Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Paul Walker, Frances O’Connor, Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly, Ethan Embry, Anna Friel
Director: Richard Donner
Time travel, love, honour, war and survival are the main elements of this action/adventure thriller. Professor Edward Johnson (Billy Connolly) an avid archaeologist is uncovering a 14 th century French castle with funds from an overly enthusiastic benefactor Robert Doniger (David Thewlis) of the International Technology Corporation (ITC) based in New Mexico. Professor Johnson decides to confront his benefactor as he feels that there is more to the funding than meets the eye. In his absence his star student Kate (Frances O’Connor), his fellow professor Andre Marek (Gerard Butler) and his anti-archaeology son Chris (Paul Walker) discover an ancient chamber sealed since the 14 th century which contains amongst other writings a plea for help signed by Professor Johnson. Chris decides to ask the project benefactor where his dad is and it is there that the diabolical truth is revealed. Doniger has built a device that suffice to say somehow enables time travel although that was not its purpose and Professor Johnson did actually write the note in that time. And so Chris, Kate, Marek, another student and some ITC employees whom have a very dubious reason for going set off on the apparent rescue mission. Thus the journey begins into a time and place that holds many surprises and disasters for the whole group.
Paul Walker gets first billing here but every scene he is in is eclipsed by Gerard Butler who gives a very charismatic performance and has excellent chemistry with his love interest Anna Friel. Michael Sheen is equally charismatic in his role as the evil English Sir Oliver de Vannes. Given the material the other cast members had to work with they manage to give adequate performances.
Direction from Richard Donner of LETHAL WEAPON fame is good but unfortunately the storyline is a bit convoluted and includes love stories, war, time travel, father/son drama and betrayal. Trying to put all this into one movie is not an easy task. Donner achieves it but alas not all the strands are strong enough and consequently the movie proves not to be as thrilling as it should or could have been.
All in all TIMELINE is a basic run of the mill action/adventure and may well suffer due to the imminent release of another medieval based film THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. Still TIMELINE is worth a look for fans of the action/adventure genre.