Sunday, February 01, 2015

Grand Tour: Disaster in Time/Timescape (1992)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I was looking at time-travel movies to add to my NetFlix queue. You add one and you get a bunch of recommendations. Before long, I had about twenty or thirty new movies. Grand Tour was one of those movies.

The movie is about a bunch of tourists from the future who are visiting what was then modern-day Earth to witness disasters. Jeff Daniels plays Ben Wilson. He’s a widower with a daughter to look after. Together, they’re renovating a large house and making it into a bed-and-breakfast. The tour group thinks that it’s just perfect. They check in, even though the building is far from completion. (Many of the rooms don’t even have doors.)

The tourists are an odd lot. Talk about a stiff bunch. Many of the tourists aren’t that sociable. The driver found them just standing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He has no clue where they came from or why they insisted on that particular town. However, Wilson starts to get wise to the little time-traveling tour group. The trouble is figuring out exactly what’s going to happen. The tour group is a tight-lipped bunch.

It was an interesting story, but looked just a little hokey, so I kept putting it off. It wasn’t a particularly great movie. It was good in that it concentrated more on the story rather than trying to explain the ins and outs of time travel. One of the characters from the future says that time is more malleable than one would think, but that’s pretty much the depth of the science behind it.

There were some interesting special effects, such as the devices that the tourists use to go through time. They’ve been disguised as passports. To travel through time, all one has to do is stamp the destination using a stamp. (Apparently, any will do.)

The acting was varied. Daniels was good as was George Murdock, who played Judge Caldwell. However, the tourists were just a little too detached. Yes, that’s what the part calls for and it can be difficult. However, it’s just a little strange to see dispassionate people up against a disaster with people in fear.

Grand Disaster gets four stars. The acting wasn’t that big of a deal. What the movie lacks in acting, it makes up for in story and plot. I vaguely recall a similar movie staring Martin Sheen. Grand Disaster was based on a book and it’s possible that the other movie was based on the same book. If anyone knows the title of this movie, please let me know. 

(Note: Since originally writing this review, I've found the title of the movie with Martin Sheen.  It's called The Time Shifters.)

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