This movie for me was a pre-Thanksgiving tradeoff – I got to watch a movie for free with my parents paying for it, but it wasn’t exactly the most thrilling movie I’ve seen since Kill Bill: Volume 1 (highly recommended) came out a few months before this review.
So then, If I had to use one word to describe Timeline, a movie debuting with much hype for its star, Paul Walker, and a heavy pedigree, with Richard Donnor (of the Lethal Weapon movies) directing, and the script adapted from best-selling sci-fi author, Michael Crichton; what would that word be? The word that I would use would be “average”, and if pressed for a second word, I would say without hesitation “entertaining”. Yes, it was an average but entertaining film.
The plot is a fairly straightforward affair as megastar pretty-boy Paul Walker (star of the Fast and the Furious franchise) discovers to his badly acted chagrin, that his father, apparently the most brilliant scientist of all time, somehow discovered a “wormhole” leading to 1357 France which he promptly became trapped in. Shortly thereafter, Walker’s character, Chris, is sent by the government along with a rescue team, into the wormhole to find his father. The only catch is that they have to return in only a few hours otherwise they’ll be lost in time forever.
I don’t think I’m spoiling anything for the audience by saying that the plan doesn’t exactly go as planned. The excitement of the movie doesn’t go as well as planned either. Paul Walker bored me to tears in this movie. He displayed no range of character, did nearly nothing onscreen, and just seemed to be lurking about occasionally to get “face time”. And of course he gets the girl naturally. Sure, why wouldn’t he?
As for most of the other characters, they were awkward movie stereotypes: the military man with a hidden agenda, the gawky scientist that runs around googly-eyed and talking in high pitched tones the whole time, and the government employees who weren’t telling the whole truth of the operation to the rescue team.
So, despite the fact that most of the acting performances were poor, the other leading man in the picture (Gerard Butler) was surprisingly charismatic as he ran around 1357 France saving the damsel in distress, and sticking swords in people at the appropriate times.
And I didn’t really touch on how slapdash the plot seems, as it features several leaps of reality. The first is how quick the scientific explanation is for the government being able to send people back in time through a wormhole. It’s almost like if you say it fast enough you might be able to slip it past the audience. At least it seemed to me like they were going for that. Additionally, the rescue team themselves escapes capture and death several times, and are able to find each other in a relatively large area easily when separated.
Getting back to the beginning of the review, the movie is at least relatively entertaining, since it maintains a fast pace (which helps cover up the flaws) and features lots of killing, explosions, and even a little time for romance.
Admittedly the less keen eyed viewer may actually wholeheartedly like this film, but for the rest of us, it earns a shrug and a one thumb up.