The TOP 5 TIME TRAVEL MOVIES! What are the best time travel movies of all time? How many of the Back to the Future films make the list? What else will show up? What would show up on YOUR list?
Mike Faber and Michael Gordon, co-hosts of the Earth Station One Podcast join Daryl and Jay to determine their TOP 5 TIME TRAVEL MOVIES. But did they get it right? Share YOUR thoughts in The Story Geeks Facebook Group!
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The Story Geeks’ blogger Ashley Pauls responds with her own take on the questions discussed in the podcast.
It’s probably a good thing that people don’t have the ability in real life to travel forward or backward in time. Just think of all the chaos people might cause if they inadvertently changed events in history (thereby also altering the present), or brought back unexpected technology from the future!
However, time travel has definitely proven to be a perfect topic for fascinating sci-fi storytelling. It’s interesting to imagine what it would be like if we could travel back in history and witness important events with our own eyes, or take a peek at what exciting advancements might be possible in the future. Time-traveling stories also offer some interesting philosophical issues to explore, such as: if you could travel back in time, would you choose to prevent a horrible event from occurring, even if your interference might have an unforeseen impact on the future?
While my favorite time-traveling franchise is actually a TV show, “Doctor Who,” here are my five favorite time-traveling movies! Some are more lighthearted, fun adventures, while others explore deeper, more theoretical time-traveling ethics.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen “Looper,” but I remember being fascinated by the concept. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a hitman known as a “looper” who is hired to kill targets who are sent back in time from the future. Their final assignment involves killing their future self, thereby “closing the loop.” However, when Older Joe (Bruce Willis) arrives, he doesn’t intend to go quietly. “Looper” is a twisty, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller and serves as a calling card for writer-director Rian Johnson, who went on to write and direct “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Although “First Class” is actually my favorite X-Men movie, “Days of Future Past” is probably my next favorite. The movie starts off in a grim, post-apocalyptic future, where all the mutants are being hunted down by robots known as Sentinels. In their last, desperate move, the X-Men send Wolverine back to the 1970s to alter the past and save their future. It’s fun seeing Hugh Jackman interacting with the cast of “First Class,” and this movie has one of my favorite scenes ever in an X-Men film: Quicksilver’s famous slow-mo bullet-moving sequence set to “Time in a Bottle.” However, I also appreciated the film’s final message that compassion and understanding are a better way to solve problems than anger or revenge.
3. Back to the Future
No list of time-traveling films would be complete without “Back to the Future,” right? I actually watched this classic for the first time a couple of years ago, and it’s still just as entertaining for modern viewers. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown are a fun time-traveling duo, with the second-coolest time-traveling machine in pop culture, Doc Brown’s DeLorean (the coolest is the Tardis, of course…at least in my opinion!). 🙂 In the first film, Marty has to get his own personal timeline back on track after he nearly sabotages his parents’ relationship and prevents himself from being born. While “Back to the Future” isn’t a “heavy” film, it did make me ponder how seemingly small, insignificant events/choices can have a major impact on our lives.
2. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow” under-performed at the box office when it was released in 2014. Which really is a shame, because this is a great sci-fi action movie. Tom Cruise plays a PR officer in the military who refuses an assignment, gets demoted and sent into combat, and is promptly killed on the battlefield. Now, that sounds like it would be the end of the story, but it actually isn’t. Cruise’s character wakes up and discovers he’s been transported back in time to the day before the battle. This keeps happening again…and again…and again, and with the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (a fantastic Emily Blunt), he has to figure out why. I don’t want to spoil anymore of the plot, but I loved how Cruise’s mysterious time-traveling ability ends up playing a key role in defeating the alien invasion threatening the survival of Earth.
1. Star Trek
As I was preparing this list, I Googled “time travel movies” just to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, and J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek” reboot popped up. I never really thought of this as a film in the time travel genre, but time travel actually is a pretty significant part of the plot, with the reappearance of Leonard Nimoy as an older version of Spock. This movie has a special place in my heart, since it’s what really got me into the Star Trek fandom, and it’s actually in my top five favorite films overall. I love how it uses an alternate timeline to explore themes of friendship and legacy (which have always been a part of the Star Trek universe) in a new way. It’s also not the first time Star Trek has delved into time travel. Although it didn’t *quite* make this list, I also enjoy “Star Trek: The Voyage Home” (a.k.a. “the whale one”).