Time travel is a widely-recognized concept in science fiction and philosophy. Where in most films the protagonist typically uses some form of device such as a time machine or portal to jump between certain points within time or space.
In which I don’t there there’s a film type that can so directly address the human condition. Where if time travel was real? Would it possible to travel backwards or forwards in order to fix the wrongs of the past, or create a new and better future.But as time travel films aren’t technically a genre, I’m going to be focusing on movies where the main character has some form of control over the time travel within the realm of science fiction.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 1986
Director Leonard Nimoy’s, time travel Adventure comedy, When a space probe heading towards Earth causes major disruptions and threatens the planets destruction. In order to save Earth from this alien craft, Admiral James T. Kirk and his crew have to go back in time to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with this alien probe.
One of the best movies of this franchise, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has one of those plots, that in theory shouldn’t have worked but it does, where it has great humor combined with a silly plot. A heads up though, this movie is the conclusion to a trilogy so there might be some parts which don’t quite make sense like why the enterprise crew are on a Klingon Ship.
Back to the future 2 1989
Director Robert Zemeckis’, time travel comedy adventure, Follows Marty McFly who has only just gotten back from the past, where he is once again picked up by Dr. Emmett Brown and sent back through time, But this time to the future- where he has to sort out his children's mistakes. However things get worse when something in the future changes the present.
Normally I don’t like to recommend sequels over the original, but Back to the future 2 while not quite as good as the first film, feels more like a complete time travel movie, as it covers a broader range of possibilities and what ifs, for when a time machine is used for personal gain. While I definitely recommend this movie, I would still suggest watching the 1st film if you still haven’t seen it yet.
Directors Michael & Peter Spierig’s, time travel Mystery sci-fi, Follows a Temporal Agent, whose primary duty is to prevent future killers from commiting crimes. For his final assignment, he must stop the fizzle bomber; an elusive criminal wanted for killing thousands of people.
This mindbender about choice vs fate; Predestination is an above average time travel mystery that is very clever with its overall plot. Where it will keep you guessing until the very end, in which it has a pretty complex twist that unfolds really well.
Where if you find yourself getting confused with films like inception where the story is pretty convoluted, then I would probably give it a miss. But if you like getting confused and enjoy a mystery within a mystery, then you will love this movie.
The Jacket 2005
Director John Maybury’s time travel Mystery Horror, When a troubled gulf war Vet is wrongly institutionalized within a mental asylum for insane criminals. He becomes a vicitim of a quack Doctor’s experiment in which he’s restrained in a straight jacket, drugged and left in a morgue body draw. Where strange things start to happen to him, within his dark prison.
An original take on time travel with great casting; The Jacket is a solid psychological drama with some interesting ideas where it requires you to maintain an open mind at times, but overall it’s very entertaining, where it raises some good questions on whether or not you can change your destiny.
If you like your time travel movies to have good production quality, cinematography and editing then check this movie out.
For a film directed by a man who has no experience in movie making, Primer is both likeable and detestable where it has a great premise that could been handled better by an experienced movie maker.If you don’t like convoluted low budget movies, then I would approach this film with caution. While it’s got some fascinating ideas- it’s near impossible to follow with one viewing.
I’d say it requires at least 2 to 3 sessions in order to fully grasp everything that occurs in this movie. However it’s wholly original and definitely worth watching.
The Final Countdown 1980
Director Don Taylor’s time travel action sci-fi, Set in 1980 where the USS Nimitz an aircraft carrier is on a routine exercise near Hawaii, where it encounters a mysterious storm. After losing contact with the rest of US fleet- the crew soon realise something strange has happened when they encounter some Japanese scout planes from World War 2.
This fairly unique and tense movie The Final Countdown is a pretty good film. Where it’s not everyday you get to see a dogfight between an F-14 and a Japanese Zero. While at times it does feel like an advert to join the US air force its still an entertaining movie that brings forth a lot of what ifs. If you like sci-fi, aircraft and military history then watch this film.
Director Nacho Vigalondo’s time travel mystery thriller, Where Hector an ordinary man sees a naked woman in the woods he decides to investigate. On route he discovers her asleep but before he has time to think, he’s attacked by crazy man who starts to chase him. In order to escape,
Hector hides within a scientific laboratory where he accidently travels back in time by 1 hour.
As a solid fast paced thriller with a time travel element, Timecrimes unlike most time travel films has a fairly simple plot that’s, easy to follow and is pretty entertaining. While it does have some minor continuity errors with what Hector's character does in his first time loop, it shouldn't wreck the movie for most people unless that kind of thing irritates you.
Director Louis Morneau’s time travel action drama, Follows Karen who becomes stranded when her car breaks down. after been picked up by a crazed man and his nervous wife. Things go sour between the couple, which leaves Karen's life becomes threatened. Trying to evade this madman she discovers a lab where a scientist has just discovered time travel.
With fast-paced action and a fun story, Retroactive is a pretty enjoyable film. While its a bit cheesy and illogical at times, there’s something strangely entertaining in watching the main characters failing miserably, at trying to change their current predicament. While it’s not the best time travel movie, Retroactive is definitely not the worst, where if you put your expectations aside, you might be pleasantly surprised with how entertaining it is for a B movie.