Time After Time - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Time After Time Reviews

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½ May 19, 2018
A superior sojourn through time, destiny, and tea please, twisting Wells's premise to provoke the conceit of why authors prefer to write adventures rather than live them.
November 27, 2017
H.G. Wells buying a Big Mac: 1 dollar. Jack the Ripper travelling through time to kill disco dancers: priceless.
½ September 27, 2017
The idea for Time After Time was amazing, and the first act of setup was brilliant. Sure there were some logical things that didn?t exactly make sense when Wells is explaining the time machine, but in the long run I didn?t care because it all had a purpose in the plot (even if it was illogical.) The way that the story starts out so quickly and has such a clear motivation for the main characters, it clicked into place and I was having a great time. It was humorous watching as this man out of his own time learned how the modern world worked and how to get what he needed to track down Jack.

I thought Malcolm McDowell was extremely well-cast as the distinguished H.G. Wells. He had a real innocence to his portrayal that fit a man from a more polite time. David Warner was also delightful as his antagonist. The way that he seeks to blend in instead of remaining true to his past self gave a nice personality contrast between the two characters without saying a word. And then there was Mary Steenburgen. To say she was miscast is only the start of the problems. She is doing some odd things with her performance to the point that I thought she was drunk or high for part of the film.

What started out as this exciting chase through time, with a metaphorical chess match going on between the main characters, devolved into an odd romance. All that potential it started with was squandered because they decided to turn it into Somewhere in Time. Then it got really strange, and they made pointless choices. McDowell and Steenburgen started acting like their hands were tied by the constraints of time when they have access to a time machine! Finally the end had some surprise and tension which I was missing. It?s just that long middle section of the film that hurts Time After Time and keeps it from being a great film.
September 23, 2017
Found this film interesting with H.G. Wells constructing a time machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to move to the year 1979 to continue his killing spree after his identity is discovered in his own time.
September 5, 2017
This is a fun, sweet, lighthearted time travel romance with well developed characters & fun performances from the leads. Had fun watching this.
August 25, 2017
Time After Time has weaker acting and direction plus the ending was not my favorite. However, this is still a very good sci-fi romance film with three superbly developed characters, a lovely romance that worked so well and a really well crafted, hugely entertaining story. It is so charming both in its wonderfully old-fashioned score and in dialogue that I've had a great time watching it.
½ June 14, 2017
It was silly but fun and clever and entertaining. Mix of sci-fi/fantasy, comedy, romance, and adventure.
½ April 14, 2017
This movie is so enjoyable and entertaining I find it irresistable. More Hitchcock than anything Brian De Palma has ever attempted.
March 14, 2017
I love H.G.Wells and I really like this show. I absolutely loved the ending of episode 3. I laughed so hard. I can't wait to see the next episode.
½ February 20, 2017
In the eighty years, that comprised his span of life Herbert George Wells became an author of extraordinary influence. Having the rare opportunity of being alive during one of the most significant periods of change human society has experienced. He was born in the midst of the reserved Victorian era surviving to witness the start of the world that has endured a second world war, placing him in a unique position to be directly involved with the cinematic production of several of his most iconic stories. Of course, many of his books and short stories would produce after his death, but another surprising aspect of this man is his persona gained a life of its own with the person of H.G. Wells has been included in stories as a principle character. Usually, he is portrayed as a brilliant man of exceptional foresight and imagination frequently in possession of a time machine. An example of this found in the movie under consideration here, the 1979 film, 'Time after Time.' It has been available on DVD for a substantial number of years on Blu-ray as an addition to the Warner Archive Collection. This is an incentive to bring cult classics into high definition. Several studios and distributors have adopted this ploy with Warner Brothers in possession of a catalog that includes some of the finest films ever made.

The movie opens with a scene directly from one of Mr. Well's best-known novels, 'The Time Machine.' Wells (Malcolm McDowell) is hosting a dinner party for some his close friends. The purpose of the gathering was ostensible to unveil his latest invention, the machine capable of taking its passenger across the voids of time. Suddenly a constable arrives announcing he is pursuing the heinous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. A search reveals a bag containing blood-drenched gloves that belonged to one of H.G.'s friends, Dr. John Leslie Stevenson (David Warner), a surgeon. Concluding that Stevenson is the Ripper they rush back to the dining room to confront him. Unfortunately but the surgeon and the time machine are gone. Since the fiend did not have the particular failsafe measure, the automatic return key, the device reappears. Determining the Las destination, Wells quickly boards the device setting off to November 5, 1979, where the machine has ended up on display at a museum in San Francisco. At some point during the intervening 96 years, the machine relocated to a collection of a museum.

Besides his position as a founding 'Master of Science Fiction', Mr. Wells, did a famous social activist who believed in a future utopian world government. When this incarnation of Wells embodies many of these traits so when he travels to the future Wells is grossly disappointed that this was not the socio-political environment that prevails. He is overwhelmed by a history of violence and a glut of machinery including automobiles and airplanes. His plan to locate Stevenson was exceptionally logical and realized that the first thing Stevenson would need to do was exchange his British currency for the current coin of the realm. Checking with several banks where he eventually locates a lead. Wells encounters a bank employee, Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen), a woman far more independent and self-sufficient that any woman during the reign of Victoria Regina. The future was nothing like the socialist paradise he envisioned. When Wells catches up with his former friend Stevenson admits that he finds this future delightfully violent. He notes that a century ago his predilection for sadistic murder made him a freak, now, he is a rank armature. They argue over Well's demand that Stevenson returns to the past to face justice. After refusing the offer to surrender a fight ensues over the return key. Stevenson dies while fleeing and Wells; now with his mission negated he winds up entering into a romantic relationship with Amy.

The film does have a broader appeal than many science fiction movies, especially from the late seventies. The variation of theme encompasses such a variety of elements as the true crime manhunt mixed with a romance developing between people of vastly different social vantage points. That aspect is a portion of a greater central plot point of a man stuck out of the familiarity of his own time. The advantage of making the protagonist Wells himself is that his hopes for the future explicitly made known through his works and direct quotes. There are many literary examples of authors predicting the socio-political future of the world but rarely are fans afforded the opportunity to watch the visionary forced to face the failure of those hopeful predictions coming to fruition. This movie represents a chance to witness a real literary giant propelled forward in time to live in a world that from his historical vantage point was worse than he left.

Most movies concerned with traversing time have to contend with the bane of science fiction writers, temporal paradoxes. The narrative of this story takes a delightful, clever approach to the subject that manages to shift the onus of the side effects of a time machine mostly through strong character development a pacing that draws the audience in retaining your attention throughout the course of the movie. My supposition as to why this tricky theme was navigated so expertly handle may significantly to do with his what would become his main claim to fame as a highly respected Sci-Fi director, Nicholas Meyer. His name is undoubtedly his well known to aficionados of the genre. He wrote and directed Star Trek franchise; 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' and 'Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country'. These were two of the most popular installments in the classic ' Meyer also served as screenwriter for the time travel installment of the franchise, 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.' He might not be the most prolific filmmaker but his selectivity in projects as allowed him to build a resume of notable films.

Taking the time to listen to the director's commentary is crucial for this movie considering some of the unique circumstances surrounding story's journey to film. The story derived from the then-unfinished novel by Karl Alexander. Mr. Alexander is currently working on reformatting the tale to a television series tentatively set for 2017. I am looking forward to this with great anticipation especially since it is such an inherently interesting mixture of history and fantasy. Originally broadcast as a made for television movie on CBS, the quality of the source material for the upgrade to blue-ray was 35mm film stock which provided sufficient intrinsic detail for the reprocessing and remastering required to a high definition presentation. This disc, exceptionally well crafted is a visual treat to behold. A similar observation can made for the audio track rendered in a sound DTS High Definition 2.0 soundtrack. This brings out many of the nuances of the beautiful score by Miklós Rózsa. His previous compositions encompassed such cinematic masterpieces as 'Double Indemnity' and 'Ben-Hur.' Even if you happen to own a DVD copy of this movie, it deserves to be repurchased in this Blu-rat format. The upgrade is stunning coming across almost as a different film.
½ February 13, 2017
Delightful film that on paper should be ridiculous, but instead is one of the better science fiction thrillers ever made. The premise of H.G. Wells actually building a time machine only to have Jack the Ripper steal it to travel to the future should be preposterous, but the cast & crew embrace the idea so well it works perfectly. Malcolm McDowell is superb as Wells, in a rare turn as a hero, playing him as a Victorian gentleman who both embraces & his horrified by the future (he loves the technology & social changes but is upset that war & violence continues). He's matched perfectly by David Warner, he gives real menace & intelligence as Jack the Ripper while Mary Steenbergen makes a fine love interest (her chemistry is so good with McDowell, they got married in real-life afterwards). Behind the camera, Nicohals Meyer crafts a fun science fiction film that has fun with time travel (Wells tries to go by the name Sherlock Holmes, not knowing how popular the character still is in present day) while still tackling some serious issues (Jack says the level of violence in the 20th century makes him look like an amateur). He keeps the drama fairly exciting as well and will keep you guessing to what happens next. Overall, proof that it's not the idea but the execution in how to make a great science fiction thriller.
November 21, 2016
After, HG Wells (Roddy McDowell) finds out that his friend Dr. John Leslie Stevenson is the real Jack The Ripper(David Warner), he would also find out that he stole his time machine to escape capture from authorities. It is during then HG Wells locate where he travelled to which is to the future of 1979 San Francisco. It is also when HG wells finds a relationship with a banker Amy Robbins (Mary Steenbergen).
November 18, 2016
Watched this on the strength of 72% audience likes. What a mistake. Now I can watch old movies and can easily get into the gentler pacing of times gone by. But this movie was DIRE. Ver actors simply going through the motions. Dialogue you could imagine being discussed in the boardroom - "Gotta make Jack the Ripper and H.G. Wells more AMERICAN". The special effects were nothing short of goofy. I found myself fast forwarding to see if it got any better. It didn't. My advice would be to avoid this film unless you want to be bored and irritated in equal measures. Very disappointing.
October 30, 2016
It was too cliche for me. It seemed like it couldn't decide whether it was a fun movie or a serious one.
October 24, 2016
Another variation on the often written about Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack The Ripper story...This time H.G. Welles stands in for Holmes and time travel is involved. While it won't hold up to this day-and-age's accurately gory depictions of Jack The Ripper's killings, it is nothing short of arresting.
September 18, 2016
Charmingly sentimental.
August 10, 2016
While not a horrible premise, this film fails on nearly every level. OK for a date night - especially if your date has never actually read any of Wells tales.

Surprising that Meyer would soon direct the most beloved of Trek films, TWOK. Perhaps he merely had to get mediocrity out of his system with this one movie.
½ August 7, 2016
Entertaining and interesting time travel movie

In 1893 London, H. G. Wells is hosting a dinner party in his home to show off his new invention: a time machine, which he keeps in his basement but hasn't had the nerve to test yet. One of his guests, a surgeon by profession, turns out to be Jack the Ripper, fresh from his latest murder, who, as the police come into Wells' house in pursuit of him, escapes in -- you guessed it, the time machine. For technical reasons the machine returns without him, and Wells feels duty bound to use it to pursue "Jack" to 1979 San Francisco, where the machine is kept as a museum exhibit. Thus begins the complex but clear plot of this time machine thriller by Nicholas Meyer, who as writer was also responsible for the well known Sherlock Holmes follow-up The Seven Per Cent Solution. The film is well made and entertaining, with good acting by the leads Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen (who fell in love during the production and subsequently married,) a thick and convincing Victorian London atmosphere in the opening scenes (though I believe they are studio shot,) with as a bonus on location photography of many of the best known locations in San Francisco. Recommended as light but intelligent entertainment, and should certainly appeal to anyone familiar with San Francisco in the late 70s, as well as those interested in Wells or in the time travel genre. Rated PG, rather surprisingly, since some of the violent scenes, though brief, are rather grim, and there is a drug scene and depictions of prostitution. The 2002 Warner Home Video DVD I saw it on if of good quality.
July 3, 2016
Not a bad film but it's a bit daft. Jack the ripper escapes the police in HG Wells's time machine to the present day (an easy option for the film makers). Wells goes chasing after him and we see him discover how the world has changed, not necessarily for the better. - see star trek 4 or 5, can't remember. A wasted opportunity to explore time travel; it's actually more like a comedy romance than a sci-fi.
January 7, 2016
HG Wells and Jack The Ripper time travel to 1970s San Francisco and duke it out over a young Mary Steenburgen.
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