The Time Traveller's Wife (2009)
The Original: Slushy weepathon in which poor Rachel McAdams finds herself hopelessly in love with Eric Bana, who suffers from a rare condition in which he sporadically travels through time. It’s something to do with his genetics, you see, probably the result of some in-breeding somewhere in the family tree…
With Added Doc Brown: Great Scott! The Doc keeps cropping up like a seedy old pimp, as he tries to ensure that Bana and McAdams stay in the same time-zone long enough to create their young son. It’s “meant” to happen, otherwise the time-travelling gene will die out! And Doc Brown couldn’t have that now could he?
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: By ensuring the Time Traveller has a son, the probability of someone else mucking up the continuum rises by 100%. D’oh.
The Original: Shane Carruth’s shoestring thriller follows a pair of young scientists who accidentally discover time travel (as you do) whilst doing a bit of experimentation at home. At first they’re in seventh heaven, cheating the stock market and pocketing the cash, before coming over all moral and attempting to set things straight again. However, as any good time-traveller knows, setting things back to normal is easier said than done…
With Added Doc Brown: Irked that the boys have achieved by accident what he has spent years working on (without even bothering with any plutonium!), the Doc arrives to instruct the boys on how to reset time, only to send them years into the past and hog the glory for himself.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: The boys attempt to escape from the past by reinventing their time machine. With two now in existence, the continuum is soon thrown seriously out of whack…
The Terminator (1984)
The Original: Arnie plays one of the most badass time-travellers in movie history in the shape of the Terminator, a robot from the future programmed to wipe out waitress Sarah Connor, thus sealing the fate of humankind as a whole.
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc appears in place of Michael Biehn’s resistance fighter, repeatedly turning up in the nick of time to spirit Sarah off to safety. This is one occasion in which he’s happy to meddle with the timeline!
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Despite keeping Sarah safe, the Doc lacks Biehn’s general hunkiness, meaning Connor remains unwooed, and young John is never born. Thus, humanity is screwed anyway.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
The Original: A surprisingly grim slice of sci-fi hokum in which Ashton Kutcher finds himself transported back to various points in his childhood by reading extracts from his journal. However, when he attempts to remedy some of the more disturbing episodes in his formative years, he discovers that life could have turned out so much worse…
With Added Doc Brown: What Kutcher needs here is a firm hand on the shoulder to instruct him not to muck around with the past. The Doc’s mantra has always been to tread carefully during time travel: Kutcher on the other hand sets about trying to change as much as possible!
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: With the Doc’s input, those pesky journals are scrapped, and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, they carry on as normal without any of them ending up as prostitutes or paraplegics…
Army Of Darkness
The Original: Having accidentally opened up a temporal portal at the end of Evil Dead 2 (very easily done, you know), the luckless Ash finds himself stranded in 1300AD, where the locals are under attack from those pesky Deadites. Never one to shirk a task (unless there’s even the remotest chance he might get away with it), Ash fires up the chainsaw and sets about kicking evil arse.
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc gives Ash’s Oldsmobile a jump start, and with a bit of tinkering under the hood and the use of a spare bit of plutonium, the pair return to the present in their respective motors. Done and done.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Without Ash to lead the charge, humanity is defeated by the Deadite hordes, and our heroes return to a present full of the walking deceased. Bugger.
Donnie Darko (2001)
The Original: Jake Gyllenhaal plays the eponymous teen troubled by visions of a coming apocalypse, and stalked by a giant rabbit. Some jiggery-pokery involving a wormhole allows poor Donnie to avert the end of the world, but only after some considerable personal cost…
With Added Doc Brown: This is DB’s modus operandi: helping out-of-their-depth teens get to grips with the basics of time travel. However, with his trusty DeLorean on hand, there would be no need for Donnie to sacrifice himself, as he wouldn’t need the wormhole at all. We think. The end is kind of confusing…
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Actually, unless the Doc could somehow cram that falling jet engine into the DeLorean, this wouldn’t work at all. Donnie has to restore the fallen jet-engine to the original universe to avoid a “time corruption” that would cause the universe to collapse upon itself. That’s about as far as we’ll go in trying to pick this one apart!
The Jacket (2005)
The Original: Adrien Brody’s injured Gulf War vet is the unwilling subject of oddball doctor Kris Kristofferson’s temporal experiments, seeing frightening visions of the future and learning that he must de-rail his own timeline if he is to avoid a premature death…no pressure then.
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc busts Brody out of Kristofferson’s lab, and the pair embark on a madcap journey through space and time as they attempt to fine-tune Brody’s destiny and avert a sticky end.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: The Doc ends up with egg on his face after it emerges that Brody was somewhat scarred by his military experience, and becomes an anti-American terrorist. Oh well, you win some you lose some…
The Time Machine (2002)
The Original: This half-baked remake of the 1960 original (in turn adapted from the novel by H.G. Wells) follows inventor Guy Pearce as he attempts to change time to avert the murder of his wife. However, successfully building a time machine is only half the battle, as Pearce ends up hundreds of years in the future, caught in a conflict with the ape-like Morlocks and forced to share a screen with Samantha Mumba. Yikes!
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc turns up in the nick of time to whisk Pearce back to his Nineteenth Century home. The pair are about to embark on a project to avert the rise of the Morlocks, before they realise they’ll both be long dead before they come to power, making it someone else’s problem. Job done.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: None at all. Realising that the future is pretty seriously stuffed, the pair decide to leave well alone and make the best of life whilst they still can!
The Original: Van Damme’s highest-grossing film casts our high-kicking hero as a member of the Time Enforcement Commission, a regulatory outfit established tp prevent the misuse of time travel. However, when a crooked Senator starts threatening people’s ancestors in order to advance his own power, JCVD must do a bit of time-tinkering to thwart his evil plans.
With Added Doc Brown: Now that time-travel is widely used, the Doc’s DeLorean is kind of redundant. However, every proper action hero can always do with a zany sidekick, and Emmett finds himself tagging along to shout “Great Scott” whenever Van Damme performs the splits.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Van Damme finds himself having so much fun with his new partner, that he forgets to rescue his wife from being murdered. Fortunately he’s having too good a time to care…
Planet Of The Apes (2001)
The Original: Tim Burton’s “re-imagining” of the Chuck Heston classic casts Marky-Mark as a hapless spaceman who accidentally travels through time, crash-landing on a planet ruled by super-intelligent apes. After much monkey-business, Wahlberg manages to find his way home, only to find that the dastardly General Thade has beaten him to it…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc arrives on the Planet Of The Apes to tip off Wahlberg to Thade’s evil plans, thus allowing him to avert the film’s nonsensical ending. Seriously, it’s one of the worst twists ever…
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: By averting the aforementioned dud ending, the Doc inadvertently paves the way for a raft of new ape-sequels. Nooooo!
Dj Vu (2006)
The Original: Denzel Washington plays federal lawman Douglas Carlin who must attempt to avert a terrorist attack by employing an experimental time-travel programme. Cue all manner of explosive mayhem as Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer crank the adrenaline levels up to eleven…
With Added Doc Brown: Having had some dealings with terrorists in the past, the Doc uses his connections to work out who the bomber is. The film is thus finished in ten minutes flat leaving Bruckheimer with nothing to blow up. Boooo!
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Whilst one terrorist is wiped out, the Doc’s Libyan pals make a dramatic late appearance, detonating a dirty bomb in down town New Orleans that actually causes far more damage than the original atrocity Denzel was looking to stop. Curse your damned baggage Doc!
Lost In Space (1998)
The Original: Matt LeBlanc makes his bow as a bona fide movie star in this godawful big-screen adaptation of the classic intergalactic telly show. The plot involves a contrived bit of time-travel in which the Robinson family’s craft is sent hurtling through a wormhole by mean old Gary Oldman, putting them in danger from a race of spider-like creatures. Yawn.
With Added Doc Brown: Just as the mysterious planet the family have landed on is about to explode, the Doc arrives to whisk them all off to safety. All except LeBlanc of course, who is left behind to think about why he abandoned TV in the first place…we hope he’s learned his lesson.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: One of those nasty spiders manages to tag along for the ride, getting into the plutonium supply and causing the DeLorean to run out of juice halfway through it’s journey. Lost in space and time once again, the stage is set up nicely for a sequel. Urgh…
Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
The Original: A pair of “woah dude”-spouting teens use a time machine to round up a collection of historical figures in order to pass a high-school history class. Wouldn’t it just be easier to travel into the future, cheat on their exams, and pass that way? Apparently not.
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc helps the pair nip back and forth through time at their leisure, on the condition that he is allowed to join Wyld Stallyns as a guest vocalist. His version of Johnny B. Goode is the highlight of the film…
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Despite helping the boys to pass their class, the Doc’s involvement in Wyld Stallyns significantly dents the bands success, causing them to break up, and thus ruining Earth’s chances of achieving a Utopian society. Musical differences…always buggering things up aren’t they?
12 Monkeys (1995)
The Original: Convicted crim Bruce Willis is given a crack at redemption in Terry Gilliam’s post-apocalyptic thriller, agreeing to travel back through time in order to gather information on a lethal virus that has forced Earth’s population to live underground. However, the organisation he has his eye on as potential culprits might not be quite what they seem…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc supplies Bruce with a hoverboard in the film’s final moments, allowing him to nip past airport security with ease and wipe out the man responsible for the outbreak. That’s that downer ending taken care of…
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: As an additional bonus, the hoverboard becomes a must-have item, single-handedly reinforcing the global economy for years to come. Good work Doc!
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
The Original: The crew of the Enterprise travel back to 1986 (a popular destination for time-travellers apparently!) to deal with an alien probe that is blocking out Earth’s sun. Somewhat ludicrously, their plan involves a pair of hump-back whales. Not that the writers were running out of ideas or anything…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc lends a hand in helping the crew power-up the ailing Enterprise. In exchange, Kirk gives him a phaser, just in case those pesky Libyans come a-calling…
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Experimenting with his new toy, the Doc accidentally shoots President Carter during an official visit to San Francisco. Walter Mondale takes over, Reagan never comes to power, and US politics are changed forever! Viva la revolution!
Les Visiteurs (1993)
The Original: Profoundly daft culture-clash romp in which Jean Reno’s 12th Century knight and his irritating servant accidentally travel through time to 1992. Much hilarity ensues as they try to get to grips with modern living. Ho-ho-ho.
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc swiftly packs the bumbling pair back to where they came from, thus sparing us a raft of half-baked jokes and a thoroughly unnecessary remake.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: The encounter with the Doc’s DeLorean gives the French the drop on their American counterparts in the technological race, allowing them to become the most advanced nation in the world. It doesn’t bare thinking about, does it?
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)
The Original: The third instalment in the saga of the boy wizard involves a head-spinning denouement in which Harry and Hermione use a magical device known as a “time-turner” to go back in time and help Gary Oldman’s Sirius Black to make his escape. Okay, so they only venture a few hours into the past, but it still counts as time travel!
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc’s souped-up car appears relatively old hat to our young leads (after all, they’ve already seen one that can fly), but his driving skills still come in handy as he sends the treacherous Pettigrew careering over his bonnet, preventing his escape.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: By stopping Pettigrew’s getaway, Brown throws J.K. Rowling’s continuity out of whack, meaning that the final battle ends with…well, we don’t want to spoil it for you, do we?
Time After Time (1979)
The Original: Malcolm MacDowell plays a fictionalised version of H.G. Wells in Nicholas Meyer’s fantasy, using a newly-invented time machine to pursue Jack the Ripper into the 20th Century. However, instead of alienating the hunted ripper, our increasingly violent society makes him feel right at home…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc arrives on the scene, willing to lend a hand in bringing the ripper to justice. However, he is thrown somewhat off-kilter when he finds himself face to face with a women who looks just like his beloved Clara (Mary Steenburgen). What’s more, she seems to be in a relationship with Wells! Enraged, the Doc helps the Ripper to escape as a way of getting back at his apparent love rival.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Surprisingly slim. The Ripper was never caught anyway, and in the future he becomes just another serial killer. No one is any the wiser!
Peggy Sue Got Married (1981)
The Original: Kathleen Turner plays the eponymous Peggy, a woman on the brink of divorce who finds herself transported back to her high-school heyday, where she soon falls in love with hubby Charlie (Nic Cage) all over again. Even though Cage is sporting one of his most ridiculous hairdos to date…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc organises a school dance to remind Peggy how she once felt about Charlie. However, a violent bully threatens to chuck a spanner in the works when he makes an unwelcome advance on Peggy. Will Charlie have the guts to stop him? Hang on, this is just Back To The Future isn’t it? Whoops.
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: Cage overhears the Doc making a snide comment about his hair, causing him to shave it off for good. A generation of cinemagoers are thus denied one of Hollywood’s greatest pleasures…
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
The Original: Four buddies accidentally spill some booze on the control panel of a hot-tub and find themselves transported back through time to 1986. Despite attempting to keep to the straight and narrow, they inevitably end up changing various bits and pieces of their pasts along the way. However, unlike most time-travel tinkering, their meddling actually works out for the best! The jammy gits…
With Added Doc Brown: The Doc would be right at home in 1986, although he’d probably have a thing or two to say about Lou’s decision to remain in the past. That said, he’s presumably back in the ‘80s on some sort of jolly-up, so who is he to judge?
Risk To The Space/Time Continuum: This time machine is powered by a Russian energy drink, which would presumably stop the Doc from needing to continually rip-off terrorists to power up his DeLorean. Everyone’s a winner!