It’s always time for time travel (#SFWApro)

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Although the original Planet of the Apes got Charlton Heston to the future with suspended animation, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970) (rights to poster with current holder) has the rescue mission falling through some sort of time warp (it’s implied Heston’s ship did too, but I’m still not counting it in my book). Surviving astronaut James Franciscus takes the Heston role of the Man Among Apes, encountering chimp scientists David Watson and Kim Hunter (Roddy McDowell was unable to repeat his chimp role from the original) and orang-utan administrator Maurice Evans before stumbling into a tribe of subterranean psionics ready to use a doomsday weapon against an ape attack. A good sequel (and as many critics have observed over the years, it’s the sequel that really sells the series) and the arrogant Underdwellers (most notably Victor Buono) are great added villains with their insistence that mentally compelling other people to kill keeps their own hands clean of violence. “May the blessing of the bomb almighty and the fellowship of the holy fallout descend on us all this day.”

A WRINKLE IN TIME (2003) is a dismal Disney adaptation—it has the stiffness you often get when a movie is too self-conscious about filming a classic. It also suffers from a stiff female lead whose main character trait (massive insecurity) is now a stock staple of teen films. On the plus side, i don’t have to include it in my book as despite the title there’s no time-travel—I guess it’s been so long since I read the book that I’d forgotten. For the same reason it’s hard to say how faithful it is, but they do seem to break the power of IT better than I remember. “Like and equal are not the same thing.”

THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962) when they to fix a friend’s time machine and, of course, make it work. This dumps them, the inventor and his girlfriend back in ancient Greece where they unwittingly help tyrant George N. Neise overthrow Ulysses. This has some good bits, but not enough—I’m not a Stooges fan. “I’ve given you a great name—now live up to it.”

MYSTERIOUS MUSEUM (2004) is a deadly dull bit of kidvid in which the bland teen protagonists are sucked through a magic painting (among other plot-holes there’s no explanation why the good wizard creates the painting, other than plot necessity) to the 17th century to help a village stave off the Wizard of Doom out to steal an Ultimate McGuffin. Not only dull but sexist—the teenage boy gets to kick butt, his older sister just gets captured and sits helpless. “I once counseled Lincoln—I told him he was taking his job too seriously, and he needed to get out and see the arts.”

Watching HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004) so soon after reading the book makes me appreciate how much little visual magical details the movie-makers add to these (plus the brief moment where Ron and Hermione find themselves holding hands and the heavy click imagery). In some ways this improves on the book by cutting out a lot of Harry’s moody brooding and the school stuff in favor of the Sirius Black plot; on the other hand, some cuts hurt the film such as the origin of the map (and the revelation Harry’s dad was a jerk) and the reason the time turner can’t be used in future films (there’s just a vague reference to Bad Things Happening). The emphasis on Harry and Hermione ducking around earlier scenes of the movie makes me suggest Back to the Future II as a double bill. “Don’t be silly, Ron—how could anybody be in two classes at once?”

4 Comments

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

4 responses to “It’s always time for time travel (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Destiny is a stacked deck (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Third sequels three! Time travel films (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Time travel TV: Nothing says Christmas like apes conquering the world(#SFWApro | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Things That Resemble Time Travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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