Timeline Review and Opinion

Timeline Review and Opinion


Timeline (2003)
Director: Richard Donner

review by Michael Lohr

A mystery suspense thriller based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel about clandestine happenings at the corporate military industrial giant International Technology Company (ITC), run by David Thewlis and Matt Craven. The company's new invention, a transportation machine that is meant to revolutionise the shipping and logistics industry, goes haywire. After it is used a couple of times, it suddenly intersects with a wormhole and accidentally sends a team of scientists - an archaeological team led by Professor Johnston (Bill Connolly), his son Chris (Paul Walker), and students Kate (Frances O'Connor) and Andre (Gerald Butler) - back in time to 14th century feudal France, right at the period in time when the French are at war with the English in the largest battle of the 100 Years War.
   I don't know, sounds like the making of a bad teen horror or porno movie to me. The book worked well and is a good read. The move falls on its collective face. Timeline gets into trouble from the beginning and its quantum physics is terribly uninformed (the Sci-Fi Channel's Stargate SG1 has a very good grasp of quantum theory, but these people don't). Timeline also suffered from budget and production difficulties. Production was shut down in France due to "outlandish location difficulties." All the French scenes were then re-created in Montreal. I would have given this movie a one-star rating but I like actors Billy Connolly and David Thewlis, and just couldn't do that to them. Boys, start picking better scripts.
   Timeline never quite meets the challenge set by Crichton's novel. Where The 13th Warrior did justice to Eaters Of The Dead, Timeline falls flat on its face. Just by the book instead.

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