Anchor Bay // 1992 // 99 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // December 18th, 2002
They came to watch our world be destroyed.
He fought to stop them.
Grand Tour: Disaster in Time is based on the novella "Vintage Season" by writer C.L. Moore. Jeff Daniels (Speed, Dumb & Dumber) plays Ben Wilson, a single father whose wife was killed in a car accident years ago. His daughter (Ariana Richards, Jurassic Park, Tremors 3: Back To Perfection) lives with Ben in one of those small towns taken directly out of It's A Wonderful Life in an old rundown inn that they've been renovating. When a group of mysterious travelers check into Ben's inn, Ben finds it somewhat odd that they don't seem to know what an egg is or how a light switch works. Ben's confusion soon turns to fear and anger when he finds out that this group of weirdos is actually from the future and touring our world in search of various disasters through time...and Ben's town is next on their itinerary! As disaster strikes, Ben must figure out a way to save our past and guard his and his daughter's lives -- even if it means becoming a time traveler himself.
Grand Tour: Disaster in Time is surprisingly good considering the amount of paradoxes on displays. Of course, time travel movies have always had one strike against them due to the nature of their theme -- there are so many different loopholes in the idea that it's enough to make your head spin. In Back to the Future Part II, Michael J. Fox goes forward in time to see himself as an old man. But how can he grow old if he leaves his past into his future? Grand Tour: Disaster in Time is full of these paradoxical issues, though they never hinder the film's entertainment value or intrigue. If you can get past some of those issues, you're going to really enjoy this little movie that could. As written and directed by David Twohy (The Arrival, Pitch Black), Grand Tour: Disaster in Time is filled with uniquely interesting characters and a mind-bending plot that plays with the conceptions of the time travel genre. The idea of people leaving the future and touring past tragedies makes for a strange and interesting theme, and raises many questions. Do they eat at the local Cracker Barrel, or bring along their own snack pack? Jeff Daniels is one of those underappreciated actors who is equally adept at doing drama as he is comedy. Here Daniels shows both range and emotion as he grapples with a drinking problem, the loss of his wife, and folks from the future planning on watching his town getting turned into a pancake. Grand Tour: Disaster in Time was produced on a very low budget (and, if my sources are correct, for television), so don't expect a miracle when it comes to special effects. However, this is a flick that doesn't rely on nor require fancy visuals; the story and the characters are enough for two movies. To say any more about the themes or the characters would be doing the viewer a disservice. Maybe it was fate, or just some random occurrence in the cosmos -- whatever the reason, I was more than smitten with this little time hopping tale. Highly recommended.
Grand Tour: Disaster in Time is presented in a decent looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As usual, Anchor Bay has done a fine job at cleaning up this print and making it look better than expected. While a few inherent flaws persist (including some softness in the image), overall I was very happy with how this transfer turned out -- the colors and black levels are all solid and well defined. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English. The best that can be said about this track is that it's apt for the material it's supporting. There aren't any true directional effects or surround sounds to be found here. While this mix is underwhelming, it does the job that's needed and nothing more. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this disc.
Sometimes Anchor Bay feels like a nut, and sometimes they don't. This time they didn't -- not a single extra feature has been included on this disc.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13