Thanks for the reading suggestions...great vanity plate...I'm sure you've gotten more than the average response on that one...excellent.
The practical applications for real time travel seem endless. The question of when travel in time will be (or was) invented is quite intriguing.
When I think of how this entire concept could better unfold in a film, I imagine the scientific discoveries that will ultimately lead to it;
As a starting point I am often reminded of the classic David Lean film The Sound Barrier
. As technology continues to allow us to move forward at higher rates of excelleration, the closer we get to "light speed" etc. At the same time there is an obvious need for generating enormous amounts of energy to support this technology, and so on.
I mention all this in terms of being able to watch a film that provides us with technology we can at least begin to swallow...versus a guy who simply jumps in a chair and poof!... he's four years in the past. My own reaction to the success of such an experiment would lead to a multitude of reactions (not to mention plot devices)!
Although not necessarily a time travel film, I think pictures like Stargate
have done a much better job of building up the early suspense/explanation factor. Even the George Pal version included a little demo of the time machine for the assembled dinner guests.
I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed.