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Have I been watching the same movie as some of the other reviewers
The first thing to realise before you sit down to watch this tedious plonker is that it is going to be a totally fruitless and unrewarding experience. The movie is plot free. Don't get me wrong - things happen - but nothing any of the characters do or say affects anything that happens throughout the whole movie. They just bob along, buffeted by a series of unexplained events that are totally outwith their control and they are powerless to change.
Basically what happens is this: after an interminably long montage of starscapes with a pontificating, portentous voice-over - always a dead giveaway that you are about to watch a REALLY bad SF movie - an all-American family move into their new home in the desert. Strange things start to happen, giant UFOs buzz the house, giant dinosaur things appear in the yard and try and eat each other, tiny UFOs invade the house (curiously these appear to have the ability to fly through windows without breaking them but have to use lasers to get through bedroom doors), tiny green people appear and tell the tiny UFOs to go away (bad UFO!). The house is mysteriously hurled into the future. Mom and little girl wander off and are lost in a swirling vortex of bad SFX. Rest of family are hurled even further into the future (?) get on their horses and ride off for no particular reason. Almost immediately they meet Mom, who hasn't died or been eaten by dinosaur things or learned to act, who says "it's all OK!". The end.
Seriously. That's it. Nothing is resolved. Nothing explained. No characters develop. Nothing.
Oh! I forgot the other "plotline". After dropping his family off at their new house, Dad has to go into the city to work. Dad decides to come home. Dad crashes car and finds horse. Dad rides home and witnesses firework display and vanishing house. Dad reacts to his entire family disappearing in front of his eyes with the same slack-jawed sonumbulistic non-acting with which he has shambled through the rest of the movie.
I assumed from the fact that Jim Brown gets to say "My God!" about 27 bejillion times through the course of the film and his "maybe it was meant to be... this is where we will make our new lives" speech at the end that in the end this was some sort of Christian allegory - and a bloody poor one at that.
Students of bad acting - and as a bad actor myself I watch out for this stuff - will enjoy Dorothy Malone's "awe" at the end. She looks like a fish having an orgasm. And since when has anyone in real life taken two steps forward to admire something in the distance? It happens all the time in bad movies. Think about the last time you saw a beautiful sunset. Did you take a step forward? "Oh look, the horizon is 20 miles away, the Sun is 93 million miles away I'll take a step forward to get a closer view." Cobblers!
This is a bad film. Most of it is boring. None of it makes any sense.
"The Day Time Ended" is marked by excellent special effects, an interesting
musical score, and some competent acting performances by Jim Davis as the
patriarch and by child actress Natasha Ryan (Actually, Natasha wasn't just
decent, she was excellent. The film would have benefited greatly if her
young mug had been on screen more). Natasha gives a performance that brings
to mind Angela Cartwright's persona on "Make Room For Daddy". The Angela
Cartwright connection doesn't end there, as there is a strong "Lost in
Space" influence to this flick. Dorothy Malone gives a June Lockhart-like
spin to the matriarch character, and the family-clan-wandering-around in a
lunar-like setting, with all manner of strangeness taking place around them,
was right out of "Lost in Space". If you imagine their Aztec-influenced
solar-powered house (w/matching barn) being a disk-shaped flying saucer
instead, then you will get the "Lost in Space" image. Missing is the comic
relief that Mr. Smith & The Robot brought to "Lost in Space".
Where this film went wrong -- it has some hokey dialogue, directing gaffs, and some poor editing. Marcy Lafferty (William Shatner's ex-wife) is given a particularly peculiar few lines of dialogue to recite near the end of the film. It is a moment that does real harm to the entire film, as it highlights the confused and muddled nature of the entire flick. Also, there are numerous scenes that seem like campy moments from a "Brady Bunch" episode, but they are not meant to be funny. For instance, Jenny getting out of bed to use the bathroom, Beth needing to sip on her wine while listening to Jenny deliver a line of dialogue, and the grandparents heading out into the desert night wearing bathrobes, are moments which would have fit in fine if this had been a campy comedy film.
By the way, the scene in which Jenny makes a trip to the bathroom epitomizes truly BAD filmmaking. First of all, the scene is completely unnecessary to the plot. Second of all, to be blunt -- it is a stupidly filmed scene, as the child manages to use the facilities in less than 10 seconds.
I notice that "Vortex" is an alternate title for "The Day Time Ended". "Vortex" is a more apt title for the flick -- "Lost in the Vortex" (or "Lost in Time") would have been an even better title, as it would have paid homage to "Lost in Space" while also paying homage to the "lost" nature of the screenplay (especially in the final act). The film brought to mind some better-made 1970s made-for-television sci-fi productions like "Logan's Run", "Isis", "Shazam", and "The Fantastic Journey" (the short-lived television series that Roddy McDowall appeared in).
I agree with IMDB reviewer CaptEcco who wrote of "The Day Time Ended" ending -- "It's like having a water balloon blow up in your hand before you've had the chance to throw it." This was almost a good sci-fi flick, instead, a few missteps turned it into a fair sci-fi flick.
DVD Note: I viewed "The Day Time Ended" from a 4-film DVD collection titled "Time Travelers". I've already watched three of the four films (the sound and picture quality hasn't been good). "The Day Time Ended" is an OUTSTANDING film compared to the first two that I've watched: "Journey to the Center of Time" and "In the Year 2889". Those two were wretched on so many levels. The one film of the four that I've yet to see is the Peter Fonda directed "Idaho Transfer". I'm hoping it will be the best of the four.
I recently returned to this film after having watched it 12 years ago
on VHS. (This time, I watched the 4:3 frame DVD included in the
Brentwood 4-DVD collection "Time Travelers," which, apparently, is the
best of the transfers out there; I've read the standalone transfer
isn't as good and contains atrocious artifacts.) Anyway, I remembered
originally liking the film for its peppy pacing and its honest
intentions. I was pleased to see those elements still intact. The film
whipped along a brisk pace, the characters were likable and acted well
enough, and the late 1970's "desert house of the future" provides a
pretty unique setting.
As is evident by the reviews already listed here on IMDb, it seems you are either a fan of the film or feel compelled to hound it for its technical shortcomings--shortcomings, by the way, which are many. (Let's at least be honest while we temporarily kneel at the alter of director John "Bud" Cardos.) I understand the stop motion prehistoric creatures are animated by none other than icon Dave Allen, and there are precious matte paintings by film artist extraordinaire Jim Danforth, but let's face it. The low budget nature of the flick really shines through (in a bad way) during the effects-heavy sceneswhich account for about half the film. As many reviewers have pointed out, "The Day Time Ended" does at times feel like a very-poor-man's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Considering this film was screened 2 years after "Close Encounters," the Spielbergian influences can't be hidden. You've got low-flying, multicolored UFOs whipping down deserted highways that stretch through the mountains. You've got the little child (inevitably kidnapped) who is inexorably drawn to the aliens and their technology, etc. (By the way, if this film reminds anyone of "E.T.," remember you are a few years too soonthat film wouldn't be made for at least another two years after "The Day Time Ended.").
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this film was made on the cusp of the made-for-video revolution (my books say 1979, not 1980), so I'm not certain about its actual theatrical release. The film feels as though it was prepared for a major releasethough its short running time just barely makes it full-length. Overall, the production values hint at something larger than later Full Moon-era Richard Band releases (Puppetmaster 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 12) which were clearly made for the video-shelf-small-screen. But like many of Richard Band's releases, the ambidextrous Band does the music himself. His orchestral flourishes really aren't all that bad.
But speaking of bad, something VERY bad happens around the 60-minute mark. The film's plotwhat little was establishedfalls completely to shreds. As the family is attacked by every SPFX artist on the set, the story is, literally, tossed into the vortex. By the end, the family (which has been torn asunder in time and space with much crashing of cymbals and whirling of stars) suddenly and inexplicably reunites at the edge of a crystal city glimmering in the distance. They all sort of shrug their shoulders, hop on their horses, and head to their "new home" (a pretty, futuristic matte painting by none other than Jim Danforth). Problem is, none of the family members seem particularly bothered by any of it. They're not bothered by the fact that their houseindeed their entire world and its civilizationhas vanished. Heck, they've got each other, and, who knows, "Maybe this was all meant to happen," as Jim Davis, the family patriarch, says. Yeah, right! In fact, this saccharine reunion takes place so quickly after the family members are separated in the "timespace warp," that the viewer never really gets a chance to worry about what is happeningyou end up not caring about their plight, or their new circumstances, at all. Of course, you might say, "What do you expect from a below-B science fiction flick?" The problem is that for the first 60 minutes of the film, the characters are believable, likable, rational folk beset by otherworldly forces, and they react accordingly (most of the time). Unfortunately, those established characters inexplicably evaporate at the end, and the story and characters really fall apart as they mundanely saunter their way into the future. This comes damn, damn close to wrecking the entire film.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've seen John "Bud" Cardos do this kind of thing. Maybe it's his shtickwrecking a film just during the last few minutes.
Considering it was made on a low budget, THE DAY TIME ENDED manages to make
the most of its budget with some surprisingly good special effects
The story involves a family who are about to move into their solar-powered home in an isolated part of the Mojave Desert in southwestern California, only to find it trashed--by motorcycle vandals, they think. But their youngest daughter (Natasha Ryan) has begun to see mysterious things--a green pyramid, strange humanoid figures, etc. And only recently, the light from a trinary star explosion has caused extremely unusual auroras to show up in the desert skies. Thus the family, led by Jim Davis and Dorothy Malone, finds themselves face-to-face with strange alien forces who have put them in a time-and-space warp.
Mixing in elements of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, THE DAY TIME ENDED, despite its obvious flaws and uneven acting, remains interesting due to the superb special effects work of David Allen. The desert setting is very appropriate for this film's close encounters; and while the movie cannot really be compared with either Kubrick's or Spielberg's films, THE DAY TIME ENDED is much better than many other 2001/CLOSE ENCOUNTERS knock-offs. I give credit to director John 'Bud' Cardos, whose 1977 thriller KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS made for an interesting precursor to ARACHNOPHOBIA, for at least trying--and on that basis, I give THE DAY TIME ENDED a 7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, now what the hell is this supposed to be? Is it a family fantasy
movie to cash in further on the huge success of Spielberg's "Close
Encounters of the Third Kind"? Or a throwback to the glorious days of
prehistoric epics such as "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" and "The
Lost World"? Perhaps it's an intellectual & philosophical masterpiece
we all fail to comprehend? Yes, that must be it! Whatever it is, the
creators of "The Day Time Ended" (good old John 'Bud' Cardos of
"Kingdom of the Spiders" and writer David Schmoeller of "Tourist Trap")
must have been sniffing quite a lot glue when they penned down the
ideas for this demented hodgepodge of genres. The story doesn't make
the slightest bit of sense and the narrative structure is incoherent as
hell but, hey, who cares as long as it's got papier-mâché dinosaurs,
miniature spacecrafts, headache-inducing light & laser shows and
spontaneously combusting supernovas! The voice-over introduction is
practically inaudible, but no worries as it's all gibberish! Did you
know that the definition of 'time' isn't what we all think it is? Time
doesn't necessarily pass by chronologically, it is one giant paradox!
Words that were spoken thousands of years ago are still floating around
now and even things that will happen in the future are already
surrounding us. I have absolutely NO idea what all this means, but
apparently it provides an easy excuse to gather tap-dancing midget
aliens and well-mannered dinosaurs on screen together. I deliberately
say well-mannered dinosaurs, because at a certain point one of the
prehistoric monsters politely knocks on the front door before menacing
his targets. The crazy plot revolves on a family of weirdos living in
their solar-powered house in the middle of nowhere. Grandpa is
extremely annoying, the granddaughter even more, granny is a walking &
talking advertisement billboard for plastic surgery, the youngest son
strangely resembles Prince Valiant and the young mother is
hot! Chris Mitchum for some reason also pointless wanders around the
filming sets as the hot mommy's husband on business travel. The special
effects are purely cheesy and absolutely laughable (I sincerely hope
that the other reviewer who talked about "excellent special effects"
was being sarcastic), but the absolute most genius aspect here are the
dialogs! Just read this wondrous example of extraordinary writing:
Grandpa: "You know what this is, don't you? This is a time-space warp!
Stevie: "I'm not quite sure if I know what that means, dad"
Grandpa: "Well, I guess nobody really does"
Make up your mind, gramps! Do you know what it is or don't you? And stop talking about "The Vortex" like you're some kind of expert in the field! "The Day Time Ended" is an incredibly childish and not-worth-bothering-for fantasy movie, though I can totally understand that some of its fans cherish the film because they saw it at young age and became fascinated with the flamboyant effects. The ending completely comes out of nowhere, like they suddenly ran out of money or like the effects of the mushrooms they were eating wore out unexpectedly.
As others have said, this is a film without a plot. It's one of those things where you put a family in a house in a remote place and start doing things to them. There are all sorts of things but nothing is ever explained. There is a big fight between two claymation monsters, but what do they have to do with the swirling lights that keep showing up, or the gunlike thing that points at people. We meet a couple of little creatures at the beginning but then we never see them again. And what does a triple-nova have to do with anything? The closing statement by grandpa is made without any knowledge of anything. And where are they going? And why them? And where is everyone else? I know it has something today with a time vortex, but the principle characters just bumble around. They don't really learn anything. Or do they? They don't bother to tell us.
According to the opening credits for "The Day Time Ended", four writers are credited with developing the story and writing the screenplay. And none of them apparently were able to make the movie's story make much sense. I'm not sure even if you can call what's in the movie a story - much of the movie seems to be just a series of random supernatural events, and even the resolution at the end doesn't answer what the intents of the creators of the events are. Though the problems of the movie go beyond the bad script. Director John 'Bud' Cardos makes much of this theatrical movie have the feel of a made-for-TV movie of this period. Is there anything positive to say about this movie? Well, some of the special effects aren't bad for a movie that had a pittance of a budget. But I'd rather have a good script with bad special effects than a movie with good special effects and a bad script.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this when it was in the theater, it started out so strong I mean back in 1980 this was a bold movie and the special effects were excellent AT THE time. Now you would have to of been at least 30 or so in 1980 to really understand this point because studying film historically misses the mind set at the time the expectations, and other related psychological factors. Now as I said the movie was engaging suspenseful and very entertaining. It builds to an excellent climax then.... IT ends I mean the person that described it as having a water balloon break in your hand before throwing it, besides being a very poetic description. In my experience, it was just not strong enough. My wife and I were well... how can I say this? We were upset, I mean we paid money, invested the time to watch the movie which was excellent. "We both felt we were robbed with an ending that convinced us both the production company must of run out of money and could not raise enough to finish it correctly. In fact my wife said it best, it did not end, IT JUST STOPPED!
If you love cult 70's Sci-fi the way I do, or if you like movies such as "Repo Man" or "Buckaroo Bonzai" than you're going to love this one. It's a stream of consciousness 70's Sci-fi spectacular, including a 22nd century junkyard and the Earth a million years from now. This movie is pure 70's. Put on Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle" or Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" and you're ready to go!
Hurray, this film exists. I always remembered a film from my childhood
that had two stop motion monsters fighting outside a house and there
being strange lights. For years I wondered if it actually existed at
all, and then I happened to get it on a pack of 50 films! I was not
even trying to find this one, I just always wanted to see a couple of
the films on this pack and figured a lot of extra movies would not
hurt. So I ended up finding this one, and it only took the first time
seeing the house in the middle of nowhere for me to recall the film I
saw as a child.
The story in this one is just about nonexistent. People drive out to their solar powered ranch home and they come under attack from aliens and other weird things. Every description says they are transported to prehistoric times, but I have never seen the monsters this film features in any science books as dinosaurs. The aliens are sometimes friendly, sometimes play with your mind and sometimes fly around in vacuums that emit death rays.
The acting in this thing is kind of bad. The grandfather is okay at times, but his facial expressions do not fit the situation and the daughter's fretting was getting on my nerves. The grandmother looks like she is in genuine pain when she and the grandfather go to bed and the father trying to get back home is an obvious plot padding device for an extremely short film. To bad no one gets killed in this one.
So no gore, no nudity, basically no nothing. A bunch of cheap effects and a couple of interesting scenes here and there. There is a scene that reminded me of Kingdom of the Spiders, and it turns out there is a tie to that film. It also has a Laser Blast feel to it, but I could not find any ties to that film. The ending is way to happy, the whole thing has a television vibe to it as it almost seems to be a pilot for a television show that never made it beyond its pilot. Still, it is nice to know it exists as an actual movie and not just in my mind. A kid may enjoy it, I remember liking it, but that is because of the monsters that are not dinosaurs.
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