Let’s be fair here. It was a crappy book. It was a crappy script. Why would anyone expect the film to be anything but crappy? Beats me, but my expectations with Timeline were so low going in, the only thing I was expecting was that it would be at least a little bit BETTER than The Cat in the Hat. Blessedly, I was right on that account.
The film is choppier than a cobb salad. They gloss over certain plot points, and try to infuse the film with a romantic sub-plot, but it just falls flat. About as flat as Paul Walker’s acting. In the end, the film is a recue mission – a mission to rescue Billy Connelly. Wow. Hell, after what he did to “Head of the Class”, I’d leave him in 14th century France!
Richard Donner, who has done better films – like Ladyhawke and Lethal Weapon 4 (yes, that’s right – I went there….) must have been so frustrated with this film. Or tired. Or both. There’s just no real “heart” to it – or style. In the end, we’re left with a few neat action pieces, with a rather shallow shell of a film surrounding it. And it’s almost 2 hours long.
Interestingly enough, the screening started 10 minutes early. I’ve never in my life encountered that. Ever. I doubt I will again, which is a shame.
I wish they spent a little bit of time explaining the technology that made the time travel possible. In the novel, Michael Crichton spends a great deal of time describing it – with the parallel universes, and whatnot – but in the film, it’s just a tossaway line, “oh, you’d need a quantum computer to do that!”. Sigh.
Brian Tyler’s score is fun, and services the film. But part of it sounds just a bit too much like Children of Dune (which is a great score of his). I’ll make up my mind when I get the album, though. Goldsmith’s score, which was unused because he left the project after constant rewrites (he was NOT kicked off as many people think), is pretty good, after a while. It grows on you, and sounds like First Knight meets Air Force One meets Star Trek Nemesis. Ah well.
Timeline is a rental. That’s all it should be. Or if it’s on television, and you’re bored. A shame, too – they could have made something interesting, but instead just whipped it out.