Temporal Anomalies

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Quick Jumps

Time After Time
Time Bandits
The Langoliers
Time Cop
Clockstoppers
The Time Machine
Groundhog Day
12:01
The Philadelphia Experiment
Disney's The Kid
Black Knight
Just Visiting
My Science Project
Run, Lola, Run
La Jetée
Primer
Butterfly Effect
Lake House
Premonition
Next
Timeline
Bender's Big Score
The Last Mimzy
TimeRider:  The Adventure of Lyle Swann
Land of the Lost
2046
More Movies

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.

Books by the Author.

Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
unravels
Other Time Travel Films

There are more time travel movies than appear on this site.  Sometimes this is because of an oversight on my part, that I did not realize a film involved time travel or it slipped my mind.  Some films are not here because, frankly, they are such disasters that I don't want to begin to discuss them.  Others are absent because there is precious little to say about them.  Still others are on my must-see list, and will probably appear once I've managed to procure a copy and view it sufficiently to actually comment on it.  But every week someone asks me about some film or other, so here are a few of those, and some preliminary thoughts.

Also, discussions of time travel films by the author are now appearing in serialized form at The Examiner, as part of the national desk entertainment channel.  The author's profile there provides access to articles posted, and the new page on this site, The Examiner Connection, provides an orderly indexing of all the pages published to date, with a bit of a peek ahead.


Time After Time

The analysis of this film has now been released; see The Examiner Connection for links to the series.  Check there also for updates on publication of other recent releases.

There are two films which bear this title; the one that is of interest here is the time travel film in which H. G. Wells creates a time machine and Jack the Ripper uses it to escape to the twentieth century.

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Time Bandits

This earlier Gilliam foray into time travel (before 12 Monkeys) is a bit of magical fantasy.  The travels of the dwarfs are problematic, because they do not have a moment of origin in time--they are supernatural beings coming from outside space and time and using the "holes in time" to get around.  This makes their effects on time rather difficult to interpret.  However, once they pick up the boy, his movements through time will have specific traceable effects.  Again, I haven't seen this film in too many years, and can't address details at this time.

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The Langoliers

I've never seen this film.  I'm given to understand that a group of travelers somehow lands fifteen minutes behind normal time, and discovers that the past is being consumed by creatures of some sort.  I guess I'll have to see it, because it seems silly to me.  Meanwhile, I don't consider this to be time travel--if it were true, time travel would be impossible.  It does fit with our intuitions about time, in that if it is true then the future does not exist yet and the past does not exist anymore; but the way this is achieved makes no sense to me temporally, as it seems to say that the past does exist, but is completely different from our experience.

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Time Cop

I have raved and ranted about this film (including the text below), but have finally decided to give it a review.  That analysis is now ready and being posted.  Keep an eye on The Examiner Connection for the release of individual installments.

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Clockstoppers

This film pretends to be about time, but is not consistent with itself.  It uses the popular science fantasy notion of accelerated molecules, but calls it hypertime.  I'm of the notion that it does not involve any time travel at all.

It should also be noted that it is inconsistent in other ways.  For example, the scene in which they are causing their friend to dance is completely unacceptable, for a variety of reasons:

It is also tremendously unclear how objects interact with them.  They drive cars at hyperspeed.  At what point have the cars been accelerated?

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The Time Machine

The 1960 George Pal version of the H. G. Wells classic has finally been included, and can be found through The Examiner Connection.

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Groundhog Day

People write to ask me about this all the time; and my best answers are first that there is insufficient information to do a full analysis, and second that I think it likely that the film 12:01 happened on Groundhog Day, and that the stars of these two films were for different reasons able to remember the repetition of the day.

In any event, whatever the cause of the anomaly, it is clear that Bill Murray's character is caught in a sawtooth snap; the same day keeps repeating, but because he is aware of it he is able to make changes.  For some reason we never discover, that repetition comes to an end.

It is because we can't determine why it ends that the film defies analysis.  We can observe that the anomaly occurs, and that's about it.

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12:01

This was a made for TV movie that has since been released on video tape; Martin Laundau and, I think, Helen Slater, were both in it.  I saw it on television when it was new.  For the longest time I kept calling this 11:59; I got the time wrong.

I often say that this film is the explanation for Groundhog Day; it also creates a Sawtooth Snap, in which one person is aware of the repeat of the day.  In this case, our hero actually finds the cause of the repetition (Landau's project) and resolves it.  It's a good film in this regard, as I recall, and I'll probably attempt to analyze it sometime.

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The Philadelphia Experiment

The original of this film has now been analyzed and posted; the analysis of the sequel has been completed and is in the queue awaiting its turn to post.

There is a third film under this title, which is a remade for television version.  I have not seen it, and do not presently intend to do so.

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Disney's The Kid

Bruce Willis' other time travel movie is a delightful fantasy about growing up and knowing who you are; it's a terrible time travel movie.  We never understand why or how anyone moves through time, except that it's somehow connected to this magical diner which appears here and there.  It is also not explained why, if as a child he came forward in time and met himself, he as an adult does not remember having done it.  It appears that his older self helps his younger self cope with life, actually stepping back into his own past to give him the encouragement he needs to overcome some obstacle.  There is also a yet older self who buzzes around in a crop duster, trying to tell us that everything will be all right eventually.

Even under loose scrutiny, this film starts to fall apart temporally.  Mercifully, that's not it's point.  Suffice it that it could never happen, and leave it at that.

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Black Knight

This movie was actually better than I anticipated.  That is not entirely due to the fact that the cover led me to anticipate a slapstick adaptation of Connecticutt Yankee.  The film has some good moments.  In the end, they try to sell us the notion that the entire story has been the dreams of the main character as paramedics attempt to revive him from a drowning accident; and yet they also try to leave it open as to whether that's right or not.  As goofy an ending as that is, it proves better than trying to figure out the timelines of it as reality.

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Just Visiting

This adaptation of a French film is a lot of fun, and the French actor who carries off the lead is quite believable in the role of the nobleman.  It's mostly comic, drawn in large part on the displaced medieval duo in the modern world.  Some of it is on the edge of disgusting, such as having them wash up in the toilet because of how clean it seems, and eating the minty urinal freshener.  Overall, it does an excellent job of giving us the feeling of men out of time.

It does not do at all well with the time travel part.  A disaster at a dinner has the nobleman slated for execution, and his wizard attempts to save him by sending him back to fix the problem--but the spell is interrupted, and the nobleman is instead propelled forward hundreds of years.  Here he happens to meet his own descendant, who is considering selling the ancestral property.  At this point we should shudder.  The man has been ripped out of time, unmarried and childless.  He has no descendants.  He won't have them until he returns.  Thus we can't be seeing the AB timeline; he must already have lived through some sort of modern world adventures that don't include his great-great-greater granddaughter.  Once he returns to the past and repairs the damage, then he can have children who begin the chain that leads to her.

It is further complicated by the nature of the magic.  The wizard ultimately sends the nobleman back to a moment before the disaster (a potion substituted for his wine, which is given to his bride by mistake), where he displaces himself.  Now, I'm not certain why he displaced himself in the final scene but not in the first trip.  Shouldn't he appear inside his own crypt?  The use of time travel is thus inconsistent; if he can travel to a point after his life would have ended and appear in a place without reference to the location of his corpse, then when he travels back he ought to temporally duplicate himself, such that there are two of him in the room.  That doesn't happen.  Perhaps of more serious consequence, in avoiding the disaster, he also derails the entire chain of events.  He will not be arrested and held pending execution; his wizard will not accidentally send him to the distant future; he will not help his descendant; he will not return to abort the disaster; and so the disaster will happen.

However, the film is certainly worth seeing, if only for the moment when the wizard pulls himself together.

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My Science Project

Someone mentioned this film, and I said I didn't think I'd seen it; but when they started to describe it to me, suddenly it started to come back.  It has not come back nearly well enough for me to know even whether it's really a time travel story, but I'm going to have to hunt it down and find out.

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Run, Lola, Run

I have seen this film.  I expect some would call it an excuse for showing a lot of footage of a buxom blonde bouncing along at a quick jog, but I don't think it's as bad as that.  However, I do not think it is a time travel movie.  It is a film about assessing and making choices, and where these take you.  As such, I don't expect to add it to this site.

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La Jetée

This is the film which inspired 12 Monkeys, and as such I get questions about it periodically.  I broke down and ordered a copy, and the analysis is now available through The Examiner Connection.

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Primer

Primer is the first film to be discussed in the new series at The Examiner.  The serialized articles are indexed on the page here entitled The Examiner Connection.

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Butterfly Effect

The analysis of this film is now available at The Examiner, and you can find the entries indexed here on my site and also on theirsButterfly Effect 2 and Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations have also joined it.

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Lake House

This one is now available on The Examiner, and you can follow the series through the indices here on this site or on that one.  I understand it is possible to subscribe to the series there.

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Premonition

Sandra Bullock's other time travel movie (she is in Lake House has her living fragments of her life out of sequence.  This is another that someone gave me so that I would have the chance to analyze it, and it is now available at The Examiner and indexed here.

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Next

A fan of the site gave provided a copy of this one for me, and it made it to The Examiner.  As anticipated, the temporal element is that the hero can see a few seconds into the future and change what is about to happen, putting it in Minority Report terms of some sort of psychic probable future.

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Timeline

This film was something of a disappointment, but it has made it to The Examimer.

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Bender's Big Score

This one is also posted at The Examiner and indexed here.  It was more interesting than anticipated, although far from a great time travel film.

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The Last Mimzy

With thanks to John "A1nut" Cross (who wrote the analysis of The Final Countdown), this film has been analyzed and posted to The Examiner.  An episode index appears here on my site and also on theirs.

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Time Rider  The Adventure of Lyle Swann

I saw most of this film decades ago, channel surfing into it somewhere in the middle.  I caught enough to see the major flaws in that the time traveler becomes his own grandfather and gives his grandmother the medalion she left to him, but I have not had a copy in hand to examine in more detail than that.  It is definately a good example of problems in predestination paradoxes.

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Land of the Lost

I was asked to cover this movie, but it's not a time travel movie--more a Journey to the Center of the Earth or Island of Dr. Moreau parody, in which the heroes travel to a place somewhere else in the world where creatures from the past are still alive now.  Those can be fun, but the Brendan Fraser Journey was better and funnier (or at least I enjoyed it considerably more).

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2046

Despite plot summaries which suggest otherwise, this is not a time travel movie.  It is a slow-paced exploration of the relationships and sexploits of a writer, in Chinese with some Japanese dialogue, subtitled in English and Spanish, laced with supposedly keen insights into human interactions.  It happens that the writer finds success in creating what is apparently a series of stories based on a world he calls 2046, to which people go seeking something stable in their lives, and from which they almost never leave.  It is a futuristic world, and in his imagination he often visits it, which we see played on the screen, but mostly to use as metaphors for his own situation (as asking whether the android based on his landlord's daughter loves him or not).  Many of his readers think that 2046 is a year in the future, but it is actually the number of a hotel room in which he had a lingering love affair, and becomes the metaphor for that place of being in love.  Nothing is really about the future, and no one either goes to or returns from any other time; it does tell events out of sequence, but only because he tells them as they become relevant to revealing all of this.

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More Movies

At present, new film analyses are being serialized at The Examiner.  I have been indexing the new releases on a page on this site called The Examiner Connection, and they have kept a parallel index in my author profile there.  Films I am planning or hoping to analyze in the foreseeable future are listed at the end of the index page here; since that list will be in flux, it will be easier to refer the reader there than attempt to maintain two current listings.

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