Temporal Anomalies

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Anomalies
Movies
Other Pages
Off Site
The Examiner Connection

Movies Analyzed
in order examined

Terminator
    Addendum to Terminator
    Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines
Back To The Future
Back To The Future II
Back To The Future III
Millennium
Star Trek Introduction
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    Star Trek: Generations
    Star Trek: First Contact
12 Monkeys
    Addendum to 12 Monkeys
Flight Of The Navigator
Army of Darkness
Lost In Space
Peggy Sue Got Married
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
Frequency
Planet of the Apes
Kate and Leopold
Somewhere In Time
The Time Machine
Minority Report
Happy Accidents
The Final Countdown
Donnie Darko
Harry Potter and
    the Prisoner of Azkaban

Deja Vu

Copyright Information

The temporal anomaly terminology used here is drawn from Appendix 11:  Temporal Anomalies of Multiverser from Valdron Inc, and is illustrated on the home page of this web site.  This site is part of M. J. Young Net.

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Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
unravels
Problems in Time

Time travel has been a staple in Science Fiction since H.G. Wells.  Unfortunately, much of what passes for intelligence in this area is poorly considered.

Anomalies

For example, it is not possible to return to the past without changing the past in some way; nor is it possible to change the future based on information from the future.  Doctor Who realized early on that changes to history were hazardous, and avoided them assiduously. Movies built on a time travel theme frequently become dissatisfying when the thread of time is closely examined.  In Millennium, once the era in which the time machine exists is destroyed, aren't all of those rescued survivors returned to their own times?  In The Twelve Monkeys, doesn't it appear that the disaster which the main character was to prevent 

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would not have happened had he not interfered?  In Timecop, would any of that have happened had it not happened?  Even the venerable StarTrek has created numerous anomalies which it has failed to resolve.  Pasts which are dependent upon futures dependent upon those pasts should make us cringe.  However, from time to time something works.  This web page will attempt to examine some of the best examples of these, beginning with:

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Movies

Terminator, the two-part Schwarzenegger thriller, finds a way to reconcile both films into a complete story, and suggests a possible continuation.  The addendum answers a letter from a reader.

Back to the Future is presented in three parts, making sense of the first, but finding many problems with the second and third.

Millennium, a well-written time travel story that makes a few mistakes but overall does better than the more popular ones.

Star Trek begins with an introductory page discussing time travel in the Star Trek universe, and then looks at the three films which attack the subject.  Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home has a lot of scientific problems, but succeeds where it counts.  Star Trek Generations falls apart at every turn.  And Star Trek:  First Contact goes a long way to redeeming the series.

12 Monkeys is far and away the most popular time travel movie page on this site--mostly from people who are trying to understand it.  One issue crops up enough in letters that it's been discussed in an addendum to the page.

Flight of the Navigator may be a Disney film, but it's also a well-told time travel movie which looks at the other side of the timeline, the world that exists before the time traveler changes it.

Army of Darkness may be a horror film, and it may be a comedy, but it's also a magical bit of time travel with a few twists of its own.

Lost in Space proved to be disappointing, attempting much and crashing miserably.

Peggy Sue Got Married was requested by a reader.  This magical bit of fluff, if taken as time travel, has a few hiccoughs in it, but presents some interesting ideas.

Bill & Ted's stories may be fun romps, but they are also thought-provoking time problems.  Their Excellent Adventure gives us a fascinating look at planning to travel from the future to the past to solve problems in the present, and the Bogus Journey takes these ideas further.

Frequency is a story in which information, not people, travels in time; but the results are just as complicated.

There are dozens of interpretations of the time travel in Planet of the Apes; this one makes sense of the details.

Time travel is often used to bring lovers together, and in Kate and Leopold the century is crossed so a modern advertising executive can become a duchess.

Again love is the driving force behind the time travel in this cult classic, Somewhere in Time--but does it work?

H. G. Wells gave us time travel with The Time Machine; and while this 2001 retelling is less faithful to the book than Gomer to Hosea, it provides an interesting lesson in the mistakes you can make.

A lot of people have asked about Minority Report.  I've concluded that it is not a time travel movie--but I've analyzed it anyway, showing why it doesn't work under any theory of time, and providing a theory of psychic prediction which, with a few reconstructions, makes it all come out as it appears on the screen.

I'd not heard of Happy Accidents until someone dropped me a note asking about it, and the next day I saw it at the video store.  It suffers from unnecessary vulgarity and a constant assault against religion, but how does it do as a time travel film?  Let's say it's interesting, and you can read all about it when you get to the page.

This is a first for the site:  one of the regular readers has taken the time to contribute an analysis of an old time travel movie I'd seen but not yet analyzed.  With thanks and credit to John A1nut, here is his analysis of The Final Countdown, demonstrating a solid grasp of the application of the theory and doing some brilliant reconstruction of the original timeline which must have existed prior to the events portrayed in the film.

Another much-requested analysis appears for Donnie Darko, a film that proved considerably easier to unravel than the consternation of viewers had suggested, although it requires the acceptance of several supernatural elements quite apart from the unexplained temporal rift.

There is now a page of other films, movies of which I am aware are time travel films but have not yet treated here.  Preliminary comments on each are given.  I attempt to update it, adding films as I become aware of them and removing them as pages are created for them, but some films will probably stay on that list for quite some time.  Currently mentioned there, and briefly addressed in one way or another, you will find:

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Other Pages

A picture is worth a thousand words...
Temporal Anomalies

Image drawn from Appendix 11:  Temporal Anomalies,
in Multiverser:  Referee's Rules from Valdron Inc,
Used by permission.
For information about Multiverser write to Referee@MJYoung.net
or visit the web sites.
Several other pages of interest appear on the site, worth your attention.

A new section has been created, Discussing Time Travel Theory, intended to help answer questions that arise frequently in letters.  It includes the Primer on Time explains the theories and how they work, a look at the Current Science of Time Travel explaining the most promising concept in time travel yet, and the reasons why competing theories of the consequences don't work, plus several illustrative pages which show how the theory works and where this author thinks competing theories fail.

The Perpetual Barbecue is a short story by the author of this site, originally published in the defunct RPG Review, in which time travel causes a day to repeat itself, for better and for worse.

There is a section of correspondence, a few of the many letters written about pages on this site, with answers from the author.

There was a guestbook which you are invited to read; regretably, Yahoo! discontinued support for signing these when they bought GeoCities (one of many reasons we are no longer at GeoCities)--but you get a faster response from me if you use e-mail anyway.

And if you're wondering who wrote this stuff, there is a page about the author with a bit of information and some links.

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Off Site

There is a new off-site resource:  temporal analyses in short form are being published by The Examiner.  There's more about that below, and a new page, The Examiner Connection, to attempt to index these additions.

Chuck Buckley posed some time travel problems some time back, and answers were provided based on the time travel theories found here.  You can read the continuing discussion beginning here, and continuing here, here, and here.  My answers are also posted on this site, here, here, here, and here.  Mr. Buckley also has a collection of time travel links to pursue.

The theory article posted here as Toward Two Dimensional Time was originally published at Gaming Outpost under the title A Draft:  Toward Two-Dimenensional Time, and there is some discussion there.  Mr. Sergei Koshkin, who contributed to this site A Critique of the Spreadsheet Theory by Sergei Koshkin, also posted a second article there under the title A critique of the replacement theory of time travel, to which I responded in the discussion area there.

The author maintains an index of his own pages across the Internet, writing in such diverse subjects as Biblical studies, Internet commerce, law and politics, and games, in addition to science fiction.

Valdron Inc would be pleased to introduce you to the author's work in Multiverser:  The Game, its First and Second Book of Worlds, and the novel Verse Three, Chapter One.

Feel free to Write to the author.  Everyone else does.

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The Examiner Connection

In late June of 2009 the author of this site was invited to contribute brief articles analyzing time travel in movies to The Examiner, an online news and information site.  To handle the complex problems time travel creates in such films, the analyses there are being serialized; to handle the complex problems of tracking serialized articles, they are being indexed on this site for convenience.  The series launched with a look at Primer; for the rest, see the index.

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