BaTTR Score or Barry’s Time Travel Review Score is a methodology developed specifically to rate time-travel based movies. While it is designed for films, it can be applied to books as well. What makes a movie fall in this category? Simple, as long as a portion of the plot deals with at least one character experiencing time non-linearly, the film falls into the time-travel category. Unlike other movies, ones with fictional time-travel need to additionally construct elaborate in-movie timeline rules and ensure consistency despite the chaos created by time-travel.
Let’s go through the four essential attributes that make for a great time-travel based film. Each of them is scored on a 5-point scale. The BaTTR Score is an average of the four traits.
1. The Mechanics Score in BaTTR
How does time-travel take place? Do the characters merely disappear and appear in another time, or is there a well thought out and unique process or an interesting gadget that enables the time-travel? This element always makes the film intriguing. Additionally, when a film integrates the mechanics in to the thick of its plot, there nothing like it!
2. The Repercussion Score in BaTTR
Why does the time-travel take place? And now that it has, what are the consequences to the timeline(s) within the film? This is pretty central to a movie that deals with time-travel. The more twisted the details, the harder it is to execute the storyline.
Base Coherence Score
How well were the ripple effects and paradoxes handled? Were there too many plot-holes? What good is a time-travel film that leaves you with more questions than it cared to answer? Flawless execution of the ripple effects definitely exhibits the extent to which ideas were thought through. However, there is a problem if Base Coherence is used directly to calculate the overall score.
Consider a movie that involves time-travel that has little to no consequence to the main story. It’s easy for a film like this to achieve a high Base Coherence score. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a movie like that to ace the overall rating as it avoided deep-diving into complexities. What’s the fun then? To avoid this situation, we will calculate the effective Coherence.
3. The Coherence Score in BaTTR
Now, this is where the BaTTR scale gets a little complex (as every time-travel based story should). Coherence is the Base Coherence score re-calculated in reference to the Repercussions score, as below:
Coherence = Base Coherence x (Repercussion / 5)
Let’s take an example. If a movie had a simple plot with very little complexity because of the time-travel. And the film wrapped it up well with no plot-holes in the timeline, then…
The Base Coherence score would be 5.
The Repercussion score would be, say, 2.
The Coherence score would now be:
5 X (2 / 5) = 2
On the other hand, if a film had super-high complexities introduced in the plot because of the time-travel, yet still managed to wrap it up nice and tight, then…
The Base Coherence score would be 5
The Repercussion score would be 5
The Coherence score would now be:
5 X (5 / 5) = 5
Coherence Score Summary
Films that take the effort to embrace complexity and still manage to keep the execution tight deserve a higher Coherence score.
4. The Rewatchability Score in BaTTR
Would you rewatch the film? Once? Or time and over? How well were the characters conceived? How was the screenplay? This section focuses on how engaging the movie was, on the whole, the experience factor.
BaTTR Score Summary
The overall BaTTR score indicates how engaging the film is from the perspective of being a time-travel based film. While a high score tells you that it is an exceptional movie with time-travel at the heart of it, a low score doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. It’s possible that the movie was great but just didn’t pay enough attention to the time-travel aspects.