Lost Weekend: Underrated Time Travel Movies We Love

Thursday, July 7 by
H.G. Welles at his time machine 

Let the arguments about the time-space continuum begin as these underrated time travel movies from the past get their day in the present.  Mind bending questions await, such as how would a chainsaw hand replacement affect the course of technology if it were really introduced in 1300 A.D? Is traveling back in time just one hour enough time to actually cause unalterable disasters? Would you truly not recognize someone who looks exactly like you minus the mustache just because you live in the past and are therefore stupider? Just remember after any discussion to give that knowing wink to your opponent and let them know that even if you can’t convince them to see things your way, you just might have the 1.21 jigawatts needed to erase them—or at least set them on the ill-fated path to clown college.

 

Army of Darkness

Bruce Campbell being attacked by a demon ghoul

Whether you’re for or against time travel, if you’re against Bruce Campbell it’s time to go check into citizenship possibilities on other planets. Ash gets thrown back in time, gets to double his arrogance, teaches us all about the importance on high school text books and still manages to win the girl and lose the kingdom. Not necessarily a scientific portrait of time travel as it was magic that brought him back, regardless it offers vital world lessons as it’s the perfect primer on how to deal with less advanced civilizations. Army of Darkness also features a stirring treatise on confronting your inner demons and how to brutally kill them. A manly self-help kind of time travel movie.

 

Timecrimes

Hector with his head wrapped in Timecrimes

A definite feat of cinema, Timecrimes portrays the convoluted mess that time travel can create and yet manages to unravel it neatly. Without venturing into spoiler land, the protagonist Hector has a rough path ahead of him as he dips his toes into the past. With solid acting and a story that displays how creepy and entangling time travel can be, Timecrimes delivers so much more than its underrated movie status would make you believe.

 

Primer

Abe and Aaron with their error-checking device in Primer

A hybrid of science and human frailty, Primer does not dumb its concepts down to make them palatable to the audience,  and it also doesn’t bother making the characters do-gooders who have everyone’s best interests at heart. This is a film that is simultaneously confusing and understandable as the action taken by the charactersare all understandable to the the dark (and not-so-dark) parts of our brain. Although the scientific concepts behind it do require some graph paper and blood pressure medication to make your way through it, we think you will enjoy Primer.

 

Back to the Future Part III

Doc Brown and Marty McFly in his poncho in Back To The Future III

By the very nature of it being not just a sequel, but a sequel to a sequel, Back to the Future III already set itself to be counted among the underrated before it was even released. But forget all that because part three takes the fun of the previous films and throws it into overdrive. Future repercussions aside, it still remembers to explore how basic ideas that were once futuristic—like the bulletproof vest—can give those in the know a huge advantage in the past. But most of all it doesn’t forget the childlike wonder that time travel holds for everyone, no matter what age you’ve reached.

 

The Time Machine

H.G. Welles at his time machine

The original film from 1960 points out the flaws of man with an ergonomic office chair and umbrella hybrid. Underrated time travel at its best as the one thing that decays a film’s place in the collective conscious is the passage of time and it’s been more than half a century now. Despite effects losing their luster, The Time Machine explores the ignorance of humanity and how it breeds potential evil from the witch trials to the Eloi people who are content to trade being a food source in order to live lives without worry. The perspective remains sharp even in the present and serves as a concise lesson on the perils of growing complacent in our acquisition of knowledge.