Published on May 15th, 2019 | by voxx0
Does time travel ruin a story?
Time travel – A gimmick rarely seen as an absolute win, with confusing plot holes appearing more often than holes in cheese, it’s a trope that can cause so much destruction that it’s almost fascinating. Some of the greatest films involve time travel, and yet even the good examples continue to be heavily flawed. So as a whole, should scripts stay away from time travel?
Be warned of spoilers ahead, and the chance of a timely headache.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
‘Back to the Future’ totally works as a single film, almost to a perfect standard, with amazing writing and characters, established rules, a great soundtrack and of course an iconic yet simple story. I love this film and indeed the trilogy as a whole, but it’s in the sequels we begin to see issues, with the timeline of the second film making no sense. The issues are small, but still there. How does Biff return to the 2015 future? I mean, he steals the machine, changes the past, and yet he still returns to the original future. How does that work? Just something to think about.
The first two ‘Terminator’ films are safe, establishing their time travelling rules in a similar way to ‘Back to the Future’, but this quickly falls once the other films start appearing. In ‘Terminator’, the rule is that time travel will have always been the result, like Kyle always being John’s father, like T800 always leading to the creation of SkyNet. This is fair enough, until other films and TV shows completely destroy this concept. In the ‘Sarah Connor Chronicles’ the timeline can be pushed back and halted. In ‘Salvation’ it says that SkyNet always knew Kyle was John’s father. This creates far more questions than answers, and my God, let’s never even mention ‘Genisys’. ‘Genisys’ itself creates so many questions, alternate timelines, plot threads that go nowhere, and it attempts to reinvent things with overlapping plot points. Merely talking about it makes my head hurt.
Latest release ‘Avengers Endgame’ probably makes the best use of time travel by focusing on the multiverse theory, similar to that in Dragonball. This theory suggests that every change made creates a different universe or timeline rather than affecting your single future, meaning you can travel back with no changes to your own life. Though this is a good way to handle the concept, I still however have issues with Captain America’s ending story arc. I love what his story means to the Marvel universe and his character, but what happened with him returning to the present timeline as an old man? If he created a separate timeline, how is he there in the main future? If he stayed in the main universe undercover all this time this would be out of character, as he wouldn’t have stopped Hydra or prevented the events seen in Ant-Man’s flashbacks.
As a whole time travel is messy, very messy. Even with the best examples of time travel in action, it can still create an infinite amount of plot holes for a story. Other franchises like ‘X-Men’ and ‘The Flash’, for example, create issues that seriously hold them back. The rules are so loose and yet so focused that it makes it hard to enjoy them anymore. If you plan to write time travel, you have be sure your rules are strictly followed. Time travel will often hurt a story, though thankfully in some cases the story can still be saved.
- By Samuel Wood