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I've seen every time travel movie ever made, and I must say that the
Philadelphia Experiment ranks pretty high on my list of favorites. Despite
the cheesy love story (almost as bad as Titanic or Pearl Harbor) the
are pretty good and the story is cool.
The actors were fair (Nancy Allen was great, though) and the screenplay is pretty good. It's a really interesting story in itself, though. If you have any interest at all in this movie, I would strongly recommend looking for books about the actual Philadelphia Experiment. (sometimes found in collections of paranormal phenomenon) The supposed true story involves tests to camoflauge a navy ship - rendering it either invisible to radar or TRULY invisible (stories vary as to the exact intent of the experiment) apparently through the use of magnetic fields. The rumor is that the ship disappeared from the Philadelphia naval yard and TELEPORTED to a Virginia naval yard. The crew had a variety of side-effects, ranging from temporary invisibility and/or intangibility to getting phased into solid objects and getting stuck there. (a couple of people who were phased into solid objects can be seen in the movie - pretty cool!) The "true" story makes a great read and even if only a fraction of it is true, it's a pretty remarkable idea that any of it happened in reality.
The Philadelphia Experiment is an entertaining movie, but more for sci fi fans and their girlfriends rather than the average moviegoer. Stay away from the Philadelphia Experiment II, though... it's just awful.
I first saw this film in a theater on a date, and it was an excellent
choice, with science fiction for the guys, romance for the ladies, a
pleasant feel throughout, and nothing too racy or too gory. I'm really
surprised at all the negative comments about this film, and how it
should be remade. I thought it was quite good as it was, other than in
a few minor details, and I can't imagine it being remade without
destroying the special moods it created.
My favorite part is the aerial scene of the orange groves and eucalyptus trees in inland California as David and Allison are driving down a rural highway, seeking out David's old friends. After all the tension in the earlier part of the film, this peaceful interlude set to pleasant music while soaring over the rolling hills is a beautiful contrast, and it becomes the high part of the film. The soothing old '40s music that David switches to on the car radio adds to the ambiance, and it becomes easy to imagine that time has stood still in this part of the country, which of course fits perfectly with the main plot. This mood is extended by David pointing out old landmarks he remembers: a church, a big old tree, and an old gas station. Then old black-and-white photographs on the wall of the gas station of David and his father bring the point home that David was telling the truth all along. It's a poignant scene as David is proud of his dad's accomplishments late in life while he simultaneously laments his father's passing. Too often nowadays films are made with "yang-on-yang" nonstop tension, action, and violence without any pleasant, relaxing high points, so I think this film was very well balanced in that way.
There are a number of other very well-done tidbits throughout the film. For example, David's question to the doctor, "Is this sort of thing possible now?", when describing time travel is something that only a bona-fide time traveler would say, and I remember the audience chuckled in delight at that perfect bit of dialog. Another gem is when David bluntly asks the transvestite in his jail cell, "What the hell are you dressed like that for?" I've known down-to-earth, practically-minded, heterosexual sailors, and that's exactly how they react to our modern era's confusing gender bending. Another gem was David flatly declaring that the water his friend Jim sees in the distance is a mirage, and then Jim ribbing David about David's mistake as they trudge through miles of water.
I thought the romance worked extremely well. Note David's defensiveness about his love life when he's in the '40s, and how standoffish his '40s girlfriend is, and then contrast that to the magnanimous personality of Allison in the '80s, who coincidentally has the same curly red hair as his '40s girlfriend--evidently the look David likes. Allison becomes the ideal version of his '40s girlfriend, and understandably becomes David's new focus in life. They make a very nice couple, I think.
There are admittedly some weak points in the film. The 2001-type vortex travel scene has some unconvincing effects, but considering they're trying to show what the fourth dimension looks like, which presumably has nothing in common with our universe, it's hard to find fault in their visualization. The glowing hands and electric arcs flying out from the arcade games and power lines are a little weak, as are people's reactions to those, and the carrying of top secret papers, and the implausible landing on a ship in a vortex, but I regard those are minor points. The modern day reaction of Jim to his old friend seems unrealistic at first until you think about it, and the explanation given about Jim's psychological problems after the experiment makes perfect sense and adds a bit of unexpected realism. In real life you can't expect to look up old friends and have everything go back to the way it used to be. Such details in the film fit together quite well, I believe.
Whether or not this movie follows the historical facts and rumors of the original Philadelphia Experiment isn't particularly important to me. What I care about is whether the film stands on its own as a piece of art, and in my opinion it definitely does. This is a film I find myself thinking about from time to time, and I like to watch it every so often. To me it's a film worth owning.
This film is brilliant - I don't care what others think - It is your basic adventure time travel film. I think the plot is genius - When something disappears nobody thinks what's going on while it's invisible - This is what happens in the film as a ship is cloaked during world war 2 to prevent radar detection but the ship completely vanishes - while invisible 2 crew members jump overboard into one of the best time warps i've ever seen, into 1984 - I think the acting, effects and overall tension of the movie was way ahead of it's time and will remain my personal favourite film.
Got this film on DVD, and must say I fully enjoyed it. Great acting, and the story line was very good. Also I thought the special effects are very good for the date when it was done. I think the idea of a war film, with time travel, and love story is very good, and this works very well in this film. I also found the sound effects to be quite good, again for the time period it was done in. If you are into sci-fi films, then I recommend this film a lot, and I shall be watching this film again in the near future. Nancy Allen's performance is on top, such great acting. Also I enjoyed the 40's music in the film, they captured the time period very well. I am most grateful I got a copy of this film on DVD.
This movie seems at first like it's going to be the stuff of Mystery
Theater 3000. It's basically something bad but amusing that you can make
of. The supporting characters and extras, especially at the beginning, are
just atrocious actors. But instead, the movie transforms into something
pretty awesome! The end of the world feeling throughout is great, with a
vast wormhole sucking up everything around it.
But then other times it's like Dukes of Hazard, with sliding off hoods of cars and vehicles exploding after getting no more than a fender bender. The movie is out of control, careening between amazingly excellent and complete crap. It's like some wise Hollywood producer said, "Needs more action" so they stuck in the most tired, cliched action sequences you can think of: car chases and gun fights. Neither belong in this film.
There's also some implausibilities. For example, David, a guy from the Navy in 1943, inexplicably runs from the Navy of today. Why would he run from the men he should trust the most? It makes no sense. Furthermore, the Navy of today is often shooting at him with real guns! Why would they be trying to kill a man who has done nothing wrong?
Anyway, it's an enjoyable film despite the inconsistencies.
People always seem to write this off as too soft and fuzzy, poorly executed, but it is one of the most charming and fun science fiction films I have ever seen. The effects are amazing and the direction is way more expressive than you would expect. As far as science fiction goes, this is no 'Alien' or 'Solaris' and it has logical loopholes you could drive a battleship through, but it is fast paced and lots of fun to watch. Be prepared to suspend your disbelief with steel girders and rent this.
Yes, the idea is spectacular. Yes, the execution is paltry.
You'd think with all the technology available and the decent
story, the producers could have given us an adult film.
Pare' is a limited actor at best. He has a face the camera
loves but is really wooden in his expressions. The director
not push him, and if he did, he didn't push hard enough. If
film were made today, there are many quality people who
fill all the characters aptly. Although I personally like
Allen's look, she could expand her acting as well. I know
can act, if only a director would get inside her head and bring
out her ability.
As far as the story line goes, again, it could have been handled so much better, It has a cheap made-for-TV quality to it. I hope someone makes it over. Yes, a repeat performance of the Hollywood kind would be greatly appreciated.
Based on an "actual event" that took place in 1943 and set during WW2 ,
a ¨Philadelphia experiment¨ about invisibility and involving an
anti-radar goes wrong , causing an USS naval battleship -Navy Destroyer
Escort- to disappear from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard , Virginia ,
by means of a warp time . A pair of sailors (stars Michael Pare and
Bobby DiCicco) find themselves thrown into a temporary hole and sent 40
years into the future . Then they find in modern world of 1984 and a
cataclysm that threatens to destroy it and change the course of history
. Meanwhile , they meet a beautiful girl(costars Nancy Allen) who help
This is a far-fetching but acceptable story about two sailors traveling forward in time to just to discover weird incidents and save the world . Reportedly (?) based on a true events that are developed with intrigue , suspense , thrills and noisy action . Familiar but satisfying and agreeable Sci-Fi yarn . Just amusement enough to cover production gaps and some flaws . Fine special effects for that time and liking performances by the leads manage to keep this one afloat . Good support cast as Louise Latham and Stephen Tobolowsky , among others . Colorful cinematography by Dick Bush and atmospheric musical score by Wannberg. The motion picture was professionally directed by Stewart Raffill . He's an expert on adventure genre as ¨Across the Great Divide¨ , ¨Sea Gypsies¨ and science fiction as ¨Ice pirates¨ , ¨Mc and Me¨ and of course this one . It's followed by an inferior sequel titled ¨Philadelphia experiment II ¨ with Brad Johnson . Rating : Acceptable and passable fare although better viewed in big screen .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Philadelphia Experiment is one of the most interesting movies of last century were both fiction and reality seem to match together in such a great manner. Besides of being inspired by the real event that took place at Philadelphia during WWII, the movie appears to go behind the destiny of those that unknowingly disappeared and moved ahead in time in such an unexplainable way, reminding us the so mysterious Bermuda's Triangle. What makes even more worth it to be seen, it's the Nancy Allen's role as Allison, a young woman who decided to move to the west coast in search of new luck and suddenly gets caught up in this two lost sailors' way, who unconditionally get her help and one of them even her love, although they had to sarcastically kidnap her, at first, with her car to run away with no destination. The final romance between her and one of the sailors who never went back to his time proves, once again, that real love has no time, space, distance or whatsoever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think we can dispense with the "based on a true event" thing. The
event this film was based upon is as true as the events that inspired
another "true" film, "The Amityville Horror". In other words, it's all
pure fiction. This story has been traced back to one man, an alleged
"witness". The men who actually served aboard the Eldridge laugh at the
premise, and flatly deny that the ship was anywhere near Philadelphia
at that time.
That aside, this could've been a very good sci-fi film. It was such a great idea, and it's too bad that the execution of it was so sloppy. I won't bother rehashing the whole plot, as others have done so already. Nor will I even bother to tackle the 'anomalies' of time travel.
What bugged me was the sloppiness/laziness of the writers.
For example, our hero, David, and his new girlfriend, are being chased in 1984 by Naval personnel. He manages to out-drive the navy guys, causing a navy jeep to roll over (of course, it burst into flames).
David stops, runs to the flaming jeep, and removes a bunch of "top secret" papers - which reveal details about the current experiment being conducted by the scientist who was responsible for the mess which sent David and his friend to 1984. Why were such sensitive papers being carried around in a jeep? Did the Navy officials in the jeep need them to remind themselves of their mission?! How did David know they'd be carrying these papers (why else would he run to the jeep of the guys who were trying to kill him?). More amazingly, the papers were not even burnt around the edges.
When David returned to 1943 to "fix" history, he was able to return to 1984 (and his girlfriend) by simply jumping over the ship's rail. And somehow, he made it gently onto the ground.
I love a good time travel/alternate reality story, so I sincerely hope that someone remakes The Philadelphia Experiment, and does a better job than was done the last time around. Oh, and please, don't let it star Tom Cruise! :-)
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