Movie-a-Day Challenge: Time After Time

Time After Time movie posterThis post is part of my movie-a-day challenge in which I will watch a film every day for 365 days. Today is Day 229! You can see all the posts for this challenge HERE. To see the original Movie-a-Day Challenge post, click HERE.

Hey friends!

So, I finally got around to watching “Time after Time” (1979), and oh boy, what a trip! For those who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a delightful sci-fi adventure where H.G. Wells (yes, the H.G. Wells) chases Jack the Ripper through his own time machine to modern-day San Francisco.

Now, let’s talk about the plot because Nicholas Meyer really spun up something clever here. The movie kicks off with H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell) showing off his new invention to his Victorian pals—a time machine! The twist? One of his friends, Dr. John Stevenson (hello, David Warner), turns out to be none other than Jack the Ripper. When the police come knocking, Stevenson jumps into the time machine and zips off to 1979, with Wells in hot pursuit, determined to stop the Ripper from continuing his murderous spree.

Landing in San Francisco during the ’70s adds another layer of comedy and chaos. Wells, the utopian socialist, navigating the capitalist modern world is like watching a fish bicycle—totally out of water but somehow making it work. There are some hilariously awkward fish-out-of-water moments as Wells tries to navigate the 20th century, and a few surprisingly tense chase scenes through the streets of San Francisco.

McDowell nails that mix of Victorian gentlemanly charm and scientific curiosity. But what really caught my eye was David Warner as Jack the Ripper. He’s not just some mustache-twirling villain; he’s got this unsettling charisma that makes him oddly captivating. Seriously, I couldn’t take my eyes off him even when he was being a total creep.

And speaking of creeps, the special effects are…well, let’s just say they haven’t aged as well as the actors. You know when you dive into an older film, you’re kind of signing up for some dated effects, but boy oh boy, did those special effects give me a chuckle. The time travel scenes are sooooo gloriously cheesy — it’s like a time capsule back to the era of disco balls and platform shoes. But honestly, that’s part of the charm, right?

Then there’s Mary Steenburgen, who plays Amy Robbins, a bank employee. The chemistry between her and McDowell is unexpectedly sweet. It’s one of those romances that just sneak up on you. One minute they’re all business, and the next, you’re buying into this bizarre but endearing love story across time.

The dynamic between Wells and Stevenson as they cat and mouse through the ’70s is packed with tension. This is what really makes the film tick — the dynamic between Wells and Jack. It’s a battle of wits between two brilliant minds from a different era. Plus, the film explores some interesting themes about the nature of good and evil, and whether it’s possible to escape your past.

It’s fascinating to see how each uses their knowledge of the future or lack thereof to their advantage. Stevenson adapts to the violent, less scrupulous modern world like he was born for it, which is both chilling and captivating. Meanwhile, Wells is all moral dilemmas and wide-eyed horror, which plays off brilliantly against Stevenson’s cold pragmatism.

But beyond the chases and the laughs, what I really dug was how the film tackled some pretty deep themes. It’s all about ideals versus reality, the old world versus the new, and how time changes perspectives. Like, think about it—Walmart wouldn’t exist for about another decade from when Wells lands, and he’s already baffled by everything!

So yeah, if you’re looking for a fun, quirky sci-fi adventure with a healthy dose of nostalgia, “Time after Time” might be your jam. Just don’t expect the special effects to blow you away and be prepared to roll your eyes a little. But hey, who needs fancy CGI when you’ve got witty dialogue, charming characters, and a well crafted story? The ‘budget’ effects add to the vintage charm of the whole adventure.

Roger and out!👋


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