The Love Affair Between Movies and Time Paradoxes

Have you ever wished that you could turn back time? What are the moments in your life that you wanted to change or correct? But hold up a minute, think carefully because there might be consequences. At least that is what the movies have taught us.

The audience’s attachment to stories that feature time travel could be connected to how finite human life is. If there is a way for you to live in a moment for a longer time, you probably will take that chance. For now, there is no solid evidence of it being possible, but it is fun to dream about scenarios that may happen if it were true. You cannot dream up just about anything though, as you have to work around the different rules of the time paradoxes.

What is a Time Paradox?

How important is time for you? Here is something that you might be familiar with. If you have ever shopped for a house and taken a look at the different types of home loans you can get, you take into account the duration of the payment plan. Borrowing money is more than just knowing if you are capable of paying, but it is also about forecasting and making contingencies should unexpected events happen. It would surely be an interesting proposition if you are given the ability to go back and make some “adjustments” to your choices. You do not have complete liberty over what you do though, as there are certain rules that you have to follow. Otherwise, you will be put in a state of paradox.

When you watch a movie about time travel, it has its own set of rules with regard to how the fictional universe works. It multiple rules come into conflict with each other and throws you in a loop or a dead end, then that is called a paradox.

Grandfather Paradox

Many stories have existed that present differing views of how one can manipulate time. That means you get multiple paradoxes, and in film, there are two prominent ones: The Grandfather and the Predestination paradoxes.

The Grandfather paradox deals with one’s existence. If you are able to go back in time and get in contact with your eventual parents or grandparents, you may cause a rift in space and time. Whatever you do might alter the sequence of events leading to your conception. This is why you are advised to stay out of their sight, or else there is a big chance that you will just cease to exist.

This is a theme observed by the Back to the Future series of films. A popular scene involves the protagonist, Marty McFly, seemingly fighting off the advances of the past version of his mother.

The iconic sci-fi action series The Terminator also embraces this idea but in a broader sense. Its story is a constant struggle of man versus the AI system called Skynet. Both sides harness the power of time travel to go back and complete their respective missions to prevent future events. The humans want to stop Skynet from evolving into a transcendent state, and the machines want to terminate the people responsible for starting the resistance. It may not involve parentage, but it deals with altering the existence of a future major event by going back in time to eliminate the root cause of it.

Predestination Paradox


The Predestination paradox is a bit headier. This is where a timeline of events is seen as something that is predetermined. If you try to alter it by going to the past, you will then become the catalyst of the said events and you will be caught in a time loop. For example, you wake up one day being determined to come to work early. Along the way, someone bumped you off and injured you while you were walking, and this caused you to arrive late. You go back in time to try to catch that person who did that to you, but it turns out that while you were busy out there chasing someone, you pushed away another — yourself.

There are many films that show people trying to get out of a time loop, and there is something for everybody. If you like comedy, you will enjoy Groundhog Day. Fans of romantic films should be interested in seeing the German film Run, Lola, Run. For those who like a good scare, Happy Death Day will satisfy your cravings.

Can you really manipulate time? The answer to that remains to be seen. It is fun to imagine the many scenarios that can happen if you can travel to different points in your life. You will never know when your movie knowledge about time paradoxes will come in handy.

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