A Rare Movie Review: Time After Time

/ Movies /

Let me start by saying that I’m not a huge movie buff. Sure, I like movies, but I don’t typically watch all that many. I tend to stick more to television, books, and videos games. That said, I do like to continue to expand my repertoire of science fictions movies…I’m just not in a big hurry I guess.

Now that I’ve prefaced this sufficiently, I would like to make a few comments about a movie that I recently watched on Amazon Instant Streaming called Time After Time. I have Amazon Prime and I was trying to find a free movie to watch. When I came across Time After Time, I recognized the artwork and I noticed that it had a good user rating.

Not convinced, I shot over to imdb.com to check out the movie’s profile. The overall rating was 7.2/10 and the summary sounded intriguing. Here’s what it said:

H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer’s time machine to escape his time period.

H.G. Wells? Jack the Ripper? Time travel? I’m in.

The movie was filmed in 1979 so, right off the bat, there were some (unintentional) laughs as H.G. is awed by now outdated television sets and other bits of technology. But that was okay…it actually added a little charm to the movie in a way.

And the movie had a few intentional laughs as well. It was meant to be pretty lighthearted (for the most part) and, in general, it was enjoyable.

However, there was one gaping hole in the plot that I just couldn’t believe. At this point, if you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want it spoiled, stop reading.

So Jack the Ripper starts killing in modern day San Francisco and H.G. puts it upon himself to stop him. In the meantime, he meets a lady, Amy, and to convince her that he’s really from the past, he takes her to the H.G. Wells exhibit at some museum where the time machine is currently on display (and completely functional).

Once there, they hop three days into the future and find a newspaper that indicates that Amy (as well as another woman) will be victim to Jack the Ripper. At that point, they make the decision to go back three days to stop Ripper, because the newspaper tells them when and where the next crime will take place.

Unfortunately, a flat tire ruins the whole plan and H.G. and Amy fail to stop Jack. And so they resolve to stop him when he shows up to kill Amy. Anyways, the whole thing goes to hell. H.G. gets arrested, Amy’s friend is killed, and they just barely win the day in the end.

So, if you are a clever reader, perhaps you have noticed a pretty sizable flaw in our intrepid protagonist’s plan. It seems pretty odd to me, but H.G. Wells seems to have forgotten about the TIME MACHINE that he invented! How’s that again? H.G. Wells forgot about his Time Machine–the entire reason for his presence in 1979 San Francisco. Yeah.

That means that they didn’t have to use Amy as bait, because they could have just gone back to the museum and TRIED AGAIN. Or, better yet, they could have gone back to before the FIRST murder and saved EVERYONE.

I’m sorry, but how does that kind of storytelling make the cut? I guess that’s why Back to the Future is the best time travel movie and not Time After Time.

But speaking of Back to the Future, I could not get past the irony that Mary Steenburg is the actress who portrays Amy in Time After Time and also Clara in Back to the Future III. And in both, she falls in love with a time traveller. Weird.