Calista’s Cinema Conversations: Time Travel Films

While watching the “Terminator” series’ newest installation, “Terminator: Genisys,” I began to think about all the films that manipulate time to add to the plot. This week, I will be looking at these films, especially the movies that contain time travel.

Of course, we have to start with the “Back to the Future” series. These are great family films with action-packed plots and memorable characters. This is similar to the third Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” as this book-turned-movie’s highly imaginative story uses a time traveling device to right wrongs.

The romance film “13 Going on 30” uses time traveling to its comedic advantage when the adolescent main character switches bodies with her older self. Similarly, the historical romantic comedy “Kate and Leopold” uses different time periods and Leopold’s ignorance of modern innovation to create some very funny scenes.

The use of repeated time travel in movies such as “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Groundhog Day” and “Midnight in Paris” can be effective for the protagonist to come to some realization about themselves or learn a life lesson. These moments are usually very touching or sad and, if they are done well, make for a great conclusion of the film.

Science fiction films such as “Interstellar,” “12 Monkeys” and the “Terminator” movies are always popular among audiences. Although most of the “Terminator” movies get worse as more sequels are made, stand-alone films like “Interstellar” have creative storylines that haven’t been overdone.

Some horror movies that go backwards or forwards in time use the supernatural to explain time traveling. In the films “Insidious” and “Insidious 2,” the first two movies of the paranormal series use that bending of time to enter each other’s stories. The more thriller side of the horror genre like “Donnie Darko” or “The Butterfly Effect” show that going back through time can be disastrous.

Older time travel movies like “The Time Machine” and “Time After Time” use H.G Wells’s groundbreaking novel to their advantage, basing the story off of the book or taking ideas from his work.

Films that contain a lot of comedy and have elements of time travel like “Deadpool 2” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” show the effects of altering the past with a little bit of laughter sprinkled in.

Films that use time travel to enhance their story have to be creative; it’s hard to pull off an intriguing film with an original plot that audiences will enjoy. Although the idea of traveling through time is most often seen in science fiction, it is great to see it used across genres.


Calista Giroux is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at calista.giroux@gmail.com.