Ranking the time machines

Posted by David Konow

Looper, which garnered positive reviews and strong buzz when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, is the latest movie with time travel as a central theme. 

When rating time machines, it’s too bad there are no real time machines that can be purchased via Sharper Image or ranked in Popular Mechanics. But until we come up with that technology, the fantasy cinematic ones will have to do, and that’s just what the site GiantFreakinRobot did.

Although it looks like something out of a Las Vegas casino because of the "roulette wheel," most geeks are familiar with the time machine from the classic movie of the same name. As GFR notes, "The design  from George Pal’s 1960 film will always be the definitive version of the machine for me."

We’re also all familiar with the DeLorean from Back to the Future, which is such a loveable, Absent Minded Professor style contraption, it wins points just for its clunky charm. Like the Millennium Falcon, it may not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts.

Two Star Trek time machines made the list, The Guardian of Forever from the "The City on the Edge of Forever" episode, and the Klingon Bird of Prey from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Quite a few other TV time machines made the list, including the TARDIS from Doctor Who, the only forward time machine from Futurama, the island / frozen donkey wheel from Lost, and the accelerator from Quantum Leap.

We’ve also got to say that as clever as it is to put a time machine in a British police box with Doctor Who, it was also hilariously clever to turn a hot-tub into one in Hot Tub Time Machine.

Along with attaining geek icon status, the Back to the Future DeLorean was one of the best sight gags in cinema history, especially considering that car looked so cheesy, even by mid-eighties standards.

So what time machine would you choose if you could pick from any of these?

I’m not sure myself, because even though I’m not afraid to fly, I’m not sure I’d trust being in a time machine. Maybe this is from seeing what happened in The Fly, or the scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the kid’s particles were broken up and blasted through the air. Personally, I think I’ll wait until time travel’s an every day occurrence at LAX before I decide what’s the best way to fly into the future, or back into the past.