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6 MEDIA
AQA GCSE
STUDIES
U N I T 1 I N V E S T I G ATI N G T H E M E D I A

E X A M TOP I C : S C I E N C E F I C T I O N F I L M S

L E S S O N 6 – R E P R E S E N TATI O N S O F T I M E
T R AVE L A N D M I S E E N S C E N E I N S C I E N C E
FICTION FILMS

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IS TIME TRAVEL
POSSIBLE?
Read this article from the Institute of Physics, entitled
‘Is Time Travel Possible?’:
http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=131

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Can you relate this to any films you have seen?

ARTICLE
The BBC’s long-running science-fiction series Doctor Who, celebrating
its 50th anniversary on 23 November, centres on its eponymous
character’s adventures through time and space. But could he really skip
between different periods of history at will?
Travelling forwards in time is surprisingly easy. Einstein’s special theory
of relativity, developed in 1905, shows that time passes at different rates
for people who are moving relative to one another - although the effect
only becomes large when you get close to the speed of light.

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If one were to leave Earth in a spacecraft travelling at an appreciable
fraction of lightspeed, turn around and come back, only a few years might
have passed on board but many years could have gone by on Earth. This
is known as the “twins paradox”, since a traveller undertaking such a
journey would return to find herself much younger than her twin.

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There’s only one problem from anyone wishing to get a glimpse of
the future – getting back. It would mean travelling faster than light
– and that’s not possible.
But there may be an out to be found in general relativity,
Einstein’s theory of gravity that unites space and time as
“spacetime”, which curves in the presence of mass. It allows for
the possibility ofwormholes – a kind of tunnel through spacetime
connecting otherwise very distant parts of the universe.
If the “mouths” of the wormhole are moving relative to one
another, then traversing the bridge between different points in
space would also take a traveller to a different point in time to that
in which she started.

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However it would still be impossible to go back further in time than
the point at which the wormhole was created, limiting the options
for travel somewhat - and possibly explaining why we haven’t
encountered any visitors from the future. If any natural wormholes
were formed in the Big Bang, it might be possible to travel to a
limited number of points in the past and in the distant universe,
but wouldn’t enable one to flit around the cosmos at will as the
Doctor seems to do.
More restrictively still, theoretical work by Kip Thorne of Caltech
using a partial unification of general relativity with quantum
physics suggested that any wormhole that allows time travel
would collapse as soon as it formed.

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Thorne did, however, resolve an apparent issue that could arise
due to by time travel (within the confines of general relativity). The
“grandfather paradox” involves going back in time and
accidentally killing one’s grandfather before one’s father is
conceived - preventing one’s own birth, making it impossible to go
back in time and kill one’s grandfather. Thorne found that for point
masses traversing a wormhole, no initial conditions create this
type of paradox.
That’s good news for anyone worried about people going back
and changing the past willy-nilly, but bad news for any Whovians
hoping to reverse the decision to cancel the show in 1989 and
prevent a 16-year hiatus. That would probably be beyond even
the Doctor himself.

AN INTRODUCTION
TO
H
G
WELLS
H G Wells was born in 1866 and was considered to be a visionary
of our time. His first successful novel was The Time Machine
published in 1895. In 1898 The War of the Worlds was published.
Both of these have been made into very successful films and
indeed remakes.
Many of his novels depict societal changes, and indeed Wells
suggested that although science could make the world a better
place, he also felt that ‘we’ would destroy ourselves through war.
Watch the video describing this visionary author.

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https://youtu.be/MNU7L7AATrk (8:28)

MISE EN SCÈNE

SETTING: The place where the media text takes place can create meaning by
the setting and time period. For example, Victorian-style houses could
imply the text is set in the Victorian era.
PROPS: Props can tell us a lot about the characters, their habits and quirks.
They will have been chosen for a reason and should not be out of place in
the context of the setting.
NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION: This refers to the facial expressions and
body language of the actors, which can be communicated to us without
speaking. Someone slouching could imply that they are lazy.

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COSTUME: Clothing can tell us a lot about the type of character. If someone
is wearing torn clothing it could represent that they are poor, likewise
someone wearing expensive clothes could represent that they are rich.

 ANALYSING MISE EN SCÈNE IN THE TIME
MACHINE 1960 AND 2002
SETTING: The place where the media text takes place can create meaning by
the setting and time period. For example, Victorian-style houses could
imply the text is set in the Victorian era.
PROPS: Props can tell us a lot about the characters, their habits and quirks.
They will have been chosen for a reason and should not be out of place in
the context of the setting.
NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION: This refers to the facial expressions and
body language of the actors, which can be communicated to us without
speaking. Someone slouching could imply that they are lazy.

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COSTUME: Clothing can tell us a lot about the type of character. If someone
is wearing torn clothing it could represent that they are poor, likewise
someone wearing expensive clothes could represent that they are rich.

COMPARISON – SAME
SCENE IN 1960 AND 2002
FILM – THE TIME MACHINE
ACTIVITY

The Time Machine, Director George Pal, Year of release 1960 – MGM
https://youtu.be/BVlr24zD_KQ (4 mins)
The Time Machine, director Simon wells, year of release 2002Warner Bros
https://youtu.be/UBuLoRzhWeI (3 mins)

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Both sequences show a journey through time, through the
representation of the changing clothes of a shop mannequin.

COMPARISON – SAME
SCENE IN 1960 AND 2002
FILM
– THE TIME MACHINE
ACTIVITY

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You will watch both
sequences through once.
On the second watch
through, make notes on the
worksheet you are given.

PLENARY

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Discuss with the person next to you your findings from
the mise en scène activity for the two sequences from
The Time Machine 1960 and 2002.