From my point of view, the modern and future setting was real, and he goes on to develop immortality with the express purpose of getting the tree he planted her at... to her star and wanting to survive the trip.
Her story of a immortality tree in Aztec lands, lead him to investigate the plants from Central America.
Pretentious bullshit, his worst film by far. I don't usually throw around "pretentious" as an insult but it really fits.
He could have tackled the topic of recurrence in any number of less puerile ways than having a "dude what is even real like you know whatever"-esque series of sequences about le enlightened Chinese martial arts man achieving enlightenment under the tree JUST LIKE BUDDHA YOU KNOW. The space bubble's also a gimmick that adds nothing; just a cheap special effect that only exists for its own benefit.
Let's also not forget to draw confused parallels with fake Mayan philosophy invented for the movie that apes the imagery and mystique of Pre-Columbian cultures and tries to compare it directly with East Asian philosophy because all the ancients had those shards of the one truth and were closer to the Earth and whatever man. They were all the same. But the ebul Catholics are going to hang people with their giant steampunk torture machine because WESTERN CULTURE IS THE MACHINE OF DEAAAATTTHHH. Those enlightened Mexican natives with their skinning people alive and decorating statues with them were so much closer to the spirit of humanity.
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