Paramount Home Entertainment
Date: April 13, 2004
Review posted: April 27, 2004
professor Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) gets stuck in 14th
century France after a company's time-travel machine malfunctioned
and lost his signal. His only chance to return lies in the hands
of his son Chris (Paul Walker), his assistant professor Andre (Gerard Butler)
and several of his students (including Frances O'Connor). The team must make the same
treacherous journey and, with the deadline of only eight hours,
must navigate through the hostile, war-torn territory and retrieve
the professor before he's lost to history forever.
the sort of film adaptation that gets muddled and toned down in
the scripting stage. The script tells a straight-forward story in
the beginning, but it gets more and more basic as time goes on. It
forces a scenario on the viewers, time travel once again, and then hopes to make it
interesting with some action and a romance subplot. This doesn't
quite work. The central conflict in the script is the race
against time, which could've been interesting if done right, but
it lacks intensity. There is some conflict between the characters
later, but this seems forced and doesn't achieve much.
the events in 14th century France and present day, the scientists
desperately try to rebuild the machine, break any kind of flow the
film may have. What once was a rescue mission for the Professor
turns into a grand spectacle of a battle between the French and
English, and the characters just happen to stumble into the
conflict. This would be fine if the characters were interesting,
but they're not. The only character I liked was Gerard Butler's
Andre Marek, the actor giving a good performance in an average
The rest of the
actors do alright, except for Paul Walker who is
miscast as the film's lead. He doesn't have the emotional reach or
the needed pull factor required for the role (he has to rescue his
father). With the film riding on the character's emotions, the
viewer's involvement in the drama is lost.
Director Richard Donner
stages a few well-done action scenes, but there's nothing in
Timeline that distinguishes the work from his previous and much
better films. The film's production design and sets are enormous and look
really good, plus Brian Tyler's score gives some tension to
several scenes. Timeline is not entirely without
entertainment value, but in the end it's rather forgettable.
Timeline in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The print image is
in good condition with only a few minor flaws. Colors are clear
and bright, but some exterior scenes look a bit cold. Grain
appears from time to time, as do a handful of specks. Definition
is good, sharpness is fine. Compression artifacts do not show
up, but a bit of edge enhancement does. Black levels and dark
tones look pretty good.
Timeline in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. Dialogue is
clear and easy to understand, yet some sentences are slightly
muffled. Sound effects are nicely reinforced by the surrounds,
but surround usage is limited to the action scenes. The front
speakers handle most of the soundtrack. Brian Tyler's score
sounds nice. Not the strongest or liveliest track I've heard,
but good nonetheless.
The DVD includes a
well-done, three-part making of documentary called Journey
Through Timeline (45:09) that's directed by Jonathan
Gaines. You can play all three parts individually or as one.
Setting Time covers the action and behind-the-scenes on the
forest shoot, as well as the preparation of the time machine's
explosion. Somewhere in here the director and producer (Lauren
Shuler Donner) reveal the script went from several writers to
various drafts, a sign that's most likely the reason why
the film is not that good.
The Knights of La Roque details the
preparation and shoot of the final battle at the castle with
some good behind-the-scenes footage. The idea of the photo
collage is pretty interesting.
Making Their Own History
deals with the last day of production, but starts with a joke
played on Paul Walker whose tan and make-up apparently don't
match continuity. Cast and crew give their final thoughts on
their experience. The last shot consists of the entire cast and
crew posing for a group picture, which was nice. The amount of
enthusiasm from the actors and crew in this documentary I sadly
The Textures of
Timeline (18:16) shows early animatics and blue
screen work, reveals the costumes and miniature models, tracks
the scoring session with Brian Tyler, features film clips, and
on-set footage and interviews.
Both of the film's theatrical
trailers are included, as are Paramount preview trailers.
The DVD menu exists in two ways, one in a futuristic style
(2003) and the other in medieval style (1357). Not sure what the
point is, but it's something else.
115-minute feature is organized into sixteen chapters.
The disc comes in an Amaray keepcase with the new snaps on the
A miscast Paul Walker
leads a group of people back to 14th century France in Timeline, a film
adaptation that lacks characterization and conflict, essentially
lacking drama. The action scenes provide decent entertainment,
however. Paramount's DVD edition is good, with pretty nice
video/audio quality and several interesting supplements.
VERDICT: RENT IT
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