Warning! Warning! This following discussion contains extensive reference to About Time along with other related movies and novels, contains minor spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk…
So it was valentine’s this Thursday and I thought there’s no better time to talk about Romance in Sci-Fi or more specifically how the concept of Time Travel has been used countless times in emotional movies about love, live and generally things you go to see with your girlfriend or wife during the week leading up to valentine’s day. When looking back at many movies, I’m not much of a Romantic movie guy here at The Galaxy Wide Sci-Fi Guide but there are many instances where Time Travel isn’t just used as a way to look at how history can be changed and the consequences of using it. The concept of Time Travel can also be used to tell a story of how it effects the users, how their love-life and relationships can be effected and how every little effect on history, will effect you directly. So come with me, jump into your time machine and join us on this special occasion as we look at Romantic Time Travel movies.
The first of these movies I would like to mention is the movie About Time, the story about a man who has the genetic ability to time-travel. You may be thinking first this would be more magical then Science Fiction and I would agree but what is really special is how they use time travel to tell this full person story of a man (played by Domhnall Gleeson) that once he hits the age of 21 can travel through his time-line with the power of thought. He of course uses this as a way to make his life better such as by helping to get a girlfriend/wife (played by Rachel McAdams) and by changing events in his past for the best possible outcome. Basically he can only change his own history, not the events around him or go back into big events in history.
This helps to make an interestingly simple time travel story into something more unique and personal. Instead of the entire world changing from going back in time, it only effects him and his family. An example of this can be seen in how he tries to save his sister from a bad relationship which eventually leads to her getting in a car crash. Going back and changing what happens instead leaves his surroundings changed.
The sorroundings or more specifically are changed according to his family or more specifically his child who becomes an entirely different person. This is due to how the circumstances of how the child’s conception was changed. Because this was done at a different time, the child was different, they were a different set of genes from a different sperm. This is one of the moments that it shows more specifically. He then decides its best to bring back his original child, his baby daughter but that means he must go back and reset everything back to how it was and put his sister back in the toxic-relationship that lead her to get into the crash.
There are also lighter examples where time-travel is used such as to impress girls or even pick the best person to be his best man at his wedding but everything he changes brings another form of wish forfillment and make better choices and fix mistakes that he made. Go back to old memories and events the main character experiences. In the end About Time is a time-travel movie that doesn’t use the concept to show how changing time effects the world and our timeline but about appreciating the time we have and the decisions we make.
Every second can change something in our past or that we may regret in the future. The children we have, the way we live our lives, the moments we have, they are all dicated by small decisions we make personally and in the end, it’s important to appreciate the little time we have on this planet, in the mundane, the small stuff that means so much more then we think it does. What the character chooses to do with his ability in the end is to change the past but repeat the day to appreciate every second of it.
Whilst the movie is a Romantic Drama, it has a great commentary on how we use the little time we have and uses the time-travel to do this. Whilst you probably couldn’t call this a traditional sci-fi by any regard, I can even say this as a person that doesn’t care for this specific genre of film (being feel food Rom-Coms). This isn’t a masterpiece or anything but it uses the concept in an incredibly deep and emotional way. It looks at the choices we make, when we think we just want to go back and change things but in the end, it’s really about living in the present, appreciating the world and people around you in the best and worst of times that make life a small adventure because those are the little moments that make life worth living.
Whilst you can say it is a niche genre sure, there aren’t many movies that are do this type of thing but in many ways, it is a unique way to tell a story using the Time Travel concept without making it feel overdone or convoluted like can be felt in recent Time-travel Sci-Fi. I was going to mention Donnie Darko for the 100th time with how the concept is used in the Time Traveler’s Wife (although I haven’t seen it and wasn’t feeling it this week) but when writing this post, I felt it as unnecessary to touch on these films. There’s enough to talk about in About Time, even as a romantic movie funnily enough, it actually had a lot to say whilst using the concept as a catalyst of that. The film captures greatly how to make time-travel to feel personal and use it for other genres.
You can say it’s overdone in Sci-Fi but the main problem isn’t that but doing something unique and interesting with it. The movie has a message and story and builds upon both tropes of time-travel and romantic movies to build a very decent and personal film about life and how to use your time well. Time is used as a concept to give an interspective look and when I was originally forced to watch it a few years ago, I was actually really surprised with it. It’s not just another time-travel movie or romance movie but combines the genres into one big pot and does something unique and interesting with it.
And with that final note, that’s plenty from me today on this first and probably last valentine’s special. I thought it would be interesting to talk about how Time Travel has been used in romantic films like About Time or even to enhance romantic and personal elements like in Donnie Darko. I thought it would be better for analysis to break down this one film because surprisingly it actually has interesting stuff to say about life and appreciating the time we have. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, fellow future thinkers. Let me know in the comments below…
Sometime because I can’t keep a fucking schedule, it’s for a sequel baby as I look again at Sci-Fi Comedy, this time in the world of animation with Futurama and Rick and Morty. I will also hopefully be posting my review on Old Man Logan and my first review of an independent Sci-Fi creation as soon as possible (I mean it, they will be up soon). Stay tuned for that next week, fellow future thinkers and until next time…
Michael McGrady, Signing Off.