The concept of time travel can be a tricky thing to comprehend and even more so in films. Ideally time travel films are original, exciting and plausible which is what films like The Lake House or Timeline were definitely lacking. However when done correctly it has produced some great films like those in my top 5:
Bruce Willis stars as James Cole a convicted criminal who is recruited by scientists and sent through time to track down a terrorist group called The Army of the Twelve Monkeys who are believed to be responsible for creating a deadly virus. Brad Pitt plays the mentally disturbed Jeffery Goines in this interesting Terry Gilliam (Brazil) creation that has the typical paradoxical conclusion seen in number of time travel films leaving you slightly puzzled long after the credits are over.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
One of the most iconic images in cinema is of the stranded astronaut Taylor played by Charlton Heston standing next to a half buried remnant of the Statue of Liberty. It is at this point that we along with poor old Taylor (who has been looking for a way to get back home) come to the realisation that he is in fact ‘home’ and living in a warped version of the future where primates are the superior species and humans have become enslaved.
This film seems to crop up in a number of my top 5 lists including the top 5 Arnold Schwarzenneger films and top 5 films set in LA, so it’s safe to say it is one of my favourite films ever. With a young James Cameron at the helm this sci-fi thriller depicts time travel as only being a one way trip. The Terminator and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) are sent back to the 80’s on conflicting missions that lead to a man versus machine showdown of epic proportions.
From beginning to end Looper grabs your attention with its slick plot and non-stop action. Joseph Gordon Levitt (500 Days of Summer, The Dark Knight Rises) plays Joseph, an assassin employed to kill people who are sent to him from the future, which is fine until the person sent back is his future self. There isn’t nearly enough Bruce Willis in this (See 12 Monkeys for the perfect Bruce Willis/time travel combo), however the unrecognisable Joseph Gordon Levitt does a great job of carrying the film.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The omission of beloved movies like Back to the Future or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure may irk some of you but as a fan of all that is slushy and dramatic means that this film had to be top of the list. Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) has the ability to inadvertently time travel to different moments in the past and future which as you can imagine becomes highly inconvenient when he falls in love. Based on the book of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger the film charts the love story of Henry and Clare (Rachel McAdams) and is a refreshing and interesting take on the age old notion that love conquers all.