Not so long ago, Major Spoilers EIC Stephen was recommended Groundhog Day as part of his time-travel movie marathon, and came to the conclusion that it’s not, by his estimation, a time-travel movie.  It’s true that Phil Connors’ epic February 2nd lacks a specific mechanism (or, indeed, even an explanation) for his long journey into winter, but I have always considered it to be a movie about traveling in time.  Sure, it’s a specific, very limited kind of chronological alteration, but is Sandman’s ability to control particles of silica any less telekinesis than Phoenix destroying entire worlds of asparagus people?  It’s a question that likely in the eye of the beholder, leading to today’s endlessly-looping, endlessly-looping, endlessly-looping query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds Faithful Spoilerites that there’s no right or wrong answer, only differing perspectives, asking: In your opinion, does Groundhog Day qualify as a time-travel movie?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

4 Comments

  1. Technically yes, but Phil constantly improving himself and realizing what he really wants and wants to be in life with every repeated day shouldve created thousands of branching timelines. Like theres a timeline where they never got caught in the snowstorm and went home like normal, and Phil just continued being a miserable a-hole.

    The real question is, could Groundhog Day be considered an honorary Christmas movie? I’ve taken to watching it around Christmas along with Die Hard and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It’s got snow, it’s got a life lesson, it’s kind of an inside out Christmas Carol when you think about it (even moreso than Scrooged imo)

  2. Daniel Langsdale on

    Yes, it is time travel. Just like chihuahuas and mastiffs are both dogs, time travel stories can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The (fictional) mechanics of the time loop may differ from the (fictional) mechanics of branching timeline stories, which in turn differ from the mechanics of an immutable timeline story like 12 Monkeys. But they’re all still time-travel at heart.

    A time travel story, IMO, needs the following: A protagonist who witnesses/interacts with events in time outside of the normal order & progression that the normal person, and the bulk of the rest of the cast, do.

  3. Yes. It involves going back in time, albeit a time loop.
    This is one of our favorites that we watch on … Groundhog Day.

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