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    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 95 mins . M15+ . PAL


    Physics, that scientific field in which we understand the order of all things in the universe, apparently cannot be messed with. There’s a theorem that states time travel must never be possible, or else we’d be inundated with visitors from the future. Whilst there’s a certain logic to that, travellers could still hide themselves by researching the time period and blending in so we were never the wiser.

    There are certainly many theories and they all tend to fry your noodle if you think about them too long. Movies are certainly no stranger to the time travel experience – just look at some obscure examples like Back to the Future and Back to the Future 2. Also, there was Back to the Future 3. And let’s not forget that other movie with all the time travel in it. You know the one. It had a guy in it. He went back in time in a machine for some reason. You know it.

    Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that time travel is a dangerous tool and one screenwriters are best to be wary of. In the case of Timescape, they should have stayed well enough away, for the crapness of this picture may haunt them forever - and forever is a bloody long time, as any student of time travel will tell you.

    Jeff Daniels plays Ben Wilson, a cowardly type who lost his wife in a freak horse and sleigh accident several years ago. Cowardly because he ran away from it for some reason. Now he drinks a little too much but is a good father to his daughter, Ariana Richards (of Jurassic Park fame). When some weirdos turn up in town with some curious habits, Ben investigates and learns they are travellers from the future who go around watching horrible events in history like the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

    When tragedy befalls the town, Ben must find a way to go back in time and rescue it, thereby redeeming his cowardly arse in the dead eyes of the townsfolk. Naturally a film like this is laden with predictable clichés, including poorly outfitted folks from another time (I’m sure if we could go back 300 years, we’d have a pretty good idea of what to wear) and the awkwardly loyal and slow witted best friend. Not to mention the merciless judge, the drinking thing, the good girl daughter who studies diligently and is pretty and smart, the redemptive future guy who learns a lesson from the primitives of the past and the all time (travel) classic; meeting yourself face to face.

    Yup, it’s all here, wrapped up in a disc that has no menu pages, no special features, no subtitles, no languages aside from English, no real plot and no real appeal. Remember folks, forever is a bloody long time.


    An average 4:3 transfer that naturally has no enhancement brings what looks like a telemovie to bold life. Yes, it looks like a telemovie, but then Jeff says "f*ck" once (with plenty more in his trailer after the shoot, I'll bet) which also contributes to the M15+ rating. There are a few artefacts throughout as black and white specks, but nothing too major. There’s a bit of aliasing within most of the film and occasions of shimmering too. Shadows are murky with no firm detail - particularly at night, and the blacks have occasional instances of green. This all makes for a very average transfer I’m afraid.


    Dolby Digital stereo is the go here, and it does everything it can, even if there’s really nothing for it to do apart from delivering the rather trite script. The sound is fairly low too. We had our system right up as high as it would go until about three quarters of the way through, when it became a little louder. Not heaps though, just a bit. The worse thing is that there are a couple of perfectly good explosions wasted here, with some nice fire and sirens and stuff afterward, but sadly thrown to the dogs. Some dialogue is difficult to catch, what sound effects are used are okay, but the music is so understated I can’t really even remember it. I remember several renditions of Fur Elise by Beethoven, but these aren’t played for long or even well, in accordance with the script.


    Like the kid said, nothing. The film even opens itself up. No menus. Then, I wondered what happened when it ended so I sat through the credits.

    And the film just re-started.

    I couldn’t watch it again.


    Jeff Daniels does his best and then his worst with the script. Ariana Richards is wasted, though she sparkles when she’s on screen. As to the rest of the cast I’m sure they meant well, but the downfall is the crappy storyline, the inattention to science and the formulaic and clichéd script. Unless you’re delivering a lecture on ‘What not to do if you ever have access to time travel’ I should just keep walking, friend. Nothing to see here.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3027
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      And I quote...
    "Nothing to see here... move along. Move along please."
    - Jules Faber
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