20 October 1999 | SkunkWorx
Pretty good for a TV movie.
As time-traveling stories go, this one's better than average. The writers did a decent job trying to account for all the inevitable paradoxes, and the story itself is decently paced and involving.
Casper Van Dien plays Tom Merrick, an ex-TV-journalist trying to put his life back together after an accident cost his crew their lives and him his job. He goes to work as a reporter for a local tabloid, and while investigating disasters of the 20th century, he stumbles upon an incredible coincidence; pictures taken at 3 disasters several decades apart include what appears to be the same man. Catherine Bell plays Elizabeth Wintern, another worker at the tabloid who gets caught up in Merrick's quest to find out who this man is. Merrick and Wintern eventually learn that a company in the future is offering entertainment packages, allowing people to go back in time and witness history's greatest disasters... including some that haven't happened yet as far as Merrick and Wintern are concerned. Merrick takes it upon himself to stop these impending disasters, and finds himself pursued by both "temporal security agents" who are trying to keep their timeline intact, and by local police who think Merrick has planned these events himself.
Don't take my compliments at face value; the movie is far from perfect. There are several plot holes and gloss-overs. I found the writers' ideas on how time travel works to be inconsistent in places. Martin Sheen is completely wasted in his role, having all of maybe 5 minutes of screen time. Finally, in many places I began wondering who I should really root for. Merrick is supposed to be the hero of the movie, trying to keep these "future" disasters from occurring, but at the same time, I could sympathize with the people from the future trying to stop him, especially after I learned what Merrick's actions cause to the future population.
Pitfalls aside, this is an engaging, well-acted movie that will make you think about the morality of time travel. A very solid 6 out of 10.