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Temporal Anomalies

Main Page
Discussing Time Travel Theory
Other Films
Perpetual Barbecue
About the Author
Contact the Author

See also entries under the
Temporal Anomalies/Time Travel
category of the
mark Joseph "young"
web log
elsewhere on this site.

Quick Jumps

The Story
Science and Technology Errors
Constructing the Altered Timeline
Reconstructing the Altered Timeline

Movies Analyzed
in order examined

    Addendum to Terminator
    Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines
    Terminator Recap
    Terminator Salvation
    Terminator Genisys
    Terminator:  Dark Fate
Back To The Future
Back To The Future II
Back To The Future III
Star Trek Introduction
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    Star Trek: Generations
    Star Trek: First Contact
    Star Trek (2009)
12 Monkeys
    Addendum to 12 Monkeys
Flight Of The Navigator
  Flight Of The Navigator Addendum
Army of Darkness
Lost In Space
Peggy Sue Got Married
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
Planet of the Apes
Kate and Leopold
Somewhere In Time
The Time Machine
Minority Report
Happy Accidents
The Final Countdown
Donnie Darko
  S. Darko
Harry Potter and
    the Prisoner of Azkaban

Deja Vu
    Primer Questions
Bender's Big Score
Popular Christmas Movies
The Butterfly Effect
  The Butterfly Effect 2
  The Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations
The Last Mimzy
The Lake House
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Hot Tub Time Machine
Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes
A Sound of Thundrer
Frequently Asked Questions
    About Time Travel

Source Code
Blackadder Back & Forth
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
11 Minutes Ago
Men in Black III
La Jetée
Midnight in Paris
Meet the Robinsons
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine
The Jacket
Safety Not Guaranteed
The Philadelphia Experiment
    The Philadelphia Experiment II
Time After Time
About Time
Free Birds
X-Men:  Days of Future Past
Edge of Tomorrow
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Project Almanac
Time Lapse
O Homem Do Futuro
    a.k.a. The Man from the Future

Abby Sen
When We First Met
See You Yesterday
The History of Time Travel
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.

Books by the Author.

The Book

Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
Flight of the Navigator

It was quite a few years ago that this series published an analysis of Disney's Flight of the Navigator, yet it remains near the top of our list of time travel movies for children.  That brought it to the attention of a reader named Eugene Hwang, whose opinion of the film was somewhat lower than mine but improved significantly by my analysis.  He offered a viable alternative resolution, though, which was clever enough that I asked permission to post it here.


The film, in brief, involves a boy named Davey being picked up by a survey ship he calls Max, taken to Phalon, a star distant enough that he does not return for eight years despite traveling at speeds exceeding the speed of light and experiencing almost no time himself, and returned to a time and place where he has been a missing person expected to be considerably older than he is.  Meanwhile, the survey ship crashes, is captured by NASA, and loses part of its database, so it needs the backup copy it stored in the "unused" part of Davey's brain.  Then it is evident that Davey is not going to be able to live a normal life without returning to the time from which he was taken, so Max takes him back and releases him not far from where he was acquired.  Sure, there are several problems there, and we address them in our analysis, but the time travel issues are our main focus.

The problem, as we saw it, is that the Davey who arrived in the future (1988) had been missing for most of a decade (since 1976), but that the temporal duplicate Max has now taken the duplicate Davey to Phalon and will return him in 1988--but that when that Davey returns home, the older version of himself will already be there, not having been missing at all; and the duplicate Max will also be captured by NASA and need to be rescued.  We thus have a very complicated time travel problem.  Our resolution, in a nutshell, involves the older Davey and his brother working with the younger Davey to free Max and send the younger Davey back to 1976; it also involves a sawtooth snap, because the experience of the younger Davey is different from that of his older counterpart, so he has different memories and is a different person, and we have to play the game again to get it right.

Eugene suggests a shortcut to this, based on the known abilities of Max.  Max has the ability to travel in time; he also has the ability to plant information in human brains.  In theory, he could return Davey to 1976 and then rendezvous with himself, and upload to himself a datafile with all the needed information to avoid the events of the movie and cause Davey to remember them as if they happened.  The duplicate Max would then know that he had to install the file (so he will be identical to his future counterpart) and write memories in Davey's brain before returning him directly to 1976, avoiding the NASA entanglement entirely.

As Eugene suggests, this would make a much less interesting movie, but it is a much neater solution to the temporal problems of the film.  Because Max is ultimately an intelligent machine, he probably has the capacity (as we noted recently in looking at Free Birds) of programming himself to be identical in every way.  Kudos for a clever solution, and thanks for reading.

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