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Archive for November 22nd, 2010

I recently saw the 25th Anniversary re-issue of Back To the Future at the cinema. I intended to review it at the time but have been really snowed under lately so haven’t got around to it. Not wanting to let the moment pass without mention I have gone for a lazy post. A reprint of my top five 80’s time travel movies. For a list that has more effort put into it check out “The List”, I am particularly happy to see the inclusion of three underappreciated recent movies, Timecrimes, Primer and Triangle.

  1. The Terminator (1984): The Terminator skilfully blends genres, as well as the time travel it is a great action thriller, it has elements of a war movie, it is great science fiction and probably the most mainstream cyberpunk movie ever. It is also the most significant movie of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. The biggest problem with making time travel in a movie is justifying its existence, if time travel were possible why haven’t we heard about it before? In terminator that is easily brushed aside but the paradox of time travel isn’t, it lingers on after the movie has finished.
  2. Back To the Future (1985): Looking back twenty-five years (that makes me feel old) tells us what a great movie Back to the Future was. The clever script by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale is just brilliant, the paradox of time travel is as well captured as in Terminator and dialogue is funnier than Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. Everything is held together by a charismatic central performance from Michael J Fox. And one final note on the movie if you are going to make a time machine in the 80’s is there anything more iconic you could have made it out of than a DeLorean?
  3. Trancers (1985): Evil criminal Whistler uses his powerful hypnotic ability to transform the week minded into zombie like drones (trancers) to do his bidding. Avoiding capture he travels back in time from 2247 to 1985 inhabiting the body of one of his ancestors. He is closely followed by hardboiled detective Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson). Its cheep cheery fun that doesn’t have the budget or production values of Back to The Future but that really doesn’t matter. Also look out for a young Helen Hunt as the love interest.
  4. Time Bandits (1981): Director Terry Gilliam first foray into time travel. A young boy travels through a “time hole” in his bedroom and is taken on adventure with a group of dwarves who travel through time looking for treasure to steal. The movie boasts an excellent cast that includes former Pythons a future Hobbit and a former James Bond. The overall result is a bit of a mixed bag but the visual style set the tone for the director’s future work and has been very influential.
  5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989): Before he learnt surf, before he discovered he was The One and before he found a bomb on a bus Keanu Reeves was Ted Logan, along with his buddy Bill S. Preston, Esq. (former Lost Boy Alex Winter) he travelled the through time and space to avoid failing his history exam and save the future in the process. The whole “Party on, dudes!” thing has been done to death so the movie feels tired now but is still worth a look if you haven’t seen it.

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