Timeline

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Isis, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    Timeline
    Directed by Richard Donner
    Rated PG 13

    I've come to not expect much in the way of historical accuracy from Hollywood these days. The plot was weak to begin with and there were so many problems with the historical aspect, I couldn't help but make snide remarks to my friend during the film.

    Synopsis: Chris's dad is an archaeologist and he is heading a dig that is being mysteriously funded in France. Suddenly, Chris's dad goes missing. Chris makes a few calls and the whole company troops down to New Mexico to meet with the dig's benefactors. Turns out they have invented a way to "fax" 3-D objects through space. Unfortunately, they haven't got all the kinks worked out. For some reason, whatever they send through their "fax machine" gets sent back to 1357 France, which is why they have been funding the dig at the same location in modern times. Chris's dad, of course, got sent back to 1357 and they have been unable to locate him. It's up to this team of grad students and archaeologists to travel back in time to find the professor. On the way they kill some of the locals, one of them falls in love with a woman who is destined to die, and completely disrupt the timeline.

    As a student of Anthropology and linguistics, I had many problems with this film.

    1) Have any of these people even read Chaucer? In 1357, the English were NOT speaking modern english. They were speaking Middle English, which is extremely difficult to understand. Also, the French, conviently enough, also understood modern english. This made no sense to me. Only on a few occassions were the French actually speaking French, but they were speaking modern French, not 1357 French. The fact that Chris and his pals were able to communicate with the locals with relatively no problems was mighty convienient.

    2) The archaeologist Andre fell in love with Claire, who was destined to be hung in front of all her people and turn the tide of the ongoing war between the English and the French. Andre, of course, saves her life several times and prevents her death. (It's convienient that the French end up winning anyway, as history dictates). A REAL archaeologist would appreciate the timeline and should have enough integrity to not interact at all. Also, all of the other characters end up killing locals and interacting with people. How did they know that they didn't inadvertently kill their ancestor and, therefore, cause themselves to cease to exist? Archaeologists are trained professionals. They are trained to appreciate history and to know that what is in the past is written in stone and unchangeable. Andre was a romantic and obviously got his degree through the mail or somethign because no reputable university would teach a student to act in such a manner.

    3) on the tomb Andre shows to Chris in the beginning, there is no writting and he doesn't know who is in there. But, when they all return, the inscription is there and it is obviously the words of Andre, who has married Claire. Did this writting just suddenly appear out of nowhere? Shouldn't it have been there from the beginning since it had all already happened in the past? I mean, they found the glasses and the call for help in the monestary, why wouldnt they have found the inscription on the tomb? And why would Andre be teaching about the death of Claire to the students if she did not die in the past? When Andre was teaching those students, 1357 had already happened, Andre had already gone into the past and married claire, thereby preventing her death. It shoudl have been written in the textbooks that Claire didn't die and that she married a Scottish man (andre).

    These are the problems with time travel and with interacting with the timeline. It can cause irreversable damage and unforseen problems in the future. Thank goodness time travel isn't possible (yet). I give this movie 2 stars out of 5. I can only hope that the book is better than the movie.

    For an excellent book on time travel (and REAL historians and real issues regarding the problems of time travel) I highly reccommend The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It's about a woman who goes back to the Middle Ages and has to deal with language problems (not everyone automatically knows modern english), the Black Death, and how to get back without disrupting the timeline (something the characters in this movie are obviously not concerned with).
     
  2. Gûd Daedheloth

    Gûd Daedheloth Foe of Morgoth's Realm

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    Well, I can see some of your points, but here's my opinion on them...

    1) They were speaking modern english so that the 99.99% of people going to see the movie could understand them.

    2) They had to kill those people to stay alive. I doubt that even the most devout archaeologist would just stand there and not disrupt the timeline while his life was on the line. Marek fell in love with Claire. That just simply clouded his thinking, as love does in both 1357 and 2003.

    3) The inscription "wasn't there" before because they hadn't totally uncovered the gravesite yet. The inscription was still buried. Though I agree that the temporal mechanics of the movie were slightly off, such as the disagreeing instances of Lady Claire's hanging and Marek's grave being in the same timeline. Though I did think that it was good for the movie and most people won't care or notice. I've just watched too many Star Trek episodes on time travel not to notice. :)

    Like I've said, I loved the movie, and found it to be one of my most entertaining and enjoyable movie experiences since, well, the 15 times I've seen the LotRs. :D
     
  3. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    lol. im a huge star trek fan too, and ive also seen too many episodes on time travel. i guess im just an idealist and a perfectionist. i wouldnt have minded seeing it in subtitles and watching the modern day archaeologists trying to udnerstand 1357 language, that might have been funny. Heck, if you want to talk good time travel movies, I liked Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Now, THAT was good, hehe.
     
  4. Broknpotre

    Broknpotre I know kung fu...

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    You've got some good points, Isis, but I would argue one of them with you. Archeologists may be trained professionals, but they are trained to study history, not to travel in it. Unless one is an archeologists AND and a devout science fiction fan, one probably wouldn't ever consider the ramifications of dabbling about in the past. Not only that, but someone who is taught that the past is set in stone is most likely going to assume that since it already happened, nothing that they do will change it. Especially since time travel isn't currently possible, there is absolutely no reason for a university to teach its students to act in any manner while travelling in the past. I'd say their behavior was pretty realistic, at least for the majority of people who might get stuck in that sort of situation.
     
  5. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    Broknpotre: well, i can see how Chris's and Kate's behavior might be passable, but certianly not Andre's for the reasons I discussed above. Even a hopeless romantic should have enough sense as a professional to know to act like one. He is on a mission to save his boss, not rescue some chick destined to be hanged. And I guess I can sort of understand the professor giving them greek fire just to save his neck, i mean i know i wouldn't want to die, especially not under those conditions. But not Andre, his behavior bothered me, especially since he knew that Claire HAD to die. that HAD to happen, so why would he interfere and prevent her death? i know the french still won, but come on, she was supposed to die. what if her decendents turned out to be mass murderers or something, people who were not supposed to exist.
     
  6. Broknpotre

    Broknpotre I know kung fu...

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    Actually, I can't speak to specifics, since I didn't even go see the movie. :D I was just making a general argument about your general statements. From what I've read and heard, the movie has much bigger problems than even what you mentioned. In fact, I heard the CEO of Paramount made a public apology to the shareholders because of how much the movie sucks.
     
  7. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    lol. i could understand that appology. as for time travel movies, i really liked the Time Machine. then again, i'm a big fan of H.G. Wells, even if the movie wasn't really like the book, i thought it was very original how they showed the passage of time when the main charac was travelling through time. Also, The Doomsday Book, as i think i have mentioned other places if not here, is another great example of a more "correct" (if one can say such a thing) way of time travelling by a real student of history and archaeology.
     
  8. Gûd Daedheloth

    Gûd Daedheloth Foe of Morgoth's Realm

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    Well, Marek didn't even find out that Claire was Claire until after he had rescued her.
     
  9. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

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    isis since your somup on the accuracy thing..im writng a book about timetraveler adn in the part where they travel to the middle ages they characters will speak actual middle english..which means i have to learn it.......does anyone know middle english?lol
     
  10. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    Gud, still i stand by my convictions against this film.

    sarah: good luck. try reading chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in its original language (maybe with the translated version side by side). i read the translated version, and it makes for good reading anyway.
     
  11. Dystopia Eternal

    Dystopia Eternal The Windbringer

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    Jeez, i dont think the movie was that bad. I mean, come on, it was kinda cool to see the flaming arrows and greek fire, but out of 10, i'd probably rate it a 4.5 or something (with 1 being the worst and 10 being the lord of the rings)
     
  12. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    sure, it was action-packed. would you have gone to see it otherwise?
     
  13. Gûd Daedheloth

    Gûd Daedheloth Foe of Morgoth's Realm

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    I like movies about medieval times and sci-fi, though I'm not a perfectionist. Those are other reasons that I went, besides some pretty cool fights. Oh, and I wanted to see David Thewlis and Martin Csokas.
     
  14. Jessehk

    Jessehk The introverted

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    I have read the book (when I was 11) and let me just say it is MUCH better than the movie. There was alot more of a scientific explanations for time travel ( quantum physics, not fax). and alot more detail than in the movie. As well, they speak in old english and have difficulty speaking, and languages are quite accurate. I would completley recomend the book to anyone who is interested in the movie's concept, but dissapointed by the movie itself. For the book I give a rating of 8 out of 10 ( or 4 out of 5 )
     
  15. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    jessehk, thanks. perhaps i will try the book. i'm glad to hear that it explains a lot more than the movie did.