10th: “The Time Machine” (1960)
George Wells (Rod Taylor) is a scientist living in London at the beginning of the 20th century. He puts forth the following idea to his skeptical friends: what if you could travel in the fourth dimension, the dimension of time?
George, a well meaning, inquisitive type, proceeds to do just that, using his time travelling machine to arrive at various points in history. Eventually, he ends up thousands of years into the future, where he encounters simple minded, uneducated young people who call themselves Eloi.
They’re being bred for a sinister purpose by the Morlocks, glowing eyed hairy beasts that dwell underground. George, the kind of person who wants to do good in the world, tries to motivate the seemingly helpless Eloi to fight back against their aggressors.
“The Time Machine” is a colourful, gorgeously shot sci-fi adventure that gets a lot of mileage out of the charismatic central performance by Taylor. The beautiful Mimieux (Weena) is utterly enchanting as his love interest and one can easily understand why George would be so smitten.
The special effects are extremely well done, and famed producer George Pal, doubling here as director, gives the film an adequate but unhurried pace.
The strong supporting cast also includes Alan Young (who plays both David and James Filby), Sebastian Cabot, Tom Helmore, and Whit Bissell as Georges’ doubting associates. Doris Lloyd plays housekeeper Mrs. Watchett, and that’s an uncredited Paul Frees supplying the voices of the talking rings.
Russell Garcias’ music score is rousing and the design of the Time Machine itself and the creepy Morlock antagonists is impressive. The nuclear destruction of London, complete with volcanic eruption, is memorable.
As he arrives at each point in time, George sees some of the worst examples of humanity, and some of its darkest periods, so his mindset by the conclusion is plausible. This is an inherently likable character with sufficient rooting interest.
9th: The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect is a time travel psychological thriller film who features Ashton Kutcher (as the lead actor) and Amy Smart. Chaos theory tells us that small events can cause grave consequences. It tells us that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can set off a Tornado in Texas. Its title is highly related to the butterfly effect.
Also, this hypothetical effect illustrates that no matter how small the initial differences may be, they can lead to big and unforeseen repercussions over time. The film was written and directed by both J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Bress.
Remake the Present
Evan Treborn has been experiencing blackouts at difficult moments of emotional stress, for example: when a family friend molested him, or when his friends and he became involved in a prank-gone-bad, since the age of 7.
Later, he learns that, by focusing on the words in a diary he wrote in while growing up, he finds that he has the power to travel back in time to relive as his former self – that is, his adult mind occupies his younger body and to remake the present by changing his past actions.
Sometimes, he can make alterations; sometimes he cannot. When a childhood friend, Kayleigh Miller, commits suicide because of something Evan did, he becomes preoccupied with saving her life.
And, when he succeeds, he learns that he might have been better off not messing with the complex formula of cause-and-effect for there are unintended consequences.
With regards to the film, I think that it is a great time traveling science fiction thriller. Although it has an interesting premise, the story fails considering that there were plot holes in it and it is basically flawed. Also, it was sort of sloppily conceived and unevenly paced.
Added to that, it gets sidetracked to sex and violence as it resorts to gratuitous piece of sadism, sexuality or sleaziness.
8th: Déjà vu
This is a great time travel idea that handles time travel more subtle than most.
A ferryboat packed with USS Nimitz sailors and families gets blown up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) investigates the suspected terrorist attack. They find the body of Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) who seems to be killed before the bombing.
FBI Agent Jack McCready (Bruce Greenwood) is in charge. Carlin’s partner’s car is left in the ferris’ parking lot and ends up in the investigation. Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) brings him into a new experimental FBI unit called Snow White run by scientist Dr. Alexander Denny (Adam Goldberg) who uses spacefolding to see events 4 days 6 hours into the past. Carlin suspects that he can change history.
With a great supporting cast actor Denzel Washington is on his usual fine form, Paula Patton is convincing and Val Kilmer gives a great performance.
At its core, “Deja Vu” is a very interesting and fresh take on time travel, more specifically, the ability to create a “window to the past”. It is an intriguing concept from beginning to end, and one has to give much credit to director Tony Scott, who manages to seamlessly weave all the intricate pieces together making it very rounded well constructed piece of entertainment.
Although the closing ties things up a little too nicely in terms of Doug Carlin’s ‘duplicate’ it still manages to inject some ambiguity into the end.
Inventive, extremely fun, and unbelievably smart, Looper is an awesome futuristic thriller. Like pretty much every story ever written or filmed involving time travelling, the laws and the logic within its universe are subject to many interpretations and that is why if one has enough time to think on it exhaustively.
I’m sure that many plot holes would come up and immediately a different interpretation that invalidates the one that would appear and soon after the one that does the same with the latter would come, and so on. That is why we don’t like discussions about this kind of details, because also, another thing that adds to the magic of movies is the fact that some questions remain unanswered or unknown.
In the movie Looper time travel is illegal. The mob uses it to do hits. Send the guy back in time to a designated spot, have a guy kill him and dispose of the body. Very clean and no traces. The hit men, or loopers as they’re called, get paid handsomely in silver for their hits.
If they have to kill their future self, they get paid in gold and live out the rest of their days (up to the point they’re sent back) how they like. That is called closing the loop.
This film is amazing from the start. The story is smartly told and it feels fresh and innovative, even if there may be some familiar elements in it; the acting was mesmerizing, and the direction was energetic.
With a lot of makeup on his face to make him resemble a young Bruce Willis (I don’t think he ended up looking like him at all), Joseph Gordon-Levitt transcended the oddity of his looks, changed his voice, and his performance was excellent.
He outshone Willis, Emily Blunt, and Jeff Daniels, who were all astounding as well. Seven-year-old kid Pierce Gagnon played a key role and he was keenly creepy; kudos to him and to whoever coached him.
It had the perfect dose of action, drama, and suspense and right until the end it was hard to tell what would happen next. The final resolution was highly unexpected and shocking, but what’s important is that things ended on a high note.