Monday, December 01, 2003

Speaking of time travel, can I get those two hours back?

The Husband and I and a friend went to see Timeline last night. I wish I'd seen this review beforehand.

Now for the spoiler laden quibbles.

I am all about mindless action adventures. Time travel, especially to the medieval period, appeals to me. And I like special effects, true love, heros with cool accents, and Billy Connolly. I don't even mind cliches.

Within reason.

I didn't hate the movie. I just walked out to go to the bathroom about halfway through and found the carpet in the hallway more interesting than the movie. I sat outside the theatre, listening and pondering the carpet (mostly thinking "who thought that a light and a dark plum would go with a light and a dark green if only they threw in some mustard yellow?" The movie was one long yell, punctuated a rare few times with silence when (I assumed and had later confirmed) the scene switched back into the lab.

While waiting outside, I also observed a few things

* Women going to the bathroom mid-movie are 3 to 1 to men. Smaller bladders or higher critical faculties?
* On Sunday, during the last showing, the multiplex employees rearrange the signs over the theatre doors to reflect where films will be moving to on Monday.
* I watched a man walk out of "Gothika" and go to the men's room. While he was gone, the employee changed the signs around, moving "Gothika" from theatre 3 to theatre 2. He walked back and, of course, went into the wrong theatre. It was perhaps 5 minutes before he came back out looking confused. I wonder if it was because the movie had changed or because someone else was sitting in his seat.

Ok, back to the movie. Yes, it's cliched. it has "improbables". This is not, in itself, a crime. However, all the cliches and improbables are loaded in at the start of the movie. For example, they made it abundantly clear that time travel was dangerous, difficult, hazardous, and not guaranteed of success. You have a limited window to do anything. You never know where you will land. You have to hold on to a return device. You can only use the device in a wide clear area. When you travel, it hurts and you take damage. It can kill you. You can't take anything modern back with you -- not ANYTHING. I repeat, nada, nothing, no, not happening. That's a lot. It's a hell of a lot.

So, when one of the "best men" aka cannon fodder guys takes a cannister style grenade back with him and, while getting shot full of arrows (because of the three ex-Marines, two can't take cover or run very fast), both pulls the pin AND activates his device, resulting in the distruction of the time travel machine and the lab that houses it -- well, I sort of felt overloaded with Terrible Awful Things. I already knew that we had a case of split heros -- the blond "fish outta water" with the love interest and the dark "man with a brain" who met a girl after they went back -- so I knew how things would end in general. I lost contact with the characters in the cliche roles pretty early on. Then I found myself speculating on who would get killed next. Then all the yelling started getting on my nerves. Then I had to go to the bathroom.

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