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Timeline (2003)
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Review Date: November 24, 2003
Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Jeff Maguire, George Nolfi
Producers: Richard Donner, Lauren Shuler Donner, Jim Van Wyck
Actors:
Paul Walker
Frances O'Connor
Gerard Butler
Plot:
Okay, so there's like this...time machine "thingie" that works like a fax machine, but instead of sending paper across the city, it sends people through a "wormhole" and into 1357 France. Duuuuuude! Trippy, right? But check this out...so this surfer dude's dad is accidentally stuck back in that time period, so he and his scientist/archeological buddies are sent through the machine in order to get him back. The rub? They've only got six hours and a shitty screenplay to work with. A video rental ensues...
Critique:
A mediocre offering that doesn't provide the viewer with many lasting impressions, other than a neat premise, a good looking Paul Walker and all the fire and medieval razzle-dazzle that you could shake a stick at. If I had to point out this film's greatest problem, I would have to fault it for its utter genericism. Almost nothing in the movie is original or creatively orchestrated, including its basic acting, its standard special effects, its hum-drum sword fights, its unsatisfying character interactions and its weak dialogue. Actually, some of the lines uttered in the film were classic cheese including "This is for France!" and my personal fave: "I am home." Gimme a break. It also follows the typical route of all generic flicks with small bits and pieces presented early on obviously leading to more meaningful correlated events later. Almost every piece of which you should be able to guess, incidentally. My biggest issue with any time-travel movie is that they rarely take the time to "have fun" with the concept of time-traveling itself. That's what interests me! That's why I go to see these movies, not because I want them to time-travel once and then get into some inane medieval adventure with people whom I could give a shit about. Once the film's first act is established (a decent build-up), we're suddenly thrown into a lame ol' world where the British and the French are fighting and the emphasis is suddenly placed on the lesser interesting plot points...

I did like how one of the characters decided that he'd rather stay back in the day and get some 'tang than hook up with his buddies and come back home the first time around though. Way to prioritize, dude. Those French girls will do that to you every time. The film was also not helped by its lackluster cast, all of whom were competent, but none of which stood out or energized the movie on any level. Walker basically just "acted" with his hair and eyes, while Billy Connolly and Butler decided that overemphasizing their accents would be the way to go. It didn't help that the great David Thewlis was criminally underused as well. Oh, Neal McDonough was the mack though. But at the end of the day, the film's biggest weakness was its story. Couldn't they come up with anything more exciting than a small village (with a few huts thrown around) being overrun by a bunch of extras in armor? I didn't care about any of the main players in this movie and even less about the jokers to whom we were briskly introduced in the medieval times or any of their supposed "romantic" feelings toward one another. Overall, the film did manage to keep things moving pretty swiftly and despite feeling a little long near the end, provided for some decent action to round things off, specifically the catapult fire-fights as well as the tension built therein. That said, the film is a video rental at best and a shit movie at worst. The former for now, but who knows how I'll feel about it tomorrow morning, after I awaken from my drunken stupor. As for my "critical quote", check this one out: "If you loved A KNIGHT'S TALE or THE TIME MACHINE...rent those instead!" Es tu, Dick Donner?
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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