Monday, September 24, 2012

Top Five Time Travel Films

Looper, a film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt about hitmen in the past who kill people sent back from the future, will be released this Friday and it makes me wonder what is the greatest time travel movie of all time?  Now my top five choices are primarily based on how good the story is and, in all honesty, my opinion on the films.  My opinion is something you may or may not agree with but, this is just a blog.  So if you have an opinion about what your favorites are, please comment.  Now on to the countdown too my top five time travel films of all time.

5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

 The second film in the Terminator franchise and arguably the best in the series, with a box office take of $204,843,345 or $390,000,000 after you adjust for ticket prices.  The film surpassed expectations when it was released in 1991 and paved the way for James Cameron to literally get what he asks for in Hollywood.  Schwarzenegger returns as the unstoppable Terminator, but this time as the hero.  The special effects were a break through for Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and made it possible to create movies like Jurassic Park and the newer Star Wars trilogy.
The film centers on John Conner, the future leader of the resistance against the machines and his protection from an indestructible force sent back in time to kill him.  T2 still holds up in look and feel, still able to produce thrills and nail biting action that many modern day action films try to recreate.  There's talks of a fifth film with Arnold back in the title role.  Its unknown as to when or if the film will be made but the thought of a possible sequel is still exciting.  

4.  The Final Countdown (1980)

 An oldie but a goodie, The Final Countdown is about a naval air craft carrier that's torn from present day 1980 to December 6, 1941, the day before the bombing on Pearl Harbor.  Its a great film with a premise that makes you ask, what would have happened if modern day technology existed in America's greatest time of need?
Kirk Douglas stars as the captain of the U.S.S. Nimitz, which is thrusted through time by an unexplained black hole that forms out in the middle of the Pacific.  Soon the entire crew is baffled by there position and also the radio signals their intercepting.  It doesn't take long for them to realize where they are, whats going to happen, and poses the question if they should intervene in history or let it unfold as it is written.
The film was a success at the box office but had mixed reviews from critics.  The films special effects are dated, but as I said earlier, this is primarily about story not effects.  Its a well written film and worth a watch if you ever come across it.

3. The Time Machine (1960)

The oldest film on this list, and possibly the oldest movie I've ever written about.  The Time Machine, based on H.G. Wells classic tale of a scientist and his journey through time is a classic in every sense of the word.  Time lapse camera's captured his trek through time, which was something new to audiences at the time.
A scientist witnesses the rise and fall of man in a matter of decades, and is forced to travel to the year 802,701 by a massive lava flow that traps him and his time machine within the earth.  When the earth finally erodes away, he sees that man has survived but with dramatic consequences, something he must change.
The film was a great success  and even won the Academy Award for best special effects.  
The Time Machine also had an unofficial sequel at the end of the documentary Time Machine: The Journey Back, which reunited the characters from the film played by Rod Taylor and Alan Young.  The film also had a remake in 2002 starring Guy Pearce and directed by Simon Wells, the great grandson of H.G. Wells.

2. Somewhere in Time (1980)

 Another film from 1980 starring the late Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour in this timeless love story about a man who will stop at nothing to find the woman he's been longing for his entire life, the only problem is he's 68 years too late in finding her.
The story centers on a playwright who travels out of town for vacation, making his way to the Grand Hotel.  There he finds a picture of a woman, taken in the year 1912.  He soon becomes fixated on the photo and begins looking for a way to get to her as he falls in love with the image.  
I won't go into detail as to where the movie goes next, but he does find a way to go back in time, which is where the movie really picks up.
The film was panned by critics and underperformed at the box office.  But time does heal some misfortunes and it soon developed a cult following and even changed most critic's minds, even if it was a couple decades later.  The film is now considered a great masterpiece in some circles and remains as one of Reeve's best works in cinema.

1. Back to the Future (1985)

The biggest box office hit in 1985 still considered, by most, to be the greatest time-travel movie of all time.  It produced two sequels and two years ago celebrated its 25th anniversary by re-releasing the film back into theaters during its jump to blu-ray.
Back to the Future centers on Marty McFly, a normal high school student who just happens to be best friends with a nutty professor, Doc Brown, who creates a time machine out of a DeLorean.  Marty is soon sent back to 1955 by uncontrollable circumstances and meets his mother and father, who are still in high school and not at all what Marty envisioned.
Originally the role of Marty McFly went too Eric Stoltz, but two weeks into production he was fired from the role, which subsequently went to Micheal J. Fox.  The role of Doc Brown was originally meant for John Lithgow, who turned the role down due to conflicting schedules.  Christopher Lloyd was brought on board after turning the role down, but was soon told to take the role by his wife.

Notable Mentions" Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, Twelve Monkey's, Source Code, Deja Vu.

Well there you have it.  My list of the top 5 time traveling movies of all time.  Who knew Back to the Future was going to be number one?  If anyone has a different list of favorites, I would love to hear what you have to say. 

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