Hollywood has a fondness for time travel, if only because it’s the ultimate fiction. No one (that I know, anyway) dabbles in time travel. It’s fantastic in the literal sense of the word, and one of the best things about movies is that we get to enjoy stories that have very little to do with our regular lives. That said, you should delight in this list of time travelling films if you’re sick of your day to day life. If you are currently time travelling, you probably have bigger fish to fry than this list, but you might want to take some time to check out Looper, a time travellin’ action film that hits theaters on September 28th.
With that, here are seven time travel films that will blow your mind.
Perhaps the most notable conduit to the principles of time travel that exists in popular culture, this film harnesses the powers of time travel to revisit seminal periods in history for the purpose of… getting a good grade on a history presentation. More impressive than the time travel itself (it was a magic phone booth that appeared at Circle K) was the duo’s ability to capture Genghis Khan. That guy had to have been pretty well protected, no? And the same for Abraham Lincoln. No wonder that guy ended up getting shot.
All Marty McFly wanted to do was escape from the Lybians who gunned down his friend Doc Brown. However, once he hit 88 MPH in the mall parking lot, he found himself travelling back to his dad’s high school days. Hijinks ensue. Hijinks ensue BIG TIME.
This film taught us that what we do when we travel to the past has serious ramifications in the present, like sleeping with our moms, which shouldn’t be done in the past, present, or future, regardless of how much they flirt with you when they are in high school.
While this doesn’t follow the formula in the usual sense, the film is about a guy who lives the same day over and over. That’s time travel to me.
It also sounds like an incredibly maddening existence. I can’t say I would be able to hack it like he did, but he really didn’t have a choice. He tried to find a million ways to off himself in the process, but to no avail. He kept waking up in the same bed & breakfast, listening to the same obnoxious radio DJs.
I guess he just needed the love of Andie MacDowell to snap him out of it, which is pretty weird, because I would think that Andie MacDowell would put me in an inescapable funk, not take me out of one.
Source Code is a lot like Groundhog Day, only if Groundhog Day was the day you died and thousands of other people died with you. So it’s really very little like Groundhog Day, but Jake Gyllenhaal DOES live the same period of time over and over. And he does manage to fall in love.
Also at the end of the film, rather than find love and live happily like Bill Murray does, Jake finds love, and we find out that he’s burned to a crisp with no arms or legs. So… there’s that.
In this film, the time travel is largely incidental. After all, it’s about a killing machine going around and killing people. But the greater purpose has to do with a future war. As such, Arnold Schwarzenegger is sent back in time to kill the mom of human military leader John Connor, ensuring that he won’t be born and the robots win in a walk.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is sent back through time nude, which leads us to believe, in the canon of time travel depiction, that clothes can’t travel through time nearly as well as people. So you might just want to keep your clothes in the era they are already in.
It’s right there in the title. Not unlike Snakes on a Plane, it’s pretty clear that the producers just went with a ridiculous title and worked backwards from there. But with Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and John Cusack in the cast, it stands up better than it has a right to. Also, ridiculous 80’s throwback movies are like pizza: even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good.
Unlike The Terminator, which sends the assassin back in time to kill its target, Looper sends the target thirty years back to an awaiting gunman. However, when the assassin finds out that he’s being paid to kill a future version of himself and “close the loop,” well, let’s just say things don’t really go so smoothly.
On a related note, I think that the worst thing you could ever ask me to do is kill my future self. I love my future self, and would do anything to protect him. Even if he was Bruce Willis, which would make me a little upset, but only because I don’t want to go bald.