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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.33%
Worth A Look: 19.05%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad: 9.52%
Total Crap38.1%

6 reviews, 48 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"I told them we've already got one!"
3 stars

The idea in "Timeline" is that since the fax machine transports documents from one place to another, it should be possible to transport people the same way. Somehow the movie overlooks that when you fax something, you're not sending the ACTUAL thing over the phone lines; the original stays where you are and a COPY is sent. So if the science is the same, then they should be sending COPIES of people to far-off places, and the actual people should stay behind. But of course that's not what happens, they send the actual people, by breaking down their atoms and rebuilding them somewhere else, apparently believing this is what fax machines do. But in the process of transporting people, they encounter a wormhole that takes them back to April 4, 1357, in Castlegard, France, on the very day of a pivotal battle between the French and the English!

"Timeline" is the sort of easy-going potboiler that you can sit back and enjoy because, despite being hopelessly stupid, it at least refrains from being irritating or boring. (Truly awful movies are usually one or both of those.) It's a thick, meaty slab of badness with no irony or cynicism, the kind of earnest Saturday-matinee material that is best enjoyed with a cadre of light-minded friends. I'm not a drinker myself, but I can imagine the benefits of imbibing before or during the viewing of "Timeline."

It's a company generically called International Technology Corporation that has devised this human-fax-machine-turned-time-machine, and they've sent archeologist Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) back there, perhaps accidentally (I don't recall), and now he's stuck there. His son, Chris (Paul Walker), a dude-speaking non-archeologist who professes early on that he hates The Past, making him the first movie character I am aware of to declare The Past as his enemy, is eager to rescue him. He's accompanied by people from Dad's digging expedition: pretty Kate (Frances O'Connor), who's the reason Chris ever shows up at the digs; rugged Andre (Gerard Butler); and French Francois (Rossif Sutherland), needed for translation purposes. Oh, International Technology Corporation sends along two Marines, too, but you know what's going to happen to them.

They're all sent back in time with little medallions that, when pressed, will bring them home again. They have only six hours in which to find the professor; after six hours, it's TOO LATE! Or something. (I am fond of movies with arbitrary deadlines.)

So then we're in the 14th century, or at least the movie version of it, where everyone practices good dental hygiene and bathes often and where the French have all learned English and where the English speak not Chaucer-esque Middle English, but more like Victorian English, Sherlock Holmes-style. (Given the setting, thoughts of Monty Python are unavoidable.) Our heroes instantly run afoul of both the French and the English, each group thinking they're spies for the other, and some of them get killed. Not Andre, though, who hooks up with Lady Claire (Anna Friel), whom we've already been told plays a pivotal role in tonight's battle.

Ah, the goofiness of it all! There's dubious science, questionable history and outlandish accents oozing from each of the film's orifices. Paul Walker's surfer-boy dialect causes everything he says to sound ridiculous, even basic statements such as, "It is a nice day." When he remarks that rescuing his dad should be easy due to having 700 years of knowledge over his captors, all I can think is, "Yeah, you'd think so, wouldn't you?" He inspires little confidence even in his ability to perform simple tasks.

The director is Richard Donner, who gave us "Superman," "The Goonies" and the "Lethal Weapon" movies. His track record for entertaining action films speaks for itself, and I doubt he or anyone involved with "Timeline" imagined that anything special was being produced. The film is not overly ambitious, but neither is it lazy. It works hard at its dumbness, and it's eager to please. For what it's worth, it's probably the most enjoyable bad movie of the year.

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originally posted: 11/26/03 11:45:46
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User Comments

11/01/12 Monday Morning I wanna go back too! But with a rifle! 4 stars
6/07/11 Silkworm Here we go again ANOTHER film about time travel 1 stars
6/26/09 KC It was awful but I still enjoyed it! Great with a few beers late at night. 3 stars
7/28/08 Vickie Johnson a little hard to follow,but very interesting!!! 5 stars
12/16/07 RLK Pretty Good Movie! I really enjoyed it 4 stars
6/25/07 Penny Loved it. It was great. Was a good action packed movie. 5 stars
4/16/07 Christop One of THE WORST MOVIES OF ALL TIME! 1 stars
11/20/06 jazz the movie was confusing yet we enjoyed least i learned some french now...hehe 4 stars
7/29/06 kat it was awesome. i loved it!!!!! 5 stars
5/06/06 Ashley Hinz Enjoyable little time travel piece. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Goodish film 3 stars
1/16/06 Jeff Anderson A rare misstep for Richard Donner. Amazingly cheap-looking(for a big budget)& atrocious!!!! 1 stars
10/11/05 Dan Good movie! 4 stars
9/02/05 othree "I wish i could go back in time" & not have watched it, sucks, did Disney make this?! 1 stars
8/19/05 ES Rent it and regret it 1 stars
8/16/05 tatum Nice cast in instantly forgettable film 3 stars
5/03/05 Quigley what a crap-fest! lame battles, atrocious acting, boring sci-fi - must i continue? no way! 1 stars
1/04/05 Cyberdiver I wish i could go back in time, I'd be rich when I came back. ;) 5 stars
11/01/04 Charles S. Lewis though a work of FICTION, It's an excellent movie. I enjoyed it well enough to purchase it 5 stars
10/20/04 arwen Olena this movie was not the best movieever but i enjoyed the french aspect of it 4 stars
6/09/04 Preston Gaddis HORRIBLE 1 stars
5/06/04 Olli B. Good Movie 4 stars
4/17/04 American Slasher Goddess Pretty bad, it should have been much better then what it was. 2 stars
2/09/04 Tom Cruise C'mon people i saw this movie and it was a very good movie 5 stars
2/03/04 Eloise Truely awful. The worst film i have ever seen. 1 stars
1/31/04 Outside Food Girl Isaw it for $1.50, which gives it twoextra stars right there 4 stars
1/23/04 Jenny Tullwatrz Intriguing concept; battle scenes from 1357 too chaotic and confusing, though. 3 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Paul Walker should get a Razzie nomination for his amateurish work in this bad film. 1 stars
12/26/03 Uncle Salty Come on. Really. There are no more words. 1 stars
12/13/03 Donald Fox The war scene was great. The book was better. Actors' lines were too contrived. 4 stars
12/10/03 Desperado While this movie isnt great the book is awesome, just another Chrichton novel wasted 3 stars
12/08/03 Eloise lm i have ever seen, we walked out in disgust :( 1 stars
12/08/03 alex so french are the good guys? Or this movie is biased...Plus, didn't feel like past at all! 1 stars
12/08/03 Joe Plot holes that you could drive a truck through. Characters are lemmings. 1 stars
12/07/03 crazy it was a very good movie,good story too. 5 stars
12/02/03 Setesh Godgrik At leat all the main characters were in this one 2 stars
12/02/03 HangMikeMyersforFuckinguptheCat What did you people expect? Paul Walker's in it!!! 1 stars
12/01/03 wesley cox horrible 1 stars
11/30/03 Marcus Yes, one of the worst movies of the decade 1 stars
11/30/03 twhmmh too many characters, not enough development 3 stars
11/30/03 Xalt Interesting story, but it felt like a lot of details were left out. Read the book too. 3 stars
11/30/03 --- I'd rather be flogged to death by Hitler then watch this movie again 1 stars
11/29/03 Tess Houck Read the book! 3 stars
11/29/03 Jack the Dagger terrible paul walker sucks ass storyline sucks everything. waste of my time and money 1 stars
11/28/03 St Olaf Swimmer So sorry I wasted money on this movie 1 stars
11/27/03 ajay pace is so quick, they gloss over loads of details. Paul Walker is so bad it's funny. 3 stars
11/27/03 Herbert Primig a bit short on plot and charachterization to be sure but action that feels exiting and real 4 stars
11/27/03 Frank Lynch I want my $6 back 1 stars
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  26-Nov-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Apr-2004



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