A Film Review By The Mike
|Rating:RATED PG-13 for Intense Historic Violence!
Starring: Paul Walker, Gerard Butler
Directed By: Richard Donner
These are the kind of thoughts that will no doubt race through your mind if you partake in Timeline, the latest Sci-Fi/Actioner from Richard Donner. It’s a film that’s among the most ludicrously plotted I’ve ever seen, and at no point makes any real sense.
The story, in short is this. An archaeologist somehow ends up being transported through a “wormhole” into the middle of The 100 Year War between France and England in the year 1357. We know this, because ever twelve seconds we are told so. Especially once the characters get to the year 1357. Said characters are a group of said archaeologist’s team whom have been sent to save him, along with his son.
Said son is played by everyone’s favorite actor, Paul Walker. By favorite, I mean the guy 99% of critics and filmgoers with brains want dead or mute. Personally, I don’t think he’s a horrible actor. I don’t think he’s good either, but he can be serviceable (i.e., Joy Ride). That being said, his performance in this film is horrible, as he spews horrible dialogue often. Granted, the dialogue’s not his fault.
That would be the fault of the script, which has to be one of the least coherent and most audacious I’ve ever seen. There are several plot devices that are brought up as important and never resolved, instead filling time with battle scenes. The battle scenes really aren’t that good either, but are decent enough for a direct to video film. Oh wait…this is a film with an 80 million dollar budget, not a direct to video film…Oops.
I’ve been really hard on it so far, but Timeline isn’t really that horrible of a movie. It never takes itself too seriously, and manages to keep us interested even when we really know we shouldn’t be interested. This could be due to the frantically inspired pacing, and the intertwining of the different characters’ stories. There are a several subplots at a time, and many of them are surprisingly well done.
The best of these is the story line revolving around the character Andre Marek, played by the wonderfully intense Gerard Butler. The actor who helped lift films like Tomb Raider 2 and Dracula 2000 from pitiful to mediocre does his magic again here. There were many times throughout that I was ready to dump it into the F grade bin, but Butler kept showing up exactly when the film needed him. In fact, he probably gets more screentime than Walker, and definitely gets more of a heroic push than Walker. Now if someone would only give him a real starring role!
Timeline is basically a popcorn flick, and that puts it above several of its shortcomings. But it’s too stupid in script and too weak in explanation to overcome all of them. It’s surprisingly not one of the worst movies of the year, but it’s nowhere near being good either. Unless you’re into thoughts like the ones at the top of this review, don’t bother seeing Timeline without a time machine that will take you back two hours after it ends.