29 September 2011 | mark-879-723660
Serious, thoughtful movie with a definite point of view
A lot of the reviews here condemn Time Changer for being "Fundamentalist propaganda" or some such words. Yes, it is absolutely true that this movie has a point of view that it pushes. So do lots of movies. When you agree with the point of view, it's "an intelligent movie with profound insights on our times". When you disagree it's "propaganda". Do I need to rattle off a list of movies that clearly are intended to be condemnations of the Iraq war? Of racism? Of big business? Or for that matter, of Fundamentalist Chrsitianity? But anyway ...
The gist of the plot is that two college professors from 1890 have a disagreement about the nature of morality. Dr Andersone says that a moral code that is not ultimately based on the authority of God is inherently without foundation and doomed to failure. Dr Carlisle agrees that people should have faith in God but believes morality can be founded on non-religious, pragmatic grounds. Furthermore, Anderson argues that it is more important that people be saved and spend eternity with God than that they live good lives; Carlisle agrees but insists that right living is still a good thing of itself. (Just reading that should make it apparent that this movie is much deeper and more philosophical than 99% of the movies made today.) Anderson then reveals that he came to his conclusions because he has invented a time machine and seen the future, and he knows how things turn out. He ultimately convinces Carlisle to travel to the future (our present) himself to see. The rest of the movie is about Carlisle's encounter with 21st century culture and morals.
Biggest weak point to me: There's a sub-plot where Carlisle meets two men who become suspicious of his "cover story" and take steps to investigate him. I found this sub-plot very hard to believe. If I met someone at a party who casually said that he worked at a college in my city that I never heard of, I can't imagine that I'd immediately conclude that he was a fraud. Much more likely I'd say, "Huh, I never heard of that college. Maybe it's some tiny little school behind the mall." They investigate and find that this college used to be in this city but moved decades ago and that there was a professor there in the 1800's named Carlisle. They ponder how this man could be alive today if he was teaching college in 1890. They apparently never consider obvious, mundane explanations like, "maybe he has the same name as his grandfather who also taught at this school". Etc. Frankly, I think this whole plot-line was stuck in just to add some conflict and suspense.
Overall, I think this movie presented a serious philosophical question in an entertaining way. It mostly avoided adding nonsense action and chase scenes to make the story more "exciting" and kept the conflict serious and intellectual. It did add some amusing scenes to lighten the mood here and there. I thought the acting and cinematography were good, and the couple of special effects scenes were quite professional.
If you're looking for an exciting action movie, this isn't it. If you're looking for an hour or two of light, mindless entertainment, this isn't it. But if you're looking for a serious, thoughtful movie, you might consider Time Changer.