Why does it always have to be time-travel? (#SFWApro)

THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: Escape Clause (2006) has Santa (Tim Allen) coping with his wife’s imminent pregnancy, bringing his inlaws to the North Pole and Jack Frost’s (Martin Short) desire to replace him—which is what leads to the time-travel angle, Frost contriving to rewind time to the moment Allen became Santa, then replace him. This has the It’s a Wonderful Life effect of making everyone’s life more miserable, even Allen’s first wife’s second husband, Judge Reinhold, so Allen sets out to fix things. Extremely forgettable, but it would double bill well with the later Rise of the Guardians or the earlier Like Father, Like Santa (another where an ice-themed villain tries replacing the guy in the suit). “They’re not little Canadians—they’re elves!”
FOR ALL TIME (2000) is nominally inspired by The Twilight Zone episode “A Stop at Willoughby,” in which a stressed out businessman gets the chance to stop at an idyllic old-fashioned town. What happens next is so different that the film feels like it owes more to Jack Finney’s nostalgia-drenched time-travel stories. Mark Harmon is the stressed-out ad man who discovers his antique pocket watch lets him step off his commuter train into 1896, where he fall sin love with not only peaceful small-town life but newspaper editor Mary McDonnell (as my friend Ross has observed, “female newspaper editor” seems to replace “schoolteacher” as the job of choice for 19th century female leads). Blithely ignores the ugly side of the past (lynching, sexism, etc.) and the ending is odd: After Harmon goes back to the past to stay, we see this leads to an alternate present in which his career-oriented, not-having-kids wife is married to Harmon’s best friend (though they don’t remember him) and has a son (would having her stay child-free not have been happy enough?) “The only things that have to show are the grim reaper—and the taxman.”

Now the not-going-in-the-book ones: DINOSAUR ISLAND (1994) presents its fur bikini-wearing blonde jungle women and dinosaurs as a stock Lost World rather than a time-rift, but I couldn’t be sure until I watched it This Fred Olin Ray schlock production was such crap (and with such gratuitous toplessness) that I fast forwarded through most of it. “Page 32! Page 32!”
DINOSAUR PROJECT (2012) was a Found Footage story in which an expedition hunting cryptids in Africa discovers another lost world swarming with dinosaurs—but it turns out the mysterious valley they come from is just a mysterious valley (as far as the movie shows) rather than a time-rift, so it doesn’t make the cut either. Competent, but stock, and the found-footage angle detracts rather than adds to the film as it makes it obvious nobody’s coming back (which is predictable in a horror movie, not so much here).

2 Comments

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

2 responses to “Why does it always have to be time-travel? (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Love across time, time warriors and other time-travel films (and TV) (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Fun stuff about indexing (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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