Honest Time Travel?

On Tuesday I hung out with some of the Screen Junkies folks who you may know from the hilarious “Honest Movie Trailers” web series (seriously, if you’ve not seen any of them, please go right now and have a look). We had a fun chat about time travel in movies, and presenter Hal Rudnick and I bonded over various movies old and new. The final version of the show is up on YouTube (embed below), and I’m bummed that I did not get to meet the other guest, Christina Heinlein (JPL), who seems fun – and is a descendant of, yes, that Heinlein. I love the idea that she works at JPL, helping make possible the space exploration that Robert Heinlein helped inspire us all about in his writing. Anyway, enjoy the short piece (I wish you could see a bunch of the other material too… we really had a great chat about the ins and outs of time travel, but a lot of it inevitably ended up not making the cut…)

I could not resist talking about my view of this (perhaps growing) trend of using time travel as a means of resetting movie franchises (see Star Trek, X-Men…). It’s a great way of repairing writing and other filmmaking wrong turns. Feel free to imagine your own version of this – Star Wars anyone? Another pass at those first three episodes? Or… Hobbit perhaps? (Smaug sends Bilbo back in time to the opening scenes of the first Hobbit film and we get a better – shorter and with less obviously cynical milking of the source material for our ticket money!- version, etc…)

In a related post, you can also have a read of a report I did on my Cinefamily chat with Shane Carruth, the writer-director of Primer, one of my favourite time travel films.


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11 Responses to Honest Time Travel?

  1. Amy says:

    Cool!!! I love the Screen Junkies videos and this one is particularly fun.

  2. Platohagel says:

    Funny and interesting time travel summations……good job. Interesting the number of movies talked about, got me thinking about the number of authors. Currently reading Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter’s, Time’s Eye Book odyssey.


  3. Rob J says:

    “I just explained how that works.” Loved it.

    I get a feel from his style that Hal should be a correspondent for The Daily Show. Have you ever been on The Daily Show, or Colbert? I guess you have to write a book first. Which… you probably have, I’m not sure. Sorry for not doing my homework. Er, rather, my dog ate it.

    Nice work, Dr Johnson, thanks for sharing the piece.

  4. Clifford says:

    Amy, Rob J and Platohagel,



  5. platohagel says:

    You make an interesting comment to me.

    While giving the current status of Time Travel in relation to how it is seen in the movies, you were talking about Wolverine and what is in his mind? At Approx 5:38 there is reference to the psychology of. Are there somehow possible different rules for psychology?:) Respecting the science and the recognition of time dilation, I wonder if it would be bad science to say that psychology might have different rules?:) The Science of Consciousness…..is there such a thing?


  6. Clifford says:


    The idea is that all those films are largely from his point of view, so that makes it easier to change events, by travelling internally through his perspective, which is essentially what they do. I don’t have anything more to say beyond what I said there in the excerpt. Feel free to make your own interpretations, of course!



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