by Marc Gravelle
Riddle me this, dear readers:
Never ahead, ever behind, Yet flying swiftly past. For a child I last forever, For a grown-up I'm gone too fast. What am I?
The answer, of course, is time.
From as early as 1733 with Irish writer Samuel Madden’s book Memoirs of the 20th Century, to the recent Netflix movie ARQ, the subject of travelling through time has been incredibly popular in science fiction. There have been multitudes of written and filmed works based on the subject, including the 1960 film The Time Machine (based loosely on H.G. Wells’ short story from 1895 of the same name), the memorable 1952 short story A Sound of Thunder by legendary writer Ray Bradbury, and over five and a half decades of adventures supplied by Doctor Who, sci-fi’s resident Time Lord. As serious as a topic that time travel can be, lighthearted adventures have not been overlooked. Movies like 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine and 1999’s groovy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me have proven to be huge successes with audiences.
The 80’s delivered many of the most memorable time travel movies of, um, all time, and the decade’s flirtation with this sci-fi sub-genre has yet to see a worthy contender. This was the decade responsible for the hugely successful Back to the Future, the most successful film of 1985. The movie, starring Michael J. Fox as the loveable Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as the quirky Doc, spawned 2 spectacular sequels (with Part II taking place in the future and Part III in the past). It’s also responsible for showcasing the coolest time travelling machine ever, the DeLorean. A year before, in ’84, Arnold Schwarzenegger travelled back in time from 2029 as the menacing Terminator, a role that defined his career. He revisited the iconic franchise most recently in 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, the fifth film in the series. The most triumphant time travelling film of all-time, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, was released in 1989. The film’s main characters, Bill S. Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan, played by a pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves, travel through time to recruit historical figures such as Joan of Arc and Billy the Kid for a high school history report. They don’t have a DeLorean, but they do have a time travelling phone booth! Star Trek also jumped on the time travelling bandwagon in 1986 with the fourth motion picture in that franchise, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise travel from 2286 back to 1986 to save the Earth. I could go on and add 1981’s Time Bandits, 1984’s The Philadelphia Experiment and so many more movies to the list of 80’s time travel classics, but time is of the essence!
Recently, there’s been a trend in television shows involving time travel. The heroes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, airing on the CW, can be found bouncing back and forth through time on Time Master Rip Hunter’s Waverider. The show it spun off of, The Flash, is itself currently dealing with the consequences of changing past and affecting the future in the Flashpoint storyline. If newer shows, such as NBC’s 2016 series Timeless, ABC’s 2017 series Time After Time (based on the classic 1979 film), and FOX’s 2017 series Making History are any indication, the future of time travel is now!
There’s no time like the present to make time travel in your own life. Anyone can do it by simply strapping on a watch! Here are a few notable pieces worth your time: