Why Do We Love Time Travel Films So Much?

It’s safe to say that time travel has become a staple feature in countless films over time.

Over the years we’ve seen some of our favourite characters voyage through various eras, taking us on a journey with them.

From action (Edge of Tomorrow), to comedy (Hot Tub Time Machine), the romantic (About Time) to the straight-up iconic (Back to the Future) – when it comes to time travel the possibilities are almost endless with what you’re going to get for the next two hours.


Looper Time Travel movies

Credit: TriStar Pictures

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Us normal folk travel through time one second at a time, we don’t get any visits from our future older self or get to go back twenty years to warn about a future apocalypse.

Fun with paradoxes, loops and the nature of potential infinite timelines brings so much joy to the art of cinema in a way that transformed sci-fi films for the better.

Hollywood really honed into the concept of time-travel cinema in the 1980’s.

We saw the release of cult classics such as The Terminator, the infamous project that proved that Arnold Schwarzenegger could in fact act, alongside the ultimate epic journey of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and of course Back to the Future.

All of these Hollywood gems have gone on to have the likes of sequels with the latest Terminator film coming out just last year, and Bill & Ted made its return to screen 30 years on from the original.

It’s no surprise that these films have maintained iconic status in 2020, and essentially catapulted a time travel frenzy still prevalent in films released today.


Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise Time Travel

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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More than likely, a well-paced and well thought out time travel film will stay with you and have you thinking long after its run time is over.

Watching a flick like Predestination which is filled with the utmost unpredictable plot twists will have you wishing you paid even more attention to detail.

Sometimes the jumping of timelines is so hypnotising, it takes a second or third watch to really catch all other sections of the plot and look out for things we might have missed.

The captivating Christopher Nolan creation that is Interstellar, which explores the ultimate search of finding a new home for mankind, intertwines the concept of time travel, space and science in a genius way.

Nolan worked with scientists to smoothen out the kinks of the black hole/wormhole idea which further solidifies its ability to have time travel as a subgenre in such spectacular fashion.

When it comes to sticking to the science of time travel, however, some movies become questionable in terms of the accuracy, but that’s absolutely ok.

For example, if you are here to critique the ‘science’ of Hot Tub Time Machine it’s probably not the film for you.


Time Travel Films The Terminator

Credit: Orion Pictures

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You always have to stick to the plan!

Part of the thrill of time travel cinema is when the characters have a clear strategy and going back or forward can severely change the sequence of events.

Having strict rules of the scenario and what’s at stake if things go wrong makes the film so exciting, and that’s what made Avengers: Endgame such an epic conclusion to all of the MCU phases so far.

Looper is also a great example of this as the future is already written.

Going back into the past allowed future Joe to interact with past Joe knowing the series of events that are going to take place.

However, although the events that have unfolded meant the future was written, drastic changes are made by past Joe which ultimately changed the course of events that were set to come.

Films such as Doctor Strange, although not dubbed strictly as a time travel film, also uses it to play a significant role especially in the final scenes of the film.

The exploration of a time loop really emphasised how manipulation of time and repetitiveness can be extremely effective, especially when the fate of the earth is at stake.

More than likely films about time travel probably do not make any sense if you really think hard about it, and that’s the beauty of it all.

Even after completing the films and scouring through multiple breakdowns online, you’ll probably still find a loophole or come up with some additional questions.

It’s the films that do not take themselves too seriously who drastically and unrealistically jump through space and time in different points of history that are the most fun.

Attention to detail is key, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be that everything makes complete sense in the grand scheme of things, especially looking at a franchise as a whole – yes I’m talking about X-Men: Days of Future Past!

As long as the elements of time travel are epic, action-packed and thought-provoking this plot device will always be fascinating and naturally draw in an audience.

What do you make of this feature?

Are you as much of a fan of time travel films as we are?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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