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Methods Of Time Travel In Movies, Ranked By How Much You'd Want To Use Them

Updated January 23, 2020 675 votes 63 voters 1.3k views20 items

List RulesVote up the most enjoyable ways to travel through time.

The concept of time travel has captivated scientists for centuries, along with theories about different types of time travel. It's no wonder we're so fascinated by time travel - after all, how amazing would it be to go back in time and change the darker parts of your past, or be able to glimpse the future? But as we've learned from various science fiction stories, altering timelines can have dire consequences. Would you time travel if it were real, risking all the potential paradoxes? What would you alter, and what would you leave the same?

This intrigue has permeated the public imagination and pop culture, making its way into countless movies over the years. There are as many different time travel methods in film as there are movies about time travel. Some have horrific side effects (brain damage among them), while others are as comfortable as hopping into a DeLorean or a hot tub. From mutant powers and quantum realms in the MCU, to time-traveling cars and journals, to invasive inventions in Primer and 12 Monkeys, which methods of time travel would you choose?

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  • How Do You Travel? In a tricked-out DMC DeLorean.

    Are There Unfortunate Side Effects? Not immediately, but if you happen to run into your parents in the past, you may end up erased from existence.

    How Comfortable Is It? Some DeLorean models come equipped with leather seats, making this one of the smoother time-traveling options.

    Is It One-Way? Only if you run out of fuel.

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  • How Do You Travel? By twisting a magical charm on a necklace.

    Are There Unfortunate Side Effects? No. However, you can only stay in the past for five hours, or you risk harming yourself and/or your timeline.

    How Comfortable Is It? As comfortable as wearing a piece of jewelry.

    Is It One-Way? No, but time-turners can get caught in time loops that render them useless (see: Battle of the Department of Mysteries).

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  • The Time Machine
    Photo: MGM

    How Do You Travel? In a stylish steampunk contraption comprised of a couch, gear shift, and spinning things.

    Are There Unfortunate Side Effects? No, but if you have a reason for making a time machine, that creates a paradox preventing you from being able to change that event, and something-something... Okay, somehow the paradoxes in this film make less sense than the ones in Hot Tub Time Machine.

    How Comfortable Is It? As comfortable as sitting on a leather sofa. It may get a bit windy at times.

    Is It One-Way? Only if it breaks - or, say, the owner chooses to destroy it on purpose.

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  • How Do You Travel? By looping a spaceship around the sun. 

    Are There Unfortunate Side Effects? No. You just have to survive the whole "getting close to the sun" thing.

    How Comfortable Is It? As comfortable as the spaceship being used, and the HMS Bounty looks like it's pretty comfortable. 

    Is It One-Way? No, but if you take on extra mass - say, by picking up a few humpback whales and some ocean water - it can make going around the sun more difficult to pull off.

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