If humans live long enough, then science fiction about moving from the present to the future or past and back again may one day become a reality. For now, we’ll have to entertain ourselves by watching the top 5-time travel movies.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
This is not only one of the best time travel movies but also one of the best action movies ever made. Before James Cameron started messing around with the big ship and blue aliens, he craved futuristic cyborgs, powerful explosions, and liquid metal. Schwarzenegger reprised his role as the Terminator in the 1984 film. But this time, he is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor’s son from the T-1000, a much more advanced shape-shifting Terminator. Ironically, the relationship between John Connor and the futuristic cyborg brings something human to a film that could easily be a slideshow of gunfights, car chases, special effects, and robot brawls. Of course, they are also very nice to look at.
Time Patrol (2014)
The film is based on the short story “You Are All Zombies” by Robert Heinlein. There are many allusions to the late great science fiction writer in the film, as most of the dialogue is taken directly from the story, and there is even a copy of Heinlein’s book “Stranger in a Strange Land” next to the bartender’s typewriter. Ethan Hawke plays the bartender, and Sarah Snook plays the enigmatic single mother, a character who tells one of the weirdest bar stories we’ve ever heard. And then everything just gets more mysterious.
“12 Monkeys” (1995)
The present in 12 Monkeys is a dystopian future where a deadly virus has already wiped out most of humanity and the survivors are forced to live underground.
Bruce Willis plays felon James Cole, who is sent back in time to find a cure for the virus. Brad Pitt plays one of his best performances as the hyperactive mental patient-turned-leader of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, Jeffrey Goins. Director Terry Gilliam is said to have deprived Pitt of cigarettes on set to help the character get nervous.
The film even spawned a television series of the same name that debuted on Syfy in 2015.
“About Time” (2013)
The film is about Tim Lake (Donal Gleason), who is told by his father that the men in their family have the ability to travel through time. However, there are some restrictions on their powers. After Tim’s father prevents his son from making money or fame, Tim, a hopeless romantic, decides to use his powers to improve his love life.
After a series of mistakes and setbacks, Tim happily marries Mary (Rachel McAdams), and together they start a family. However, when Tim travels back in time to help his sister, he discovers that going back before his daughter’s birth can seriously disrupt the timeline. Things get complicated when Tim’s father is diagnosed with cancer.
About Time is one of the most sentimental films out there, but it’s important to remember that you’re only wasting time dwelling on past mistakes and that life should be cherished in the present.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko may not be a typical time travel movie, and even after watching it multiple times, it’s hard to figure out how and why things happen. Even screenwriter/director Richard Kelly has said he doesn’t understand every aspect of his enigmatic film. But in the end, that’s what makes Donnie Darko so exciting.
One morning, a figure in a creepy bunny suit comes to high school student Donnie, who tells him that the end of the world will come in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. This countdown eventually leads to Halloween night, when Donnie tries to find out if time travel is possible by visiting the home of Roberta Sparrow, a decrepit old woman who once wrote a book on the philosophy of time travel.
“What does philosophy have to do with time travel?” one of the characters asks Donnie. We are still not sure. However, we do know that Donnie Darko has enough atmosphere and mystery to fill ten films.