Time Chasers (1994)
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All the criticisms about the film are true: The evil CEO's office in an apparent library, the antique computer with outdated floppy disks, and the fairly wooden acting are all valid criticisms. But what do we expect, Spielberg? Lucas? I'm sure they could have taken this film to greater heights, but let's give it its due.
Think about it. The plot line was clever. How many ways can you go into the past? Car, stationary machine, plane? But the "future" portrayed here was embarrassing. Frankly, I thought they had gone BACK in time to 1984! Surely, they could have done better than that. Even in 1994, people knew what types of technologies to expect in the near future. Why not portray even one laptop?
I enjoyed the revolutionary war reenactors, but I think a "twist" of an ending would have been cute, and could have salvaged some of the film. What if, when they returned, everyone had British accents, including the evil CEO of a now-British conglomerate. Think about it.
So, here's my "director's cut" of this film: 1. Allow the lead actor to drive a car (better chase scenes) 2. Use a real computer - at least use the right sized disks 3. Cut the "ditching bicycles" scene (it's only 3 seconds long) 4. Show a better, more plausible future 5. Shorten the "bad future" scene, and shoot it at night, or in the fog, to make it look REALLY ominous, and 6. Make the final scene important (as I said above).
Until then, my rating is 4.
Start with an aggressively unappealing leading man. I mean, what woman doesn't love gangly, whiny, lantern-jawed, butt-chinned, mullet-men with giant Coke-bottle glasses? Well, prepare to tough it out, ladies, cuz that's our hero ("Hey, movie? I wanna see your supervisor, movie; this will NOT stand!").
Second, add a leading lady who -- while not entirely unattractive -- personally embodies many '80s clichés: big hair, too much makeup, two different plaids ("Oh, man! I'm a naked robot and even I know that's a fashion no-no."), shoulder pads, acid-washed mom-jeans, etc.
Throw in a Michael Medved look-alike who wears pink blazers and white pants, a painfully transparent villain who talks like Mortimer Snerd and has an office that looks like a circus-themed library, and evil henchmen who seem to have nothing better to do than direct air traffic ("Oh, so they're the really NICE evil guys!"). That's our cast, folks.
I don't want to spoil the plot, but since I've yet to figure out exactly what the plot IS, I'm not too worried about it. In fact, it would probably be less time-consuming for you to just track down a copy of this movie and watch it yourself. If YOU figure out the plot, please contact me; I'm curious.
I would strongly advise watching this movie with the help of the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000; I don't think it could stand on its own... beer would probably help, too.
The film, 'Tangents': 3 stars -- they tried.
MST3K's 'Time Chasers' episode: 8 stars -- they succeeded.
The answer to the third question is...NO!! This film is horrid and so many flaws I'm lost. How in the world to the past self who is the present self know his future self who was really the present self know JK took him to 1777? With all the deaths they caused to the minutemen, shouldn't that have caused a time rip or something? Where did that gun come from on the fishing boat? What about the flying grandma? Shouldn't pilots pay attention to the sky? What was the point of making this film? And if it was for college, did they fail?
1/10 Why no zero available???
The premise is interesting, and the writers make an honest attempt to keep the audience guessing with the many plot twists. And given an obviously low budget, the film is very well made.
And the use of "average" looking people as opposed to Hollywood glamour boys (and girls) is commendable, I suppose (but see above note on the ultra-low budget). But, really! The hero (!) looks like the product of a gene-splicing experiment involving Richard Dreyfuss and Nomar Garciaparra! Is that the best they could do? Was he the handsomest most charismatic most everyman actor in the whole of Vermont?
Overall, the movie is OK, but the low budget means cheesy special effects, amateurish acting, a so-so script, and a geeky lantern-jawed hero (!). Still, it beats "Manos" by light years...
Most filmmakers might have the good sense to forget about their early work. Not David, on the contrary he celebrates this movie. What is really needed here is a 'special edition' DVD, with outtakes and commentary.
Seriously, it's amazing what can be made with a little imagination, a lot of 'can do' spirit, an investment in your own community and your good friends. Giancola was in his teens/early 20's; how many people can watch and laugh with a film they made themselves at an age before most of us moved out of the house?
Bravo,David and Edgewood Studios.
The plot itself is a fairly interesting take on well-treaded territory: the hero, Nick, invents a way to make his ultra-light plane travel through time and sells the idea to a CEO, only to later discover that the CEO is going to use it for, you guessed it, evil.
The excecution of the plot, however, suffers from a number of handicaps. The portrayal of the future (both the utopian and apocalyptic ones) is laughable at best with the former looking like an 80s shopping mall and the latter a bad Warriors knockoff. The main characters are all boringly average (causing Crow to dub the film "The Adventures of the Average People" in the MST3K episode), the only one having anything identifiably unique about them being the main character, Nick, whose only unique traits are "building a time machine" and "not being able to drive a car" (setting the stage for an absolutely ridiculous bicycle chase scene). If anything, the film reminds us that probably the only Vermont export of note is Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (who, coincidentally, provided ice cream for the filming of this movie).
All in all, Tangents falls in the same general category of MST3Ked films as Overdrawn at the Memory Bank; a small budget film that is ridiculous enough on its own merits to make it a decent watch for lovers of pure cheese (though, as always, I recommend watching the MST3K version instead).