Time travel is the thorniest of plot elements. By nature, it’s full of flaws. Take the Grandfather Paradox — watch Futurama for the best example of that. Time travel is difficult because it doesn’t fare well under the light gaze of logic.
But lets push logic aside — whether time travel is or is not possible. When I read fiction (or watch movies or TV), I often want to escape. And what better way to escape than to leave the time period entirely?
Time travel as a plot device offers infinite possibilities. When you’re no longer constrained by time itself, the plot permutations are endless. The imagination can run wild. And for that reason most of all, I love nothing better than a great time travel story.
One of my favorite websites, io9.com, recently ranked all the time-travel-related movies, from best to worst. The article, and their reasons behind each ranking, is worth a look.
For a quick rundown, here is their top five:
5. Time Bandits
4. Back to the Future 2
3. Groundhog Day
And their top time travel movie of all time is….. Back to the Future (the first one)
It’s an impressive list. I applaud the effort that went in to compiling it. My take? For the most part I agree, with some reservations. I’m not a Groundhog Day fan, and that barely qualifies as a time travel movie in my mind. And I disagree with the low rating for Ashton Kutshcer’s Butterfly Effect. Sure it was hokey, but what was great about it was how it showed the accumulated futility of trying to alter time.
As far as my own personal list, my favorite time travel movie ever, which made the top ten, has to be The Terminator. It was a brilliant sci-fi/thriller that established a mind-bending franchise. Arnold is great, and both Sarah and John Connor are now pop culture icons.