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The Lucky 13: Favorite Time Travel Films

October 2, 2012

Time travel has not yet been invented….but, it should be! In honor of writer/director Rian Johnson’s time travel thriller “Looper”, I’ve decided to discuss my 13 favortie time travel themed films. Lets get real, out of all the elements in science fiction, time travel has always interested us the most. The concept, the science, the choices, the results, and of course…a gold old fashion fear of a paradox are elements that intrigue us the most about this impossible science. Lets take a look at the films that came close to the actual science behind to the pure fantasy.

13. “A Christmas Carol” (1938) – It’s considered to be the original time travel story, Charles Dickens transports us into the past, strolls back to the present, and ventures into a dark future. The age old tale gives a crotchy old mizner named Ebenezer Scrooge a look into the personal timeline he’s obviously taken for granted. The question it askes is if you could have the chance to change everything to better yourself and the good of mankind, would you? This basic logline has been the foundation for many time travel movies to come on this list.

12. “Dejav Vu” – In a way, Tony Scott’s movie resembles a bit of Spielberg’s “Minority Report” but backwards. The point in this film is to look back into the past to solve the crime, the time travel aspect doesn’t arrive until the last act of the film. It may not be such a strong time travel movie, but it’s entertaining with it’s ideas, twists, and of course lead by the best himself…Mr. Denzel Washington.

11. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” – Let’s get real, as kids we all looked up to Bill & Ted, because they made time travel EXCELLENT <insert air guitaring>! Getting the chance to visit famous historical figures from across the board, all leading them to help you with your history report is pretty bad ass in it’s own right.

10. “Time Bandits” – Terry Gilliam directs and co-writes this time jumping fantasty with fellow Python alum Michael Palin, about  young boy who accidently joins a band of dwarves as they jump from time-period to time-period looking for treasure to steal. A movie filled with fantastic cameos that range from John Cleese, Sean Connery, and Ian Holm.

9. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – Much like “Deja Vu”, the time travel portion doesn’t arrive until the last act of the film. Hermonie has a charm called a time-turner, used for the sole reason to go to more classes at Hogwarts, until Dumbledore suggest it to be used for greater use. After the events of meeting Sirius Black, Harry & Hermonie time travel back a day to save him and a few other friends from a dark demise. The most important rule is to never bump into your otherself, it could rip the fabric of the space time contin–BWAHAHAHAHA, it’s a freaking Harry Potter movie! And it’s still the best one in the entire series.

8. “Planet of the Apes” (1968) – A film that kicked off a new kind of sci-fi, leaving us with a plot twist that nobody saw coming…Taylor time traveled into a future ruled by apes, not landing on another planet filled with them! GASP!

7. “Donnie Darko” – Richard Kelly’s strange film about a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. “Donnie Darko” is filled with complicated ideas and intriguing twists, but it takes the time to really dive into the science of time travel, the possibilites, leading to an ultimate twist that baffled many fans of the cult hit.

6. “The Terminator” – James Cameron’s 1984 hard sci-fi was one of the basic foundations to “Looper”, a figure from the future returns to the past to murder someone who will ultimately have a great effect onto the future. The punk feel and brutality of it all makes “The Terminator” one of the defining takes of the genre.

5. “Star Trek” – J.J. Abrams boldy chose to reboot the Gene Roddenberry for a new generation, and the only way to tell the story again is by the use of, you guessed it, TIME TRAVEL! But Abrams films evokes certain questions about the possibility of a multi-universe. With the antagoinist being sucked into a worm hole, he’s inadvertently changed the timeline of the first Star Trek universe, creating a new one altogether. Spock becomes captain first? He and Kirk cannot stand each other? Vulcan is destroyed in the blink of an eye? And an old Spock has made his way back to the past to guide the youthful souls he once had the pleasure to serve with. I’ll admit it, this was a split decsion on my part, between choosing Abrams “Star Trek” or “Star Trek IV”.

4. “Twelve Monkeys” – Terry Gilliam makes it back on the list yet again with what I consider he best work, directing Bruce Willis in a film about a man from the future who comes back to learn about how his future is destroyed from a virus that wipes out a third of the population. It’s another one of those films that begs the question that if you had the chance to change the future for the greater good, could you?

3. “The Back to the Future Trilogy” – The one and only time travel trilogy, with more plot holes, and loop holes you could ask for, and yet it still remains to be a fantastic comedy classic. Featuring the coolest vehicle for your basic time travel needs…the DeLoreon!

2. “Safety Not Guaranteed” – First time feature director, Colin Trevorrow, and first time screenwriter, Derek Connolly have crafted something truly special. If you could time travel where (or when) would you really wanna go? “Safety Not Guaranteed” begs that question to its viewers. Sure, it would be cool to time travel, who wouldn’t wanna see some gladiators duke it out? But really, ask yourself, what would you really want to do?

1. “Timecrimes” – Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo tells a complicated story about a simple man accidentally falling into a time machine in his neighborhood and travels back in time…nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences and his greatest enemy is an unforseen figure. Like “Looper”, the movie shows us that our enemies can be ourself and there’s no telling what can happen next. This is why “Timecrimes” is my favorite time travel movie to date.

So? What’s your favorite time travel film? Did it make the cut? If it didn’t tell us, what should’ve made the list? Until next time folks!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2012 10:59 am

    I saw The Time Machine 10 years ago, starring Guy Pearce and I remember thinking it was an under-rated, fun movie!

    • that MOVIES WE LOVE site permalink*
      October 9, 2012 4:43 pm

      you need to do yourself a BIG FAVOR and watch the original 1960 “the time machine” starring rod taylor. 10x better than shitty guy pearce one.

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