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Timeline (2003)

One mans future lies in the past.

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 116 minutes

UK Certificate: 12A

Big screen adaptations of Michael Crichton novels tend to be either fantastic movie-going experiences like Jurassic Park and ‘Westworld’, or great big stinking piles of plopsy like ‘Congo’ and, now, ‘Timeline’ – a time travel adventure for the clinically witless. If you merged Back to the Future, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ and ‘Blackadder’, and then carefully extracted both the comedy and the acting ability out of all three, this is basically what you’d be left with. This is the movie to prove Paul Walker and Gerard Butler are both even more rubbish than I think I’ve previously given them credit for. It also features Frances O’Connor acting as if she’s in a different time and place from the rest of the cast with or without the period-hopping element. And, to top it all off, you’ve got Billy Connolly acting his way out of the 14th Century with only marginally more ease than he would a paper bag. Only erstwhile Brookie babe Anna Friel comes anywhere close to being worth the entrance fee – she’s easily the best performer on show, and manages an infinitely more believable French accent than John Malkovich could earlier this year in Johnny English. Providing any sort of synopsis seems almost completely pointless given how many people will actually waste their money on going to see such dross, but in a nutshell it’s like this. A fuzzy-faced historian (Connolly) volunteers to go back to 14th Century France when a teleportation experiment accidentally discovers a worm-hole to the year 1357. He gets stuck, a gang of thickos go after him, they get caught up in various drawn-out battle scenes between the French and the English, there’s a predictable climax, and we all get to go home and try as hard as possible to erase this mince from our memory banks. Things to look out for include the complete dearth of original ideas, the deep awkwardness exercising a stranglehold over almost the entire cast as they attempt to convincingly recite their laughably bad lines, and the totally bland directorial style of the past-it Richard Donner. (Also read an alternative view Timeline)

It's Got: Only one worm-hole, but half a dozen plot holes.

It Needs: To be less rubbish.


Quite possibly the least inventive time travel flick of all time. ‘Timewaste’ would have been a far more appropriate title.