Saturday Time Travel for Saturn, God of Time! (#SFWApro)

THE LATHE OF HEAVEN (2002) is the weaker of the two adaptations Ursula LeGuin’s novel about a man (Lukas Haas) who can alter reality (and history, hence my interest) with his dreams and the psychiatrist (James Caan) who exploits him. This emphasizes Haas’ relationship with attorney Lisa Bonet and his struggle to save it despite their backstory constantly changes makes it more a Love Across Time tale than the source novel (IIRC) or the original 1980 adaptation (this drops the shattering revelation the shrink makes at the climax). Adequate in its own right, but no more than that. “Anything that takes the trouble to happen was inevitable anyway.”
STAR TREK GENERATIONS (1994) loses a lot of its punch now because what was really significant at the time—handing the movie franchise from Classic Trek to Next Generation—is no longer such a big deal. The story of both generations of Enterprisers taking on mad scientist Malcolm McDowell comes off as an extended episode of the Next Gen series with heavy emphasis on continuity (Data’s emotion chip plays a big role) and doesn’t really come alive until Kirk and Picard team up. This will probably get appendixed in my book as the time-travel element is minor. “Time is a predator that stalks us all.”
FROM TIME TO TIME (2009) loosely adapts one of Lucy Boston’s Green Knowe books for the story of a boy visiting his ancestral home and periodically sliding back to interact with his ancestors in the early 1800s. This is weak because while the time-travel element is unambiguous (more so than I believe it is in Boston), it’s blurred by showing more of the past in Maggie Smith’s recounting of family history than the kid going back to witness it. Even the boy discovering The Lost Fortune That Saves Green Knowe isn’t really dependent on his time trip. Written by Julian Fellows of Downton Abbey.  “I hate to bother you madam, but the house is on fire.”
THE ONE (2001), has Jet Li systematically traveling the multiverse to wipe out his counterparts and gain godlike power, the two obstacles being a security agency that worries Li will completely destabilize reality, and the last counterpart, who’s every bit as powerful as Li himself. This is weak—Li’s a stiff actor and the early fights are so F/x heavy, his martial arts skills are superflulous. That said, the final fight between Good Li and Evil Li is impressive. With Carla Guggino and Jason Statham in supporting roles, this would double bill well with Crisis on Two Earths for Owlman’s similar distaste for being just one of many counterparts. “You call it murder, but how could I murder myself 123 times?”
STAR WRECK: Lost Contact (1997) was the short preceding Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning in which the Korg try to prevent rocker Jeffrey Cochbrane from playing a concert so loud it attracts the alien Vulgars and triggers Earth’s first contact. Marginally funnier than the sequel, probably because it’s shorter. “It’s just like Star Wars or—what was that 60s TV series?”
SAINT SINNER (2002) was very freely adapted from Clive Barker’s comics series of a decade earlier, inconveniently for me throwing in a time travel element: a monk in 1815 has the bright idea to snoop in his order’s collection of occult artifacts, releasing two succubi he has to follow in the future. The demons get too much airtime (Pinhead they ain’t) though the hero’s bland too. A logical double bill would be The Last Dragon which also has a hero who doesn’t know the power is within him.“If saints knew what they were, they would not be saint.”
SECOND TIME LUCKY (1984) is one of those time travel movies that slips through the cracks (none of my sources list it) but unquestionably counts: God (Robert Morley) and Satan send a college student named Adam back to Eden to see if he’ll fall again (“This time it’s winner take all.”), then bounce him through history to ancient Rome, WWI and Prohibition, with the same hot girl tempting him in every era. Very poor. “He has a mind of his own—he may even rebel!”

2 Comments

Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

2 responses to “Saturday Time Travel for Saturn, God of Time! (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Love and murder across time (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Not much quality in the other films either (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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