The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Hollywood loves time-travel

An insight into the importance of time-travel within the film world.


The legacy of time-travel in Hollywood films is constantly growing. It’s no surprise when you consider this idea conceptually and how it can be employed to accustom any plot line, however ridiculous. Each film tends to set its own rules and structure for the phenomenon. In Terminator, time-travel is a one-way street in which you arrive indecently exposed in some kind of electrified sphere. Back to the Future on the other hand, has a more reasonable form of transportation, allowing you to freely to travel back and forth fully-dressed and in the comfort of your own car. One of the first time-travelling films, Planet of the Apes (1968) probably holds the most ‘scientific’ explanation; astronauts who are travelling at light speed end up progressing thousands of years in a matter of months.

One actor who is no stranger to the idea is Bruce Willis, who starred in the critically-acclaimed box office smash 12 Monkeys (1995). In it he travels from a post-apocalyptic future back to the ’90s to save the earth from a deadly virus outbreak. Clearly Willis is a fan of time-travel, as he revisits the concept this autumn in Looper, accompanied by Hollywood’s new golden boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Whilst the film’s plot may sound ridiculous – future crime syndicate disposes of rivals by sending them back 30 years to face Levitt’s shotgun – it is already set to be one of this year’s most successful films. It seems that no matter how many years go by, time-travel always resounds well in cinema.