Time After Time on DVD
If you're interested in a ripping time travel yarn and were
disappointed in the 2002 version of The Time
Machine, here's one that'll get your juices flowing.
Malcolm McDowell stars in this Nicholas Meyer film, a sci fi
adventure / romance that's more intelligent that the average fare - as
befitting its subject matter.
McDowell plays H.G. Wells himself, who at the time was a
successful columnist but who hadn't yet made his name as a science fiction
author. But he's also a bit of an inventor and, in a storyline that kind of
parallels the "real" story of "The Time
Machine," is having a dinner party with some friends at which time he's
going to make a Big Announcement. But his closest friend, John Lesley Stevenson
(David Warner) is tardy and Wells makes the other guests wait for his
As it turns out, Stevenson has a reason for being late, a dark
secret that becomes revealed when Scotland Yard shows up at Wells' door.
Fortunately, they arrive after Wells has made his Big Announcement - that he's
invented a real time machine and, once he gets up the nerve, plans to test it
himself by jumping ahead to a future he feels will be the socialist Utopia for
which he yearns.
But the arrival of the Bobbies spurs Stevenson into action. He
takes the time machine and disappears in it, much to the chagrin of the
Spurred on by his righteous indignation at what he's just learned
about his friend, and a feeling of responsibility for having created his means
of escape, Wells climbs into the now-returned time machine and heads back to
the future in pursuit of Stevenson.
So much for the first ten minutes or so of this wonderful
After some relatively cheesy special effects, Wells finds himself
in 1979 San Francisco, where his Time Machine and other artifacts of his life
are on display in a museum. He heads into this brave and strange new world to
find Stevenson and bring him back to justice in his present before he can
resume the activities that got him in trouble in the first place (and in a
place in the space time continuum where he's unknown and therefore well
Here we get some great "fish out of water" scenes as Wells tries
to find Stevenson who, it turns out, feels completely at home in the future.
Then the main subplot kicks in as Wells meets an attractive and
free spirited bank clerk (Mary Steenburgen). They become an item, but their
bliss is threatened by Stevenson and his determination to stay in the future
and continue his ways at all costs.
And this review will leave it at that. If you want to find out how
the story is resolved, get this DVD. You won't be sorry.
Meyer's direction is well paced and deft, and the performances are
top notch. This is probably McDowell's best performance outside of
A Clockwork Orange, and Steenburgen is completely
believable as well. Warner, in an understated performance, is chilling as
Add to the mix a terrifically sweeping score from Miklos Rosza (Ben-Hur, The Golden Voyage
of Sinbad, among others), and you have a real package.
You won't be sorry about the DVD quality, either. Warners has done
it right here, giving this ignored classic a great anamorphic widescreen (16x9
TV compatible) video transfer that's bright and sharp and colorful - and with a
Dolby Digital surround that, while not 5.1 (alas) still sounds pretty good.
Extras kick off with a fascinating commentary by director/writer
Meyer and star McDowell, as well as a text essay "It's About Time," that
discusses time travel stories in general. There are also a series of theatrical
Time After Time, from Warner Home Video
112 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary Steenburgen
Produced by Herb Jaffee
Written and Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think