Star Trek IV starts with our heroes on planet Vulcan, loading up to go home and face punishment from the Federation for their hijacking of the Enterprise and its subsequent destruction, as well as the sabotage of the Excelsior. As they approach Earth, they find that a giant space probe is threatening to destroy the planet, emitting a signal that those on Earth are baffled how to respond to. It is determined that the probe is sending messages in the language of humpback whales, which have been extinct for over 200 years. With seemingly no obvious solution, Kirk and crew decide to time warp back to the late 20th Century to snatch a couple of humpbacks to bring back with them in the hopes of saving the Earth. They discover two whales in captivity at a San Francisco Cetacean institute. Still, they have only a limited amount of time to figure out how to transport these whales in tons of seawater, in addition to needing to harvest enough nuclear energy to send their tapped out ship back to the future. Leonard Nimoy directs.
Trancers starts off in the neon-tinged year of 2247, where we find much of old Los Angeles (now called “Angel City”) submerged by the ocean. Law enforcement officers called “Troopers”, like Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson), are taking down (referred to as “singeing”) “trancers”, which are weak-minded people (dubbed “squids”) who can easily come under the hypnotic, homicidal zombie-like spell (“not quite alive, not dead enough”) of nefarious Charles Manson-esque cult leader Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani), who Deth sees as responsible for the murder of his wife. Deth thinks he has taken down Whistler once and for all, only to learn that the telepathic supervillain is still alive, but has avoided Deth (and death) by traveling back in time to Los Angeles in late 1985 with something called “time serum”, where one can go back through time by their conscience into the body of another person in their direct family lineage of the past.
There and then, Whistler hopes to terminate the ancestors of the three-person “High Council of the Western Territories” members who took him down in 2247. Jack Deth always gets his man, so he too goes back in time to stop Whistler once and for all, inhabiting his consciousness into one of his own ancestors, a sleazeball journalist named Philip Dethton, who happens to be a dead ringer. Along with Phil’s young girlfriend Leena (Helen Hunt), Deth is going to be crafty to take down his target, as Whistler is inhabiting the body of his own ancestor, who happens to be an LAPD detective, and has already channeled a number of “trancers” to his cause to protect him as he tries to take down the last Council member’s ancestor, a down-and-out, alcoholic ex-pro baseball pitcher currently living on Skid Row (Biff Manard).
Linda Hamilton returns as buffed out Sarah Connor, the mother of humanity’s future savior, now holed up in a mental institution for her claims that the world is going to end in an apocalyptic nuclear war instigated by a sentient advanced computer system. That savior, John (Edward Furlong), is a rebellious teen living in foster care who soon learns his mother isn’t a crackpot after all after being chased by a cop who is actually a T-1000 model Terminator – a shape-shifting, liquid metallic artificial entity (Robert Patrick) – sent from the future to kill him. John’s own savior is a T-800 cybernetic organism (Arnold Schwarzenegger) identical to the one sent to kill Sarah years before, only this time, his future self reprogrammed one of them to send back and protect the boy and mother. However, the older model is barely a match for the nearly indestructible, futuristic killing machine, and a chase ensues that sees Sarah and company trying to stay alive while destroying the path to humanity’s downfall, the advancements learned through the finding of the chip and hand remnant from the previous T-800 machine. James Cameron co-writes and directs this big-budget smash.
The simple premise: A killer android (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back to 1984 to assassinate the mother (Linda Hamilton) of a resistance leader of the future. A soldier of that resistance (Michael Biehn) is also sent back to protect her from harm, but the killer android is virtually unstoppable in its mission. This classic science fiction/action/horror/thriller represents the best in all of those genres that the 1980s has to offer. James Cameron put his name on the map with this action masterpiece.
The third and final entry in the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy sees Marty and Doc in the Old West of Hill Valley in 1885, where Marty must save Doc from getting gunned down by an ancestor of Biff Tannen. It’s a softer, and more romantic effort, as Doc finds love with the charming schoolteacher, Clara Clayton, who is also supposed to meet her maker, unless Marty can figure out a way to save them both without messing things up for the future!
Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Steven Spielberg present the original 1985 class, BACK TO THE FUTURE!
Michael J. Fox plays 17-year-old Marty McFly, a spirited teenager who doesn’t seem to quite fit in with his current family, so much so that he spends a great deal of his time helping out an eccentric local scientist, Doc Brown, in his kooky experiments. One night, Doc calls Marty out to an empty mall parking lot to witness his latest triumph, a souped- up DeLorean that he has modified as a time machine. Upset that Doc has used the plutonium given to make a proposed nuclear bomb for his own machine, some angry terrorists gun him down in cold blood, leaving Marty with no other choice than to escape in the DeLorean, which sends him back in time to the date Doc first came up with the idea for time travel, November 5th, 1955, which also happens to be the date that Marty’s parents met and fell for each other. Problems ensue when Marty’s mother begins to fall for him instead, which would completely negate the existence of Marty and his siblings. Marty must find a way for his parents to fall in love, and get back to the future without the nuclear component necessary, with only the younger Doc Brown to help him.
John Stockwell, Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper appear in this low-budget sci-fi/comedy from 1985, MY SCIENCE PROJECT, where teens find an alien contraption of seemingly unlimited power that opens a portal from which people and things from Earth’s past and future pour into their high school. Now the teens need to pull the plug on it before everyone is in mortal danger. It’s a very 80s movie in the best ways — and the worst.
Francis Ford Coppola directs this fluffy but endearing film that asks the age-old question, “what if we could do it all over again?” An Oscar-nominated performance from Kathleen Turner bolsters this whimsical romantic comedy-drama with a time-travel twist, with a quirky role for Nicolas Cage as her no-good husband.
The breakthrough performance for Keanu Reeves, along with co-star Alex Winter, in this fun time-traveling romp through history, as two California teens pick up verious historical figures in their phone booth through time to pass an oral presentation that will secure Earth’s future — a future in which Bill & Ted are revered as saviors! George Carlin supports in this fun flick from 1989.