Time travel movies have always fascinated film buffs as the very concept of being able to traverse through time is a concept that nearly everyone has dreamt about at one point in their lifetime. But time travel movies can do much more than engage our sense of the limitations of time and space: they can help us imagine wonderful stories and engaging characters we would otherwise never know. The following time travel movies are the five we think not only get the concept just right, but are also great entertainment.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future is undoubtedly everyone’s favorite time travel movie. Starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the plot centers on an average young man’s time travel adventure wherein he is accidentally transported from 1985 to 1955. He meets up with his parents and even becomes the object of affection of his mother for a bit. It’s up to Marty to make this right and to ensure that his parents end up together so that he can be born in the next decade. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg, Back to the Future was a smash hit at the box office all over the world, spawning two sequels and even an animated series.
Released a decade after Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys stars Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and Brad Pitt. The film details a science fiction plot in which 5 billion of earth’s inhabitants have been killed by a deadly virus spread by a group of 12 monkeys. A convict is chosen to be sent back in time to discover how and where the disease was spread, but is sent to the wrong time and ends up in a mental institution. He ends up kidnapping the doctor who treats him and in the process falls in love with her. Brad Pitt was nominated for an Oscar for his performance and even won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is much more than a typical flick about teenage angst and how adults don’t understand them. It’s a rollicking good time (provided you check your critical credentials at the door) and promises to make you laugh and remember all the things you did wrong as a teenager. The film tells the story of two teens on the verge of flunking out of high school and possibly being sent to military school. Their only real goal is to form a band called Wyld Stallyns. When given a final chance by their teacher to prove themselves, they are visited by a figure from the future who tells them that their music is the basis of all existence in the future. To keep things going, they must travel through time and meet with various historical figures.
The Time Machine
The Time Machine is probably the most critically beloved of all movies about time travel. Based on H.G. Wells’s classic of the same name, it tells the story of a man named George who, in 1900, arrives late to his dinner party because of his many time travels. He uses the machine to travel to the future where he learns that there are two races: a gentle, peaceful race and a violent race of cannibals dwelling beneath the surface. When the underground race steals his machine, he must risk his life to get his machine back and return home.
Believe it or not, Ashton Kucther once made a movie that was not a stoner comedy. The Butterfly Effect is the story of Evan Treborn, a small town boy who suffers from periodic blackouts that leave him dazed and in anguish. His family doesn’t believe him and think he makes up episodes just to get out of trouble. When he grows up, he takes his journal of documented blackouts to college and realizes that one of his memories is much more real than he ever knew.