Time Changer

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Judith, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Judith

    Judith
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    I thought that this was a very revealing movie as to the current situation of the world and church today. Not other people's church, but all of the church. Truly the falling away is in progress. Some will deny it to be their church, but I would remind us all that pride goes before a fall.
    http://www.newsataclick.com/v.php?v=JwRRgJjA4dc
     
    #1 Judith, Feb 5, 2014
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  2. evangelist6589

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    Excellent movie!!
     
  3. abcgrad94

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    It is an excellent movie. It demonstrates that without God as our final authority, our society will continue to spiral down.
     
  4. JohnDeereFan

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    Terrible movie, great message.
     
  5. Fred's Wife

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    Great movie and great message!
     
  6. InTheLight

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    Great idea, good message, lousy execution. Here's my review from 2008.

    Time Changer

    Written and directed by Rich Christiano

    ** out of **** stars

    I’d heard positive things about this movie for about 3 years now and finally saw it Saturday night. I rented the DVD. This movie was released in theaters in 2002.

    There is a lot to like in this movie, especially the concept—a Bible professor from the year 1890 travels in time to the early 21st century and witnesses the degradation of morality firsthand. Then again, I’m a sucker for time travel movies.

    The professor, Dr. Russell Carlisle, has written a treatise on teaching and preserving morality, arguing that even if the name of Christ or God is not invoked as the authority behind the morality, it would still be a positive effect for society. Thus, “Thou shalt not steal” becomes, “it’s wrong to steal”. He needs a majority vote from the board of the faculty before it can become published. Professor Norris Anderson (nicely played by Gavin MacLeod) vehemently opposes publication, citing the error of Carlisle’s premise thusly, “Satan is not against good morals, he’s opposed to Jesus Christ. A man can have good morals all his life yet he will go to Hell when he dies. It is Jesus Christ that everyone needs.”

    Wow. No pulling any punches there, that’s for sure! No lukewarm, namby-pamby approach to the gospel in this movie. I applauded the statement upon first hearing it but ironically this overt presentation of the gospel becomes a problem as the movie progresses. To put it succinctly, this movie is a preachy movie. Everyone has their own tolerance level of preachiness in books and movies, and frankly mine is pretty high, but as the movie played out it became apparent that there wasn’t a story here but rather the movie existed as a vehicle to preach.



    SPOILERS FOLLOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!


    After viewing the movie I replayed the plot in my mind and I realized that nothing had happened. Nothing. There was no conflict. No one was in danger. There is no tension. The characters weren’t changed by the events of the story, because there wasn’t a story. Instead, perceived sins were pointed out in our timeline and contrasted to how this was different to the 1890’s. For example, it is pointed out that the divorce rate is about 50% in our timeline; according to the movie in the 1890’s it was 5%.

    The movie consists of Dr. Carlisle muddling through five days in the 21st century, observing decadence and expressing shock and outrage at the things he sees. Supposedly, morality has slipped so much because the paper he wants to publish in 1890 DID get published but didn’t state Christ as the basis of morality. So, in a way the decline of morals is supposed to be partially his fault.

    What do I mean by Dr. Carlisle muddling through five days? Here’s what he does:

    Saturday: Arrives in 2003(?), converts some gold coins to contemporary currency, rents a hotel room, then walks around the city.

    Sunday: Goes to church, eats a hot dog for lunch, goes clothes shopping.

    Monday: Goes to the library, visits a laundromat (no reason, he just went in there), eats at a 50’s style diner, goes to a movie with the church group.

    Tuesday: Gives a talk about science and the Bible at a public school, goes on visitation night with church people.

    Wednesday: Goes shopping, goes to church where he eats supper, goes to prayer meeting, and preaches at prayer meeting. Gets followed around by two guys from church. Returns to the 1890’s.

    All of these settings gives Dr. Carlisle plenty of opportunities to express his outrage at current morality. For example, he runs out of the movie theater yelling “Stop the movie! Stop the movie! An actor in the story has blasphemed our Lord’s name!”

    After attending the movie on Monday night the church group is socializing at someone’s house. This gave rise to some interesting dialog that was pointed at worldly Christians. Carlisle again expresses shock at the swearing in the movie, “I can not believe they spoke so blatantly about the name of Jesus.”

    “Hey buddy, we could have seen much worse movies,” answered a man.

    “Perhaps it is better not to attend at all, if this is the best selection,” said Carlisle.

    Man whispers to friend, “This guy must be one of those legalists—all movies are sinful.”

    At the 50’s style diner he overhears two teenaged girls conspiring to obtain alcohol and partying that night. Of course he rebukes them. When he eats his hot dog on Sunday afternoon, it is initially stolen by a little girl. He chases her down and scolds her for stealing. “Do you not know that stealing is wrong?” he implores. “Says who?” responds the little girl.

    One of Dr. Carlisle’s more hilarious responses to modern culture occurred when he was out visiting with church members. While one of the members is talking to the adults, Dr. Carlisle is raptly watching TV with a little boy, maybe a seven year-old. Suddenly Carlisle jumps up and runs and stands in front of the television. “I cannot believe that they show married people openly kissing on TV where children can see it!” (Yeah, that’s horrible.)

    One of the most glaring faults of the movie was the stilted dialogue. For one thing, no one in the 1890’s uses contractions. That’s just a technical aspect to the dialogue, the real problem is that dialogue is delivered woodenly—you can tell that the actors are reading their lines. For example, the two guys at the party suspect that the person known as Dr. Carlisle is really someone else that has stolen Dr. Carlisle’s identity, since the place that Carlisle said he worked at, Grace Bible Seminary, no longer exists—nowadays there is an industrial park located on the site. They learn that there was a Dr. Carlisle but that he died in 1935. (My question: why would someone assume the identity of a dead person?)

    They confront and ask Carlisle what he does: “I am not at liberty to disclose my purpose for being here, but let me assure you that it is all together harmless and perfectly legal.” (Do you know anyone that speaks like that?)

    One of the guys, a cop, replies, “Unless you tell me what you are up to, I’m taking you downtown for questioning.” (Really, I’m not kidding, this was actually in the script.) Carlisle declines and we see that the threat was empty. In the ensuing scene we see these two guys snooping around in Carlisle’s hotel room. They see his Bible with a note inside the cover: To our son on his high school graduation, June 1865. While this adds a bit of mystery to the story (finally) I was distracted at how and why these guys would be able to gain entrance to his hotel room.

    Besides no tension, no story, no conflict, overt preachiness, stilted dialogue, unreasonable plot points, the movie violates the sacred rule of storytelling, namely, Show, Don’t Tell. This is especially evident whenever Dr. Carlisle is shown something new. Instead of showing Carlisle experiencing these things first hand, he repeats the name of the object with puzzlement. He seems more perplexed with 21st century words than objects. For example after checking into his hotel room, the bellhop is showing him some of the features of the room. He describes the satellite TV (“satellite TV?” repeats Carlisle), the remote (“remote?”), radio (“radio?”) etc. It would have been much more effective showing Carlisle discovering these things. To be fair there are scenes where they show him observing things, but I would think a person from the 1890’s would be more fascinated with a satellite TV with a remote than a touch-on, touch-off lamp, or people listening to iPods.

    We get to hear Carlisle express puzzlement over the words TV, remote, radio, jet lag, threads, slammer, 50’s diner, hot dog, microfiche, telephone, etc.

    With all of that said there are some very good aspects to the movie. The musical score is quite good. The director captures the essence of the 1890’s fairly well, even down to how the lighting would appear in a mostly electricity-less society. The sets are pretty good too, except for the time travel mechanism itself. It looked pretty chintzy though the actual effect of shooting Dr. Carlisle through time was nicely realized. (The explanation of how time travel could be possible in 1890 was glossed over with scientific hand-waving mumbo-jumbo.)

    [continued in next post]
     
    #6 InTheLight, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2014
  7. InTheLight

    InTheLight
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    [Continued from previous post]

    Time Changer
    Written and directed by Rich Christiano

    ** out of **** stars


    Gavin MacLeod and Hal Linden put in good performances and add credibility to the production. Jennifer O’Neill has a good part (though she’s caked with makeup) delivering a scathing sermon on the evils of Hollywood.

    D. David Morin plays Dr. Carlisle and I couldn’t get past the resemblance to Will Ferrell. His eyes, facial expression, sound of his voice kept on making me imagine it was Will Ferrell playing the part. When he expresses indignation and outrage at immorality, it sounds exactly how Will Ferrell would have handled it. It was kind of freaky, at least for me. Your mileage may vary. Overall I would rate Morin’s performance as only fair. He has good, emotive facial expressions, but he could have used his voice to better effect. In fact, he seemed kind of whiny.

    Near the end of the movie there were two scenes that showed how good the movie could have been with a better script. I won’t give them away. But if you’ve seen the movie I am referring to the part where Dr. Carlisle is in the alley about to jump back to the 1890’s and is being confronted by the two guys. He’s earnestly saying, “Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming” and then he disappears back to 1890, which causes one of the guys left behind to utter the best line of the movie.

    The other scene is a plot twist at the end where Professor Anderson (Gavin MacLeod) decides to see how far into the future he can send a Bible.

    Overall, I guess I would give Time Changer 2 stars out of 4 stars. The problems are the lack of tension, the preachiness of the movie, the flaccid plot, and the wooden dialogue. With a movie it’s better to show a character being changed by the gospel rather than simply verbally hammering it home at every opportunity. I liked the fact that the movie was unabashed at presenting the gospel. In a way it was preaching to the choir.

    Even Christians get indicted. After attending church on Sunday, Carlisle observes that the singing was lifeless, the people seemed bored, but the teaching was solid. When he is out on visitation night, just before they are to knock on a door, Carlisle asks if perhaps they should have a word of prayer before proceeding. “Why? We prayed back at the church,” is the reply. When he is preaching at a Wednesday night prayer meeting, the congregation is nervous and offended at his blunt assessment of the current age.


    And I don’t know how unbelievers would react to it.

    There is a 53 minute extra, The Making of Time Changer on the DVD that was fairly interesting. The movie was made in less than two weeks and for around $800,000, fairly astonishing to me since it looked much better. Rich Christiano is a skilled director but not such a hot writer. If he had a better script to work with this movie could have been very good. Another extra is A Personal Message from the Director which is basically Mr. Christiano’s testimony and the history of his involvement with making films. It too was interesting. In fact, for this viewer, the extras were more interesting than the actual movie.
     
    #7 InTheLight, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2014
  8. Jkdbuck76

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    I saw it before I knew about Mystery Science Theater 3000.
     

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