WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A photogenic gang of archeology students are FAXED back in time to find a missing professor who’s trapped in 14th century France, smack in the middle of a war between the French and the English. Swashbuckling, lots of horses, Paul Walker looking tanned and Gerard Butler owning the show...ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Based on a novel by Michael Crichton (of JURASSIC PARK fame), TIMELINE generates an interesting take on time traveling, but uses it solely as a springboard to sport a two hour chase/fight scene set within the Middles Ages. So if you’re looking for an intelligent, in-depth “time hopping” tale, look again or rent THE TERMINATOR instead. This is what I like to call a “whatever” movie. The type of offering that you watch on that Sunday afternoon when you have nothing better to do and want to switch off the noggin. Was it a good movie? Not particularly...plot holes were a plenty, the characters were mostly dull (Was Paul Walker the star of this movie? Didn’t feel like it!) while the narrative took the “redundant” route quite often. Having said that, I was still lightly entertained sitting through this adequately directed show and on this hard trek that we call life...I guess that counts for something.
The upside was that this opus was always on the move, therefore never giving me a chance to hit the Zs. Chases, fights, romances, a race against time, the taking of a castle, a couple of neat twists…yes, we’ve all seen it before, but it didn’t hurt me to see it again. Backed up by beautiful locations (Quebec baby…Quebec!) and decent production values, it all made for easily digestible eye candy. And thank the lord for the great Gerard Butler and the lovely Frances O'Connor whose cutesy, chemistry filled relationship gave me a “human anchor” to hold on to throughout this vacuous jamboree. They made it all worthwhile! Granted, I could’ve done without Billy Connoly’s grating overacting, the waste of Neal McDonough (the man rocks...use him!) and the stinky presence of dumb-dumb "heavy" Roger Doniger played by David Thewlis, but all in all, TIMELINE's “road runner” demeanor made sure that I didn’t get too damaged in the process. Slouch on the couch, don’t unplug the phone and open the bag of Doritos...it’s gonna be that kind of “ho-hum” adventure!
Journal Through Timeline: This feature includes three segments that we can play together or separately, namely Setting Time (18 minutes), The Nights of La Roque (22 minutes) and Making Their Own History (6 minutes). Through each section, we’re taken on location with Richard Donner and cast and crew as they face the arduous process of making the picture. I always love "on set" stuff, seeing the many interactions and seeing the men (and women) at work as they overcome obstacles to shoot their film. This feature provided me that and more, in what was an insightful and enjoyable “on the scene” display. Good stuff!
The Textures of Timeline (18 minutes): This bit gave me a look at the making of the film’s props, sets and costumes. I can’t say that I was on the edge of my seat chewing on my sock while watching this (it's not really a domain that interests me), but it was okay with the tight editing helping to make it somewhat watchable.
We also get Theatrical Trailers (2 of them) and Previews.
Taking into account that TIMELINE was directed by Richard Donner, the man who brought us SUPERMAN, LETHAL WEAPON and the underrated ASSASSINS, I was underwhelmed by this movie. But on its own, it kept me amused for two hours, helping me forget my troubles and slapping a couple of easy grins on my face. Basically, the disc is an undemanding time-waster that you’ll forget as soon as the end credits start to roll. Nothing more, nothing less. Rent it when you’re bored and the tube isn’t talking to ya, or don’t rent it all...no big loss, either way.