Time Travel Top 5

Don’t you just hate it when you are a specialized assassin who kills targets from the future sent by criminal organizations and they end up sending your future self back for you to kill? Chances are if you have never had to experience this, you probably don’t have the same LinkedIn profile as Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Rian Jonhson’s new sci-fi action thriller, Looper. With the film currently making waves both critically (our own Mike Murphy gave it an 8/10) and at the box office, it only seems right to celebrate some other great time travel films from the past that certainly holdup perfectly in the present. In honor of Looper, then, here are five great time travel films that you definitely should check out:


5. Star Trek (2009) – Star Trek was one of those movies that when first hinted at I was pretty skeptical. Then they announced that J.J. Abrams was directing it, so I went and gave it a shot. Walking out of the theater, I wished I had some sort of way to travel back in time to slap my past-self for ever doubting this film because it was by far one of my favorites of 2009. Though the movie has some pretty astonishing visuals, Star Trek really compels with its fantastic story full of characters you actually care about, its very strong performances by everyone on staff (Who can forget Zachary Quitno’s ingenious Spock?), its top notch pacing that made time pass very quickly (even though you didn’t really want it to), and its action scenes that actually felt important to the story. This retelling should have been the final nail in the coffin for the Star Trek series, but Abrams pulled a complete 180 and performed CPR on this once great franchise, delivering a story that pleased conventional Trekkies and new fans of the series equally.



4. Primer (2004) – Have you never heard of Primer? Well neither did I until a couple of days ago when everyone was ranting and raving about it, calling it the most confusing movie they had ever seen in their lives. When I was researching it online I saw that it had collected the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004, which in my mind meant it had to have done something right. After seeing it, I can confirm what all the hype is about because this movie is fantastic. Simply put, Primer makes the plotline of Inception look like a generic action movie, and when any film does that it deserves some major props. Following the tradition of many a great sci-fi pictures, I would say Primer is definitely one you need to watch and will probably have to watch more than once to truly understand, and with a short runtime of only 77 minutes, there’s no reason you shouldn’t. Just don’t watch it twice in one day –  your head might explode!



3. 12 Monkeys (1995) – 12 Monkeys, along with number two and one on this list, is a movie that immediately pops into my head when I hear the words time travel. It has been implanted in my brain so firmly that whenever someone has a debate about the greatest time travel movies ever 12 Monkeys has to be mentioned somewhere in the mix. Between the near perfect performances by Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeleine Stone, and the plot twists that literally take your breath away, this film is a perfect example of a time travel move with layers upon layers upon layers. The only aspect of this film that could be considered a little off is that the plot sometimes feels jumbled, but the performances, crazy twists, and fantastic visuals make up for that and then some. I wish I could go into more detail, but giving anything away about this film would be more than cruel, so better to be safe than sorry.



2. The Terminator (1984) – I don’t think I have ever had a conversation with someone about The Terminator and heard him/her say that it was not a good movie. Granted, if we were talking about the third or fourth in the series, the conversation would probably go in a different direction, but that’s a different subject for a different day. The Terminator is a classic, there is absolutely no doubt about that! While Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t recently been on top of his game in regards to movies, this was the film that definitively set him up as one of the biggest badasses to ever grace the silver screen. On top of that, it’s absolutely ridiculously fast paced, brilliantly directed with technologically groundbreaking cinematography and action scenes that are the definition of “that hasn’t aged a bit”. Like the best actions films, The Terminator is a movie that keeps its foot on the gas pedal for an hour and 40 minutes of nonstop, adrenaline packed fun; it’s a film that will always be hailed as a classic and has been the influence for many sci-fi films to follow (including Looper), and for that we say thank you, James Cameron. Plus, “I’ll be back” is a pretty sweet quote.



1. Back to the Future (1985) – Do I even need to explain? Back to the Future is one of those movies your parents show you when you are little and you grow up knowing you liked it but can’t remember why, so then you watch it and go, “Oh, now I remember exactly why.” It’s just a flat out fun movie, plain and simple. Everything about Back to the Future is done right, from its ingenious laws of time travel to the acting, with Michael J. Fox giving a performance that expertly balances adolescent confusion (who can forget Marty fighting the romantic advances of his teenager mom) with crowd-pleasing heroism. Fox gives us a character to love and root for while the film delivers a time travel premise that, even though it was done a year before (see #2), brings a new light-hearted twist to the format and creates an overall atmosphere of fun and excitement. This movie is the prime example of a clever and brilliantly constructed time travel flick with all the adventure and spirit that anyone, old or young, could ever ask for. Back to the Future is by far the definitive time travel movie and will continue to be for a very, very long time.


So, there you have it, my picks for the greatest time travel movies to ever hit theaters. Do you agree? Any films you think deserve a spot on the list? With Looper out in theaters today, will it be able to surpass any of these films and make the list? I guess only time will tell…

Article by Nicholas Franco


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