01 June 2011

30 May - "We need cultural experts, not scientists"

Timeline (2003)
dir. Richard Donner - Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Paul Walker - She's All That (1999)
Gerard Butler - Nim's Island (2008)
Frances O'ConnorA.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Billy Connolly - The Boondock Saints (1999)
Anna Friel - A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)
Matt Craven - Disturbia (2007)
Ethan Embry - Pizza (2005)
Michael Sheen - Blood Diamond (2006)
Neal McDonough - Tin Man (2007)
Stephanie Biddle - The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Amy Sloan - A Diva's Christmas Carol (TV 2000)
Marton Csokas - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Timeline is based on a Michael Crichton novel, like Jurassic Park and Congo, but not like Outbreak. This is about a group of archaeologists who are sent back in time by a technology corporation that has been funding their research into medieval France. They have to go back to rescue their Professor, because he was accidentally left behind in a previous trip. So they are plopped down in the middle of the hundred years war the day before the big invasion, ruh roh!

What I like about this movie is the utter lack of concern for a technological explanation (A 3D fax machine and a wormhole, OK let's go!), even though that's what takes up the lion's share of any Crichton novel. I also recall that one of the big conflicts in the book was the language barrier. All the old-timey people were speaking Ye Olde Angle-ese and no one could understand what was going on, but they chose to streamline that conflict in the movie and all the English folks were as comprehensible as one of Darth Vader's generals. They didn't even blink an eye at the wonky accents of our Heroes ("We're Scottish!" Assures Gerard Butler in a sexy way)

So the good guys are the French and the English are uniformly evil. The saddest part is when Francois gets skewered by Lord Oliver because he can't hide his French accent, awww.

Conclusions: Fun! A adventure in a more esoteric time period, which keeps things unpredictable, although I would have preferred if the storyline had remained more neutral in picking favorites between historical figures (I'm sure the invading English had some redeeming qualities, The Tudors seemed to work it out, well enough.) I was also disenchanted by Paul Walker as the lead, he was far upstaged by Gerard Butler, who is a better actor (and that's saying a lot) and had a more interesting character. The romance between Chris and Kate was poorly developed and unnecessary to the plot, they should have eliminated Walker's character and allowed O'Connor to carry those scenes on her own, and stuck to the dual conflicts of rescuing the Professor and Lady Claire.

I still enjoyed it, though!

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