We previously looked at (Some of) The best time travel movies you might have missed, and commented that there were many categories within the subject that might be included. We have since added (Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies for Children and (Some of) The Best Time Travel Romance Movies. This time we're going to name a few comedies--not all of them perhaps so funny, but all having some following, whether or not deserved. Thus we offer a quick look at a batch of (Some of) The best time travel comedies. They are roughly ordered with the best for last, although everyone will disagree on one point or another.
We were reluctant to analyze this, because it was not a theatrical release and once we start breaking our rules someone is going to find a reason for us to analyze something we have excluded from consideration. However, we were told that there was a strong fan base for this, so we gave it a shot. Our analysis is here.
I'm afraid I find most television comedy too stupid to be funny; I wanted to enjoy Futurama, and for the first few episodes it was tolerable and even humorous in spots. The notion that Fry hated being a delivery boy and always thought he was made for something better until they tested him and told him it was the ideal job for him, when he embraced it whole-heartedly, was clever. Ultimately, though, the characters and the plots began to grate on me, falling into the same category as other popular cartoons of the time--Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, South Park, Beevis and Butthead, material written to appeal to the basest audience. I gave it up, and was therefore the more reluctant to watch the movie. Thus when I say that it was tolerable, I'm saying that I was able to watch it without being completely disgusted and revolted. It was still a stupid movie; it appeals to that segment of the audience that thinks watching stupid people do stupid things is funny, a segment from which I am excluded.
That said, there were some interesting experiments in time travel theory. Most of them were absurd and impossible, but they were thereby at least a bit thought-provoking. The truly literate time travel movie fan should probably watch it--once.
More tolerable, and barely more intelligent, Hot Tub Time Machine (our analysis here) is a classic "if I could do it over again" film, in which three grown men return to who they were at a high school graduation ski trip, taking along the son of a girl they knew back then. It is at times uproariously funny, if you get past the sex and drugs, and it posits some very interesting time travel ideas. Ultimately it is a temporal disaster, but it is a good story well worth watching.
The Bill and Ted movies are regarded classics by their fans, and they are at least humorous, although again we have some of the idiot comedy notion--that it is supposed to be funny to watch stupid people do stupid things. If you like that kind of thing, you will probably enjoy their escapades through time. The movies are very different, in temporal terms, but hold together as a theme and the second does not suffer much from being a sequel. Again, we have some very clever ideas, particularly in the notion that if the time traveler manages to survive whatever happens he can return from the future and leave things for his younger self to find so as to improve his chance of survival. The analyses of both the Excellent Adventure and the Bogus Journey have long been here on the original site.
This was surprisingly not a turkey, but a fun animated romp with a strong cast voicing turkeys trying to prevent themselves from becoming the main item on the Thanksgiving menu. It is challenging as a time travel movie, doing several clever things that cause us to think about what might be possible, but it is primarily a family/children's movie. A decent 2014 film, I would expect to see it as Thanksgiving approaches again, probably as a television special somewhere. Our analysis is here, and manages to make most of it work with a few assumptions and some careful considerations.
Rowan Atkinson's Edmund Blackadder is a different kind of humor, much of it built on invective and ridiculous situations. These situations are made ridiculous when his end-of-the-millennium version of the character (whose ancestors have existed in major periods of British history for centuries) has his idiot servant build a time machine following blueprints in a da Vinci notebook--and discovers when he attempts to con his friends in a bet that it actually works, getting them lost in time, interacting with Robin Hood, William Shakespeare, a Roman Legion, the Duke of Wellington, and others. It pokes fun at other time travel stories (the machine looks remarkably like a medieval version of a TARDIS) and generally does the ridiculous--and ultimately fails ridiculously as a time travel story, although it is quite entertaining. It is a film worth watching again. Our analysis is here.
This has all the marks of a horror film, and would be one were it not for the part of the main character Ash, brilliantly portrayed by Bruce Campbell, who blunders through a battle against the undead using a couple of modern weapons in a medieval milieu. It is technically a sequel (although whether it is the second or third movie in the series is argued by its fans), but it works well as a stand-alone, giving us as much information about the story to this point as we need. I enjoyed this movie enough that I modeled a game world situation after it, and I am not a horror movie fan. It is light-hearted enough to cover the horror, and a lot of fun. You'll find my analysis on the old site.
Star Trek fans all have their own favorite movies from the show, and this is probably mine. (Although I confess to having thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek (2009), much of that enjoyment arose from how brilliantly those actors captured the characters created in the original series.) It is a great caper picture, in which the key members of the original cast (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scottie, Uhuru, Sulu, Chekov) travel to their past, the year of the film's release, on a quest to take two whales to the future because they are needed there. The time travel method is nonsense, but focusing on the time travel story there is much to praise and much to enjoy. There is some of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy interaction that made the original cast so much fun (although Star Trek V captured that better) and the fun of future persons out of time in our world is well done. Even if you are not a Star Trek fan, this one is worth seeing as a time travel comedy. Our temporal analysis is on the old site.
Will Smith once said that the thing that makes the Men In Black film franchise funny is that Tommy Lee Jones plays it as if it is not, that it is completely serious and real at all times. That treatment of the ridiculous as perfectly normal carries through this story, as Smith's character J has to travel back in time because an alien villain has killed Jones' character K sometime in the past, distorting history. There are a lot of time travel questions unanswered here, but the story is exciting and fun, and the humor is solid. We analyzed it a few years back, and our analysis is here.
And the winner is....one of the funniest films I have seen happens to be a time travel film from England, in which three geeks fall into a time leak after one of them has met a time travel fixer from the future. Their adventures, and their efforts to return home, are a lot of fun, and not entirely impossible to resolve--except the end, when they manage to undo everything and yet at the same time don't. This is not an easy film to find, particularly in the United States, but it is worth the effort for any time travel fan looking for a good laugh. A detailed analysis is now here.
Those are the comedies time travel fans enjoy; it is hoped that you will enjoy some of them as well.