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Another Trip Back To Richard Donner’s TIMELINE!!

Category: Timeline News
Article Date: October 24, 2002 | Publication: Ain't It Cool News | Author: Millie Dilmount

Posted by: admin

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
An old friend dropped me an e-mail the other day to tell me that he’s heard from inside the Donner camp that they are very, very pleased with the feedback from the screening the other night, and based on the reviews we’re getting in, I would imagine that’s true. People seem to really be enjoying this film. Maybe not every single thing about it, but enough. It looks like Donner may have a hit on his hands here. Let’s see what today’s reviewer has to say...

I, too, saw Timeline last Sunday, and since I had a different opinion, I thought I'd drop you a line. I would have written earlier, but midterms have claimed my attention.

So, down to the review.

The Good:

The characters. Specifically, the supporting cast (in other words, everyone except Paul Walker). None of them were people I recognized, but they all did very well. The best part was despite the fact that it was an ensemble, the screenwriter didn’t fall into stereotypes in order to make each person distinct. They all have their own personalities, but they aren’t clichés. That’s a difficult task to achieve. In an overall pretty good cast, three stood out: Merrick (Scots boy), Kate (the girlfriend) and Claire (the other girlfriend—no, not that kind of other girlfriend. Get your minds out of the gutters.). The combination of acting and writing on these characters combined quite well, and one gets the impression through their treatment in the film that they were the director’s favorite as well.

The sets: were lovely. It was like watching a historian’s wet-dream. Almost like PBS, if PBS had a multi-million dollar budget and showed heads getting cut off (I bet they’d have more pledges if they did). At any rate, it seemed to me there was very little computer-animation, and this only made it all of the cooler, since there were no little “clues” to jolt you out of the feeling that you were in medieval France. So, décor gets an “A +” from me.

The action: Was pretty realistic, and cool. From heads getting chopped off, to one of the greatest castle-sieges I have ever seen, I would rate this fairly high on the Action Scale of Goodness. “A – “ Or maybe it’s just the flaming trebuchets of doom that are influencing my opinion. Mmmm... Trebuchets...

The Mediocre:

Paul (yawn) Walker. Another cocky, effeminate man-boy from the Hollywood cookie cutter factory. Need I say more? He’s not bad, he’s not good, and he’s not particularly engaging.

The story. Sure it picks up after they go back in time, but the build up to that point takes way too long, and includes a lot of needless exposition on Paul Walker’s relationship with Kate. Why have exposition when you can have swordfights? I mean, really? Also, there are some points where the sequence of events simply doesn’t make sense. For instance, one moment ITC won’t tell Pauley boy where his daddy went, and the second their begging for his help. Things that make you go, “Hunh? What did I miss?”

The romance. What was there was good, what was there. With two romantic subplots, you’d think there’d be plenty going around. You would think wrong. IE, not enough development.

The Bad:

The main opposition, if you can even call him that. First of all, the actor was terrible. Second of all, his actions later in the film make little and no sense. Which actor? Let's just say, anyone who was a bad guy would fit the above comments.

A very cheesy montage at the end that was simply not needed.

Some fairly obvious foreshadowing that the film could have done without. “Look, it has no ear.” “Are you sure it has no ear?” “Yes, see, right there, no ear.” “Why you’re right! It has no ear!” (insert eye roll here)

The editing. I don’t know if this was because it was an early cut, but I do know it was the most obnoxious part of the whole film. They cut too quickly, jumping from one action scene to another to another before you had a chance to figure out what was happening. Hello, intensity curve, anyone, anyone? I thought people learned that in editing school. And I can understand that by doing that, they’re going for the sense of urgency, but this, combined with aforementioned plot holes, really only left me with a sense of confusion. And the desire to see more of the action I’d missed out on.

The conclusion, good, but not great. Sort of a fun date-movie, and a pretty original idea. Or at least one that hasn’t been done for a while. It was better than "The Core" and "A Knight's Tale," at least. Fix the problems I mentioned (something that is very doable, at this stage) and they could have a pretty good hit on their hands. Otherwise, it will be another here and gone.

Have a great day!

Thanks, Millie. Nicely done. Can’t wait to get a peek at this one for myself...


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