The Top 10 Best and Worst Time Travel Methods

Too often in Hollywood films, time travel is just a cheap stunt to get characters to a setting where they wanted the film to take place (e.g. Star Trek IV where the screenwriters had the great idea to have Kirk and crew walk around in 1980s America, they only needed some quick way to make it happen!)  Other times, Hollywood plays time travel smart, coming up with ingenious ways to alter the flows of time.  These are the ten best and worst methods dreamed up by Hollywood to make time travel possible.

For the Best Time Travel Movies, click here.

For the Worst Time Travel Movies, click here.

 

01
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Back to the Future

The Best!

Back to the Future is the high-water mark for Hollywood time travel films.  It doesn't get much more classy (or inventive) than a Delorean time machine!  Easily the winner of the best Hollywood time machine of all time.

02
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X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Worst!

The method of time travel?  Professor X does some sort of mind-meld with Kitty Pryde, who has the ability to phase through walls, and now - quite out of nowhere except the needs of the script - also the power to "phase" through time.  These two together are able to affect time travel.  Wow!  How useful!  You'd think there would have been plenty of moments in the past when they would want to have used this trick, since it's so readily available to the both of them!  Again, the scriptwriters decided that only Wolverine could go back in time, because of his healing factors, because - you know - time travel tears your body apart, right.  This is expediency at its worst, a hastily written method, pulled out of thin air, to get Wolverine back in time for our story.  (In all fairness, this is also from the people that keep screwing up the continuity in the X-Men films, so maybe it's not surprising they came up with such a dumb method.)  With writing this bad, not sure this deserves to be on the top money earning super heroes list.

03
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Hot Tub Time Machine

The Best!

If Back to the Future has the top spot for best time machine, then this film surely wins the second best slot for making a magic hot tub as a time machine!  Of course, it's a hot tub!  Ingenious!

04
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Superman

The Worst!

When Lois Lane dies and Superman is overwhelmed by the need of so many humans simultaneously requiring his help, he decides to just fly backwards around the planet.  Not just once, but super fast, and a bunch of times.  This, of course, makes the Earth spin backwards in its orbit.  Forget all about tidal waves and gravity and the destruction this would cause, in the first Superman film, it only makes the Earth go backwards.  And we all know what happens when the Earth moves backwards...time moves backwards too!  The first Superman film is one of the best all-time superhero films, but this is one dumb moment. (At least, knowing Superman can time travel whenever he wants to might explain why Superman Returns was able to just ignore the third and fourth films in the franchise...he just used time travel!)

05
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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

The Worst!

Sort of like Superman going around the planet real fast, in the fourth Star Trek film they say that going around the Sun real fast can just sling-shot you into the past.  If that's true, then why wouldn't that just be a thing that's constantly done, not just by the Federation, but by all space faring species?  The Klingons don't like the way a battle turned out, they could just fly around the sun a bunch.  You can imagine all these spaceships just constantly flying around the sun to try and change the past.  At least, subsequent Star Trek films involving time travel (Star Trek: First Contact and the Star Trek reboot) used wormholes or naturally occurring cosmic phenomenon - that you don't question and say, "Oh, sure, a wormhole, that makes sense."

06
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Time Bandits

The Best! 

In this Terry Gilliam-directed cult classic, the Time Bandits, a misfit crew of dwarves that work for God and stole his map to the Universe and have been on the run ever since, use what are essentially trap doors made by God to transverse the multi-verse.  One of which happens to be in the bedroom of Kevin, a young British boy that accidentally ends up traveling through time with them on their adventures.  I don't think it gets much more creative than this.

07
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The Butterfly Effect

The Worst!

The time machine used in this film?  None at all!  Ashton Kutcher simply reads his journals and travels back in time, up and down the time stream of his own life.  It's like some junior high kid fantasized about time travel and said to himself, "Wow!  That would be cool if I just thought about it, and I travelled through time!  I'm going to write a movie about this!" 

08
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Source Code

The Worst!

Jake Gyllenhaal plays an Army Captain from Afghanistan that awakes to find himself on a train, replaying the same moments before an explosion over and over.  As it turns out, he's not really in that moment, but just in a simulation run by a computer...but somehow, this actually affects time travel, itself.  There's an attempt to explain it here, where it says that the computer code (the "Source Code") is putting Jake's mind in another man's body - how this is able to be done in the past, and how a computer can just put a man's brain in a stranger's body (a stranger who isn't even hooked up into any computer but is a random guy on a train) makes no sense.  I honestly think they made this whole thing up and we're just trying to see if anyone would catch on that it made no sense.  They'd have been better off just saying it's a time machine made by scientists with a red button that says, "Activate for time travel."