show and what he had to do each week. Even now I’ll find myself watching a whole episode when my intention was just to see the opening.
I’m not being completely random here. If you don’t know what Source Code is about, it is practically identical in places to the premise of Quantum Leap. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of someone else on a train journey. It turns out he is inside the Source Code and has eight minutes to find out who is going to bomb the train. In Groundhog Day style, he keeps repeating the same eight minutes to try to work out who the bomber is.
So by mixing Quantum Leap and Groundhog Day, we have a great sci-fi, drama film. Like Groundhog Day, its uses the “repeating day” concept brilliantly. You never tire of watching him repeat the same moment and they use the device in such a way that you are feeling his frustration and willing him to work it out within the eight minutes. Everytime he “dies” you feel his dejection and desperation at having to start again and whenever he discovers something new, the film becomes more interesting.
The story is so clever that there are a couple of “mysteries” going on at the same time to keep you interested. Who bombed the train? Where is Colter when he is not inside the “Source Code?” Can he change the future from inside the “Source Code?” The film never lingers though. It runs at such a pace and uses the “repeating” in such a clever way that you don’t have time to become bored, the story is carrying you forward at all times.
That said, the film wasn’t perfect. I’m sure there are probably huge holes with the time travel concept, as there always is, and there were times when I was willing him to make it easier for himself considering that he can, essentially, do anything he wants to find out the truth. At times it felt like he was going about it wrong and making things far too difficult for himself. The ending is hugely predictable and unnecessary to be honest. If I can guess where it is going, it ruins the film slightly. I was so engaged throughout though that I didn’t mind this slight negative at the end.
That was the key for me. I was engaged throughout. Not once did I wonder how long the film had been going or try to work out whether we were near the end by looking to see how long we had left. If anything I wanted the film to keep going. I think the concept and the idea for the film would work brilliantly for a tv show. It would be very close to Quantum Leap but they aren’t making anymore of those, so why not? One guy, reliving the same eight minutes each week trying to “fix” something. If it was done as well as the film had been, this could actually be a successful tv show.
Overall, the best film I’ve watched so far this year. It was engaging, clever and importantly, kept me entertained. I want to see more of this concept and think it has the potential to be taken further. If not this, they could always make some new episodes of Quantum Leap.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)