The Time Travelers


Year 1964

Preston Foster as  Dr. Erik von Steiner  
Philip Carey as Dr. Steve Connors
Merry Anders as Carol White
John Hoyt as Dr. Varno
Steve Franken as Danny McKee
 
Director - Ib Melchior
Screenwriter - Ib Melchior
Short Story Writers   - Ib Melchior
  - David L. Hewitt

The Time Travelers is groundbreaking, if you like made-for-TV features. Oh, it wasn't made for TV, but it has that cheesy feel that was often duplicated.

The "short" tagline for The Time Travelers is, "Step through 'The Time Portal' beyond the crack in Space and Time where the fantastic world of the Future will freeze your blood with its weird horrors." Compare this to Fight Club where the tagline is "Mischief. Mayhem. Soap." Tell me which one piques your interest?

This is 82 minutes of your life that you won't get back. Even a time machine won't help. Used brain cells, even if it's for keeping track of drivel like The Time Travelers, somehow make it through time jumping exercises intact.

There was a television show in the 60s called The Time Tunnel. It lasted one season. It seems that Irwin Allen stole the idea for his TV show from this movie and reimbursed Ib Melchior squat. All I can say is that this movie is worse than even Irwin Allen's last season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. And that's saying something.

Four people, three of whom are doctors, at some California university secretly build a machine that can see through time. Lo and behold! It turns out to be a gateway that they can pass through. Who knew? Not them.

So they go 107 years into the future and find... Give you three guesses? If your first guess wasn't a society living underground, go watch more movies like The Time Machine. In this movie, the non-mutants are below ground and the mutants are above ground.

The one twist to this movie is that everyone is running out of food, so the non-mutants are building a space ship and heading out to Alpha Centuri to start over. Oh, it'll take a while to get there, but the passengers will be in suspended animation so it'll be okee-dokee.

Unfortunately, the people from the past can't go, too. So, they build a time machine to take them back to their present. But then, back in their present, they're moving too fast and ruining the space and time continuum. In the tagline, it's Space and Time with capital letters. In the movie it's said too often.

Don't run with scissors or ruin the space and time continuum. Einstein will make an appearance and wag his finger at you. Too bad he didn't do that in the movie.

Do you know what did wag a finger at one of the characters? An android's hand. It wasn't attached to anything other than some guy under a table. But, with wires hanging out of the back, it grabbed one guy's clothing and then later tsk-tskd him. Think the Addams' friend Thing.

There're a couple of scenes that go on and on and showcase the director's love affair with carnival magic shows. If it's not done with a hollow table, it's done with mirrors. For minutes on end, you're subjected to third rate sleight of hand where android eyes come alive, an android's head is R&R'd (Removed and Replaced), a hand grabs at anything walking by, and a man is teleported from a console that could've been designed for use in Star Trek.

This is a great movie to make fun of. When people go through the time window, they have to enter and exit to the right so that the special effects can be overlaid in the center. And don't expect any continuity regarding outdoor mountain trails or underground corridors. Do expect coincidences to pile up. You chose that path at random and you met up with another member of the team? Good for you! You entered that cave and it's the one that's adjacent to the only underground civilization left on Earth? How cool is that! English hasn't changed in 107 years! Wow! Talk about a feat.

How come there are no trees but there are wooden crates? How come the subterranean dwellers are on the defensive but don't know the layout they're defending? Why do we keep seeing that one burning android over and over? Budget?

The score, if you can handle it, will make you want to go out an load up on 60's soap products since it's best suited as background music for melodramatic cleanser commercials.

Then there's the science. Going forward in time is no big deal. Going backward in time means being out of time or out of phase or outside the space and time continuum or something. But going forward again makes it all better. Or something.

I've read where some people are cutting this movie some slack as if it's legitimate. The acting is legitimate if you think actors whose claim to fame will be made-for-television mini-series are legitimate. But the science? Even if you buy the idea of time travel, is it really a television into the future? (Complete with horizontal hold problems.) What about a single stage rocket to Alpha Centuri? (Oh, yeah, it's a photon drive.) And that disruption of the Time and Space continuum? ("Eddies in the current," quips Ford Prefect. "Who's Eddie?" asks Arthur Dent.)

Skip the next few paragraphs if you don't want to read about expanding universes. I'm trying to make sense of the time phase thing. The universe is expanding, quickly. Faster than the speed of light. The speed of light isn't even in the frame of reference for the expanding universe. That's why the night sky is dark. If the universe wasn't expanding, we'd see light from almost all of the stars by now and the night sky would be bright.

But the universe is expanding and the light from stars past a certain distance from Earth will never, ever reach the Earth unless the universe starts contracting. (Depending upon the amount of dark matter in the universe, it might start contracting in the distant future.)

So what does expanding mean? Are celestial objects just moving away from each other? Partially. Are atomic particles getting larger? That, too. So, if you went back in time with your current atomic structure, you'd be a giant compared to those things that haven't had the time to expand. Ethereal and probably transparent, but huge. The atoms would be the wrong size, too, and you'd probably suffocate in a short time. (Short? Expanding? Nevermind.) And you'd probably move a little slower compared to the more condensed people of the past. Is this what old Ib Melchior was going for? If so, he didn't understand the physics of the expanding universe at all. There. I'm done.

No nudity or blasphemy. There is a feeling of mind control through repetition of dull with a mix of deadening. If you watch this movie, you can turn into an unthinking automaton. So, don't watch it.


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