Let’s watch a time warp again (#SFWApro)

TIMELINE (2003) adapts the Michael Crichton novel for a story in which an anachronistic discovery at a French archeological site leads the diggers to the discoveries that a)IT millionaire David Thewliss (a Bill Gates clone) has opened a wormhole back into the middle of the Hundred Years War and b)chief archeologist Billy Connolly has gone back through it and been captured by the besieged British. The film is lively without being interesting, quite cliched and occasionally really dumb—Connolly’s off-hand revelation he knows how to make Greek fire (nobody today knows that) passes the other archeologists without a murmur. Gerard Butler adds some energy as an archeologist with a flair for swordplay. “Use the night arrows.”
CRUSADE: A March Through Time (2006) is a vastly superior film from Holland in which a teenage soccer player who just lost the Big Game impulsively uses mother Emily Watson’s experimental time machine and winds up in the middle of the Children’s Crusade. In contrast to the trite melodramatics of Timeline, everything here (religious conflict, anachronistic confusion, love) is very underplayed which makes it much more effective; the protagonist doesn’t debate changing history, he just helps out his companions when they’re in trouble. Well worth a look. “He doesn’t want gold—he wants 25 children.”
TIME KID (2003) is an animated Nickelodeon riff on HG Wells in which a 1902 teenager follows his father into a future dominated by Eloi and Morlocks—er, Lumen and Submen and (uniquely for Time Machine adaptations), forges peace between them (even in the 2002 version, which had intelligent Morlocks, they’re presented as an Other that must be destroyed). That’s partly because the Lumens are simply a power source for Submen technology rather than dinner, but it’s still a nice surprise. “It wasn’t quicksand that swallowed your friend—he was grabbed from below!”
13 GOING ON 30 (2004) stars Jennifer Garner as a teenager hurled into her 30-year-old future self to cope with cell phones (“Do you hear that sound?”), men (“He tried to show me his thingie.”) and her editor’s duties under magazine publisher Andy Sirkis, plus figuring out why childhood friend Mark Ruffalo no longer returns her calls. As I thought on first viewing, this spends far too much time on uninteresting elements, such as Garner’s brilliant idea for giving her magazine a reboot. Her performance still sells the film, which would double bill well with one of the Freaky Friday films. With Kathy Baker as Garner’s mom. “You can’t always get the dream house but you can come close.”
MV5BMjE5Njc0MTEzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ3MDgzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_CHASING CHRISTMAS (2005) is an ABC Family Christmas Carol variation in which a very disgruntled Christmas Past (“So who’s the victim of this year’s guilt-trip?”) quits after dragging Christmas-hater Tom Arnold back to 1965, leaving Arnold stuck in his childhood home. Surprisingly the threat is less Arnold messing up the time stream than that he’ll be erased from existence if Christmas Present (Andrea Roth) can’t bring him home. The fun in this one is everyone knowing what movie they’re in (“Charles Dickens was a former target of ours who wrote a book about his experiences even though we explicitly told him not to!”); overall much better than I expected, and even the stock romance has good touches (although Present falls for Arnold, she doesn’t turn mortal, nor does her Exact Mortal Double miraculously show up). “You have done the most selfish thing anyone has ever done in the history of time—I checked!”
FREQUENCY (2000) has brooding cop Jim Caviezel (unsurprisingly looking 10 years younger than the Man in the Suit) discover his father’s (Dennis Quaid) old ham radio has connected them across 30 years thanks to a freak Northern Lights. The good news is that he saves his father’s life, the bad that by so doing he’s somehow turned a three-victim serial killer into a multiple murderer whose added victims include Caviezel’s mom. Reminiscent of The Caller for the communication across time element (and the climax involving danger in two eras). Occasionally inconsistent in its temporal rules (Caviezel immediately gets new memories when his dad survives, but not when his mum dies), but very warm and affectionate as father and son connect. “You went down 30 years ago, pal—you just don’t know it yet.”
(All rights to image with current holder)

4 Comments

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

4 responses to “Let’s watch a time warp again (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Time Travel and Parallel-World Films, Plus Some That Aren’t Either (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Time-Travel TV, plus a couple of movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Two women cops, a psycho family and the Death Star:TV and movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Rogue Christmas spirits, forgettable Christmas films and more! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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