This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is movies about time travel. This is a subject I already know pretty well so there was no way I could avoid getting involved with this one. The only trouble is going to be narrowing down the selection. I think my best bet is to find three different kinds of time travel, and work from there.
I've got three different ways the central character time travels, and for an added bonus, I've also managed to find three films that specifically center on travelling to the past, present, and future. Unfortunately at the present moment I've only got three male protagonists. I'll have to see if I can find any films centering on a female time traveler.
The Time Machine (1960)- Future
Hey, if we're going to discuss time travel, I have to include one of the earliest stories to deal with the subject. H.G. Wells (along with Jules Verne and Edgar Allen Poe) is considered one of the first pioneers of science fiction, and he was also the first to propose the idea of developing an apparatus with which to travel through time. Since then there have been two adaptations to film.
Don't bother with the 2002 version that makes up an overly elaborate backstory about how the main character built his time machine to save his girlfriend but encounters a paradox where he finds that no matter what he does she still ends up dead just for different reasons. The good version is the 1960 George Pal film, which has a slightly more optimistic tone than the book but still manages to remain faithful to Wells' vision of a dark future where humanity has in fact devolved into two very primitive species.
The Time Traveler's Wife (2008)- Present
Well, okay, technically he flops back and forth all over the place in this film,but the reason why I'm calling it present is because the protagonist never leaves his own timeline. We never see him wind up in the American Civil War or in the year 2246. If anything, the way he keeps jumping back and forth to different points in his life from his early childhood to shortly after his death it becomes very hard to label any specific moment as "past" or "future". Its all a disorienting experience with plenty of paradoxes (among other things he first encounters his wife at a point in her timeline where she already knows him). As River Song would say: "Spoilers".
Midnight in Paris (2011)- Past
Imagine you are an artist and you had a chance to go back in time to meet the people who inspired you. What would you say to them? What would you think of literally living in the past? This is the question posed by Woody Allen's comedy Midnight in Paris. We never get a full explanation how the time travel aspect of the story actually works: apparently if you wait in a certain spot past midnight, some sort of timey-wimey bubble opens up and allows a car from the 1930's to pick you up (and apparently this works in other periods, though the precise vehicle changes the further back you go). Don't worry about getting back, though, since you inexplicably find yourself returning to the present after an indefinite period of time spent in the past.