Written by Adrian Beiting
The manner in which most time travelers get from point A to point B (and sometimes C!) before returning to point A again are as varied as the adventures surrounding said temporal exploration. That is to say there’s no one way to go about the act of time travel, but that doesn’t make all time machines equals when it comes to the pleasures of the eye, or the imagination. Sterile, efficient and tidy, some machines do the job well but lack a degree of showmanship that nerds crave. Movies like Primer and Terminator 2 for example, as wonderful as they are, don’t exactly set the screen ablaze with their respective chrono-cheating methods: secret boxes hidden in storage and nude cyborg-transporting portals of rarely-seen origin.
Which brings us to today’s list: a celebration of time traveling devices that are as noteworthy for their visual flare as they are for their function, and in some cases, more so. These methods are preferable not because of their reliability (since in some cases, there isn’t any) but because they add a level of unparalleled cool to the whole time travel conundrum. Well, nerd-cool anyway. How’s that for a paradox? Read on!
10) Austin Powers’ VW Beetle
It’s easy to forget that all of Austin Powers’ cinematic adventures deal with time travel to some degree, and as a man who obviously takes his personal style very seriously, it only makes sense that one of his time travel vehicles of choice would be a colorful flower-powered VW Beetle. Beats cryogenics!
9) The Hot Tub Time Machine
The newest of these entries in stylish time travel is also the most ridiculous. But hey, since the thing isn’t real, we can’t fault it too much. The fact that traveling through time in this beer-soaked portal might involve getting hilariously smashed with your friends and a random guy in a bear suit doesn’t hurt its chances either.
8) H.G. Wells’ Time Machine
Exactly how one might imagine a monocle-bearing gentleman of the 1800s to transcend the Fourth Dimension, the original time chariot still gets high marks for its brass & quartz steampunk aesthetics despite the droves of subsequent imitators, thus maintaining its classic status. There’s just something striking about a machine engineered for a trip to the future yet so obviously designed from the materials of the past.
7) Rufus’ Phone Booth
Yes, nothing quite smacks of late-eighties/early-nineties charm like Rufus’ red now-vintage time traveling phone booth. It’s just an awesome way to navigate years and help the similarly rad Bill and Ted fulfill their Wyld Stallyn destinies via the Circuits of History.
6) The Dagger of Time
Yeah, the movie might not have won the game series any new fans, but that doesn’t change that the Dagger of Time from The Prince of Persia is a super fashionable way to control chronology. The fact that it’s often integrated into The Prince’s fighting style as a kind of insta-rewind/slow-mo makes it even more noteworthy. Where was this this thing in our awkward college… er… high school years?
5) The Time-Turner
Portable, easy to use, run by magic, and decent neckwear, the Time-Turner is a time traveling girl’s best friend – just ask Hermoine, who used it to pack more classes into her already crammed schedule in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Doing more schoolwork would certainly be the first thing we’d do if we had one of these as well – ahem.
4) The Vortex Manipulator
Granted it could easily double for the leather armband flaunted by the boisterous alt-rock kid you remember from middle school, but on the wrist of Captain Jack Harkness, it gains a more dignified edge, as it compliments his more mature time traveler’s ensemble nicely. Captain Jack’s suspenders and loafers not included.
3) The Time Train
BttF III‘s Vernian locomotive rarely gets any love, and we don’t know why. Yes, it needed the DeLorean’s help to get Marty and Doc home on its maiden voyage, but after Doc Brown’s modifications, which included a face-lift to its exterior, the train became completely self-sufficient and even gained the ability to hover. Let us repeat that: it’s a cool-looking flying train from the old west that travels through time. We don’t think much more needs to be said. Well, besides that Doc Brown is the man in the most absolute way possible. There.
2) The TARDIS
The TARDIS is awesome in general. As the Doctor’s devotees know, it’s almost infinitely bigger on the inside than it appears to be from its exterior, essentially has unlimited time travel range and can camouflage itself to fit in with any surroundings. Of course, as fans are also aware, Doctor Who‘s TARDIS doesn’t always work quite right, and of its many quirks has its chameleon circuit stuck on “obsolete police box” encapsulating the charm of old-school London in the Time Lord’s travels.
1) The DeLorean DMC-12
Even Doc Brown knew his invention was one stylish stab at time travel: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” Just like the classic dreamt up by H.G. Wells, the DeLorean’s looks firmly anchor it in its own time (the 1980s) with its rising gull-wing car doors and sweet light-up interior controls. Its sports car pedigree also allows the vehicle to do things and go places other time machines can’t, and of course, it looks mighty fine doing it. If the flying car does finally arrive, here’s hoping it looks like Doc Brown’s invention.
Bonus: Your Childhood in 94 Seconds
Did you grow up in the late 90s? If so this video will certainly ring true for you. I know it had a good amount of my favorite things growing up. The best of which were pogs, The Secret World of Alex Mack (I had/have the biggest crush on Larisa Oleynik) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course there is quite an absence of things, like Pizza Rolls, roller blades or Kenan & Kel, but you can’t expect everything to fit into a minute and a half. What are your favorite things from your childhood? Now, watch… reminisce… repeat.(source)