April 14, 2010



I have issues with this film, for a while it was a guilty pleasure film of mine because the story is pretty interesting, it tugs on some heart strings, and who doesn’t want to have a tip to go back in time and invest in someone like Microsoft or Yahoo and get rich off of it?  However, when I think back on the film, which I haven’t watched in a little while, but I have seen probably three times, I’m just not so sure I like it as much as I thought.  It is a quite contrived story that the talent pulls off fairly well, but it doesn’t pop as much as you’d like it to.

The story begins with John Sullivan, played by James Caviezel, monkeying around with an old radio of his fathers.  An odd phenomena happens and suddenly the radio is able to link into the past, just before his father, Frank Sullivan, played by Dennis Quaid, is killed in a fire.  John realizes what has happened and he decides to save his father.  Like in any good time travel film, there is a noticeable butterfly effect and every change that John makes in the past comes shooting forward in ways that you basically expect.  This part of the story isn’t all that bad and does tug at ones heart strings.  The problem is that they try and work in this whole secondary serial killer plot that drags from time period to time period because of the butterfly effect.  This part of the story is just too contrived and just doesn’t flow as well as the rest of the story.  The other thing that I’m not a huge fan of with this story is the end.  It is the end that you expect to see the whole time, the typical wrap everything up with a pretty ribbon ending that all good Hollywood films end with, which will from here on be referred to as a Hollywood ending with no more explanation as to what it is.

The two lead performances as are solid.  James Caviezel can act decently well.  There are points in the film where his character could be more believable, but he does a solid job throughout, just with a little limited emotion.  Dennis Quaid is in one of his better roles.  He does a good job as a concerned parent or concerned leader situation, i.e. G.I. Joe and The Day After Tomorrow, but his acting talent isn’t anything all that special.  The rest of the rolls are filled in by smaller actors and actresses who do a serviceable job, but none of the performances are really all that memorable.  Michael Cera even makes an appearance as one of the little kids in the film, something I didn’t realize until recently.  Oddly enough, it isn’t his typical Michael Cera type of role.

Visually this film does a solid job of creating the same town in two different time periods.  But it is less impressive then it sounds, like most fairly small towns, not all that much changes.  The old houses might get a new coat of paint and the vehicles will look newer and the trees a bit larger, but small towns don’t change that much in a twenty (or so) year period of time.  Gregory Hoblit does a solid job with his direction in this film and while I do remember this film fairly well, he wasn’t able to create that one reason why.  It’s more something I remember just because of repetition of seeing it.

This film isn’t anything great and to truly enjoy it you have to be able to turn off your brain for a little bit and just watch it as a guilty pleasure of a time travel-esque film.  It lacks the substance to allow for deeper thinking.  It isn’t a bad film and it will definitely entertain, but there have been better films made along this line that have come out.  Although, time travel is generally a very sticky type of film to be made because so many of them end up being very cheesy or leave massive plot gaps.

Entertainment Grade: B-

Critical Grade: B

Overall Grade: B-


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