Monday, February 2, 2015

Sci-Fi Gems Week: Time After Time

Ah the 1970s... They brought many things. Muscle cars, disco, cocaine freaks and more shenanigans than this particular blog is will be violate his PG-13 rating at. At the same time we got eye-popping effects of Star Wars, bizarre lands like West World and big budget-bloated blockbuster potential like Damnation Alley (WHICH WAS NOTHING LIKE THE NOVEL!!!). Every so often like most decades a film comes along that is heard by a few and word is spread to their friends and so on. Imagine a monster as horrific as Jack the Ripper hiding in a time-line as 1979, a larger bustling metropolitan era which so many willing victims and only his once time friend Herbert George Wells can stop him. This is Time After Time.

My word, women are more abrasive.

Writer/director/producer Nicolas Meyers (Invasion of the Bee Girls, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Time After Time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Voices) brings us the concept of H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange, Voyage of the Damned, Cat People, Wing Commander III: Eye of the Tiger, Tank Girl, Halloween and Halloween 2) a brilliant writer showing that he is also a brilliant inventor creates a vehicle that can transverse through time itself forward or backward in time and gave a detailed explanation to his chosen friends and while they remain skeptical, they are intrigued.
As everyone makes their way back to the drawing room, a knock at the door has several police constables arriving at the house in search of Jack the Ripper. With a satchel of John Leslie Stevenson, a friend of Herbert's and talented surgeon filled with blood-stained gloves everyone is convinced that Stevenson (David Warner of The Wars of the Roses, Straw Dogs, The Omen, Time Bandits, Tron, The Company of Wolves, Waxwork, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and In the Mouth of Madness) is in fact the Ripper when Wells has the awful thought, rushes to his basement to find his time machine is gone, as is Stevenson.

Mind if I cut in?

Having escaped into the future, Stevenson explores this fascinating new world of America in the form of San Francisco, makes a few exchanges of currency (yet no one asks questions on his pounds being roughly 86 years old) and proceeds to the nightlife of disco nightclubs with potential victims galore. Oh the possibilities. Because Stevenson did not have the “non-return” key on his person, the machine automatically returned to 1893, allowing Wells to go trailing after Stevenson's last known co-ordinates.

Wells is stunned as he leaves the machine at a display in the San Francisco museum to find not the enlightened utopia but cars, planes overhead and a substantial history of wars, crime and bloodshed the likes he could not have imagined. Deducing Stevenson would require coin of the realm, Wells asks about for banks offering such exchanges and makes his way to the Chartered Bank of London, meeting the lovely Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen of Melvin and Howard, Ragtime, End of the Line, Parenthood, Back to the Future Part III, The Butcher's Wife and Nixon), a liberal gal that takes a bit of a shine to Wells in spite of him being proper and quite stiff.

Wells finds Stevenson and demands his return to 1893 to accept justice. The two struggle when they are interrupted by some random passersby and Stevenson bolts only to be hit by a car. Is that the end of Jack the Ripper? Could he have survived this automobile accident? What will Wells do if he encounters him again?

A few fun facts now if you don't mind and if you do, well shush I am writing them up anyway.

This is Corey Feldman's film feature debut as a bit part of a child in the museum. All three of H.G. Wells' children were still alive at the time of this film's release. Malcolm McDowell fell for Mary Steenburgen during the filming of this movie and the two married for ten years and have two children, Charles Malcolm and Lilly Amanda. Nicolas Meyer originally wanted Edward Fox (The Day of the Jackal, Gandhi, Never Say Never Again and The Bounty) as the Ripper. At one point, Mick Jagger expressed interest in playing this heartless criminal but Meyer couldn't quite see Jagger pulling off the sophisticated surgeon. Sorry Mick, you can't always get what you want.

Advancements in dental hygiene fascinate everyone!