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Reviews & Ratings for
Timeline More at IMDbPro »

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93 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

The movie is fine, but treat yourself and read the book too

5/10
Author: n7zuq from Vancouver, WA
17 April 2004

Based on some of the other comments I was expecting to hate this movie. I didn't, but I see why the reviews seem so negative. There are so many things to pick at, and no real bright spots to talk up.

It really wasn't that bad. It wasn't great, but it's worth a rental. I'm not sure I would have felt I got my money's worth in the theater.

I'm sure it was a tough chore to convert the original story to a 2-hour movie script. They had to take several liberties and condense quite a bit to do so. Unfortunately, that affected the flow and the movie ends up being a little choppy. How and why they go back in time is pretty well cut out of the movie and without any detail the believability is nil. The story boils down to a pretty standard chase and explosion thriller set in the middle ages.

Definitely treat yourself to a read of the book the movie is based on. Like any book, the depth of characterization is so much more rich and interesting than what comes through in the movie. Once you get past the introductory technical jargon to set up the story it is a real page turner.

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100 out of 145 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyed It

8/10
Author: phoebes_jeebies from United States
7 March 2005

I truly enjoyed this movie. It really isn't as bad as most of the reviews I've read make it out to be. It was not horrible or a waste of time. I rented it first and liked it so much I bought it. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi movies for their entertainment value. I haven't read the book, so I can't make any comparisons. I think the whole story came together smoothly. Overall the acting was good, however Paul Walker would probably benefit from a few more classes. Gerard Butler was awesome in his role as Marek. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot him in the future (no pun intended). I loved the beginning, the end, and everything in between. I give it a strong 8.

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100 out of 150 people found the following review useful:

Is this supposed to be like the book?

3/10
Author: Heather Haggerty from BC, Canada
16 April 2004

TimeLine the book is probably one of my most favourite books. I have read it countless times and have enjoyed it every single time. So I was very happy when I saw a preview a long while back that there was going to be a movie about the book.

I wish that when people decided to make a movie out of a book they would make the movie just like the book. Don't change the plot, don't change the characters or their relationships, just leave it intact. They never do. I have been disappointed every time a book that I enjoy has been brought to the screen. I really don't know why I keep getting excited.

Ok, I understand somewhat that you can't re-create everything from a book. It just wouldn't be feasible. But they changed entire genders of people, removed some more interesting moments, changed character relationships slightly, and totally bombed at all the stuff dealing with the ITC, time travel and the vileness of both bad guys.

If you have read the book and seen the movie, you know what I am talking about. Some of the more exciting parts of the book were just not in the movie, like the struggle between the crazed man at the chapel, the fight at the mill and the entire tournament.

I mean I was confused with the whole thing. One of Donnigers right hand men is supposed to be a woman, Chris is NOT the professors son (in the book he is father figure), the French guy that gets killed in the movie does not exist in the book, Marek is supposed to be fluent in all aspects of time period including the languages.

I could go on about all the differences between the book and the movie, but there is no point. I would have to use up an entire screen just to point them out. It was a interesting movie if you had NOT read the book. However, if you have read the book and enjoyed it, a lot of great stuff was left out or warped into something different. I would say that the movie is very loosely based on the book, VERY loosely.

Overall I say I was disappointed. I did enjoy Gerard Butler as Marek, Ethan Embry as David Stern and Paul Walker as Chris. The females leads (Frances O'Connor as Kate and Anna Friel as Lady Claire) could have been better. And I suppose Billy Connoly did an ok job as the professor, although I just didn't quite believe that he was a professor for some reason.

I think I'll go re-read the book.

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78 out of 121 people found the following review useful:

Dude, we're totally back in the Middle Ages! Heinous!

5/10
Author: filmbuff-36 from Houston, TX
14 December 2003

There's a reason why time travel has remained a staple of science-fiction for more than a century - human beings will always be curious about the past as well as the future. To be able to fix past mistakes with the advantage of hindsight or to know what to expect in the years to come are basic human desires common to everyone.

The producers of "Timeline" may have benefited from owning a time machine. If they had taken a ride in Marty McFly's DeLorean they might have been able to prevent the mistakes in casting and scripting and made something that lives up to the idea's potential.

An archeological team led by Professor Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) is excavating the ruins of Castlegard, site of a medieval battle between the French and the British during the Hundred Year War. Johnston's son Chris (Paul Walker) is visiting, a man not interested in the past but in getting closer to his father's assistant Kate Erikson (Frances O'Connor).

Trouble arises when Professor Johnston goes to his benefactor, the International Technology Corporation, to get more funds and information about why they are so interested in Castlegard. When he does not return Chris, accompanied with Kate, historian and medieval weapons expert Andre Marek (Gerard Butler), physics expert Dave Stern (Ethan Embry) and Francois (Rossif Sutherland) head to the company headquarters to figure out where Johnston has gone.

It seems ITC, lead by Robert Doniger (David Thewlis), has stumbled onto a worm hole that leads back to 1357 while trying to perfect teleportation. Professor Johnston went back to see the era first-hand but got stuck there, and now his students must go back to rescue him. However, there's a catch, the group must collect him in six hours, otherwise they'll be stuck in the 14th century forever.

The movie could have been great had the filmmakers taken more time to examine its premise, but as it stands the plot is just mechanical. Once in the past the group just goes from one incident to another in a single-minded goal of rescuing Johnston.

There is no moment of wonder at the medieval world or any insights that looking into the past might reveal to 21st century travelers throughout the film. The visitors' knowledge of the area and upcoming battle do indeed come in handy, but they use this information only to survive and not to learn anything worthwhile.

The movie certainly looks good, with some fine attention to period details. The clothing and buildings look authentic, though the people inhabiting them are a bit cleaner then they would have been. The siege on the castle is also well filmed with trebuchets and catapults launching flaming bombs at Castlegard.

However, for a movie about survival and battle, everything is handled apathetically. The characters seem to be going through the motions when delivering their lines and there isn't much tension in the fight scenes. It adds up to a boring action movie, and boring is one thing an action movie should never be.

It's also funny to see a film so selective about being authentic, such as making it a point that modern people should not carry modern equipment with them to influence history, but having medieval characters speak modern versions of English and French. It's also a strange that the movie takes sides, portraying the English as evil tyrannts and the French as noble defenders of their home. In reality, both sides were ruthless during that era.

As an actor, Walker comes off as a poor man's Keanu Reeves. You read that right - Walker makes Reeves look like a nuanced performer by comparison. He shouts lines with little conviction and acts like a dork through most of the film.

In fact, with the exception or Butler's Marek, it seems like amateur night in the acting department. A scene where O'Connors' Kate breaks down crying will have people laughing. Even Embry, normally an okay actor, gives an unmoving performance. His character stays behind in the present and comes off as the "self-righteous scientist" who squares off against Thewlis' heartless business man, a typical feature of this movie type.

Director Richard Donner once made great movies like "Superman" and "Lethal Weapon" but can't rescue this mess. It's been five years since he's done a movie, and he seems rusty. The camerawork and set design are both excellent though, and belong in a better movie.

Like most stories by Michael Crichton, "Timeline" makes scientists into noble humanitarians and corporate heads into greedy slime to create artificial drama, and it comes off as exploitive pabulum that detracts from where the attention should be, on the action.

Since the action isn't good, what's left is a story where the heroes cry, complain and act selfishly while the movie tries to convince us that they're intriguing characters we should care about. "Timeline" is a wholly forgettable experience, and memories of the movie will be teleported out of the minds of the audience not long after leaving the theater.

Five out of ten stars. Just stick to the "Lethal Weapon" series Mr. Donner, and Mr. Crichton, please exhibit caution before letting another one of your novels be ruined with a horrible on screen versions (but then, you haven't had a good reputation of doing that).

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43 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Barely relates to the novel

3/10
Author: QuakerC4 from Canada
17 April 2004

So many important plot elements were left out, that the phrase 'sort of based on an idea by Michael Crichton' is the closest you can get to a relationship to the novel. The most glaring omission is the lack of the radio 'transceivers', which, if you've read the book, were involved in a major plot twist. And, they could have at least made SOME attempt to have the characters speak in 14th century (sounding) languages and used subtitles to give it a more authentic feel. On a positive note, the acting and casting were reasonably good. The action/fighting sequences were done well.

Overall, the movie gave me the feeling that, as so often happens, the producers used the phrase "no one will notice" way too often during meetings.

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43 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Another great story wasted.

5/10
Author: shanfloyd from India
11 December 2005

Sorry, the book had so much potential to be turned into an awesome film. But this low-budget crap with pathetic screenplay, well, kinda dishonored Crichton. All the book-to-film changes (Yes, all!) slowly destroyed the film. Paul walker looks fine like Chris but he cannot act; and Frances O'Connor is a fine actress but the role of Kate isn't for her. Gerard Butler on the other hand might be one good thing in the whole film. The multiverse-travel scene is a total disaster. The character development of the lead people, and also Doniger, is left behind which took away much taste from the story.

Reading the book is more recommended.

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39 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

If this concept interests you, take the time to read the book.

Author: bear_78 from Toronto
23 April 2005

I rented this movie knowing that is it based on a Michael Crichton book. The Movie was somewhat entertaining if you could get past the acting. The sets and the costumes were done well and the battle scenes were plausible. However if you read the book there is so much more to explore with the characters and the action. This book was written so it could be a movie. Ten years down the road this should be remade for justice sake. A mini series on could be in order because of the additional scenes that would be needed. And no I am not naive, I know that in any adaptation sacrifices must be made but I feel that because they got a big name to play Chris the centered the movie around him when it is clearly better balanced in the book. I am not a book snob but I saw so much potential in this concept that I felt that the movie was unfinished. That is why I read the book. Judge for your self.

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40 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Why you should read the book AFTER you've seen the movie

1/10
Author: daedelson (daedelson@gmail.com) from Belgium
6 March 2006

This is the worst movie-from-book that I've ever seen! While they did a pretty good job filming Jurassic Park, the seriously messed up with Timeline (same author). So, I would suggest you watch this movie before you read the book, otherwise the lack of "fanta-realism" and the differences between book & movie will be too irritating.

Some people blame the fact that you have to put a 300 pages book into a 2 hour film, but Jurassic Park did fine and, thou the theme is totally different, the writing / plot style is pretty the same. It would be acceptable if the techniques used in the book would be taken seriously! I mean, replacing the whole quantum physics idea with a simple "wormhole that can only be found by accident"? Oh please! In the book they tested everything for a dozen times and they had like 3 versions of the machine! There even was a backup plan! So besides this lack of believable technology, you have the "history plot"... English soldiers that start chasing 5 peasants in a crowd of like 500 peasants with this reason "Hey, why aren't you packing yet?".

+ What's with the language? Everyone in the movie is capable of speaking both English and french... except the main characters! Somehow they only understand English. Even the "pure french people" seem to be able to understand English :p Why didn't they do some research (why research, it's all in the book) on the languages? Why didn't they at least try to simulate some kind of medieval scene? This one is definitely one for my "worst movies ever" list.

But, don't get me wrong! The books is extremely strong! Read it!

(sorry for bad English but my native language is dutch...)

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75 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

did the makers read the book?

1/10
Author: fluffy_purple_handcuffs
15 November 2004

I've read time line twice and its amazing. i don't understand how the film could have such poor production,the effects and sets were terrible! on its own its a poor film but if you've read the book its Even worse. i don't think the people who made it had ever read the book as the story is not right, so much of the plot was left out or ignored. Also the character relationships are often wrong (for example between Chris and prof Johnston) and there are extra characters (who is Francois dontelle?). there are also two female characters in the book which are for some reason male in the film (Steven Kramer is meant to be Diane Kramer, jimmy Gomez is also a woman in the book! worst of all they changed the ending! i waited 6 months to see this film and it was terrible, if your not going do something properly don't do it!!!! Also id like to suggest the makers read the book!!! they may relies what a crap film they made.

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19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Some inconsistencies but overall very good

8/10
Author: jcavhs from United States
7 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this movie after seeing Gerard Butler in "The Phantom of the Opera" which left me wanting to see more of his work. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It is definitely not the type of movie that I normally would choose for myself, but withing a week of getting it I had watched it three times! I thought the plot was interesting. To find something from someone you know in the present and know that it is over 600 years old and then discovering that he is stranded in an earlier time is very intriguing. There were a few things that bothered me. For example, how in the world could people from the 14th century understand 20th century English and vice versa? I was also bothered by the fact that at the beginning they talk about how Lady Claire's death inspired the french to win the battle, but since they changed it in the past shouldn't they already know that she doesn't die? Supposedly the book does a better job of explaining it and so I must read it sometime. Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was very well acted and the plot line while unbelievable was still enjoyable.

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