One of the hardest problems about being human, and one of the most complex and frustrating elements, comes from our perception of time and causality. Time appears to be moving forward, things continue to build up and become more complex, without any chance of being undone or rewinded—you are born only after you are conceived and you can’t un-ask that girl out; no matter what happens the past is the past.
This leads to another problem that makes being human so excruciating—we don’t know what is going to happen. The future is as blank as the past is fixed, no matter the present moment, the future is almost impossible to truly predict. The future has not happened until it has.
This is where the fascination with time travel comes—what if we could go back and change things? What if we could know the future? These are things that keep you up night; that keep everyone across the globe up at night. And this is where the fantasy of the time travel film comes from, and why it has been such a staple in both literature and film—not to mention being a favourite of coffee shop philosophers.
And it’s not just whether it’s possible either—it’s more about the implications of it existing. Are we destined to always repeat the same mistakes? Does fate exist? Are we really able to choose? Is every event that occurs just random? This is where the best of these ten time travel films really shine— exploring issues of the human condition and the human experience.
It’s not always just about being cool.
10. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Type of time travel: The Past
Mode of transport: A sweet phonebooth
An intellectual journey into the idea of time travel as a learning aid for two slackers from high school with poor grades who have to pass a history report so that they might in the future form a band that saves the world. This film explores the notion of time travel as experiencing history instead of just reading about it and explores the notion of history itself and also the notion of futures that must be protected. It’s also always nice to see Keanu Reeves as “Ted” the dim-witted metalhead and George Carlin does as their idiosyncratic mentor Rufus.
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