Image Entertainment // 1984 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // June 20th, 2003
A man from another time, another dimension, in a strange new world.
Unfortunately, it's not the Twilight Zone; I couldn't be that lucky. Instead, this is yet another dreadful release from the Nico Mastorakis Collection. This movie actually has all the potential to be quite an intriguing experience, yet it doesn't capitalize on anything it has going for it. Thus, you're left with a film that if released today, would raise the ire of many groups, if it didn't put them to sleep first.
Andrea (Adrienne Barbeau, Escape from New York, Swamp Thing, Back to School) and her son have recently moved to a small yet charming Greek island. Her husband, an astronaut, died on a recent mission, leaving her alone to raise their precocious son, Timmy. It's a simple, quiet life that Andrea enjoys yet leaves Timmy bored. One day, while taking a walk on the beach, the two find a naked man (Keir Dullea, 2001) washed up on the beach. The man appears to be dead, but when Andrea rubs her finger across an odd numerical tattoo on his back, he awakens. Weak and exhausted, the stranger has total amnesia and is taken to Andrea's house where the local doctor is called in to give him an examination. The doctor, and resident town drunk, is giving the stranger a once-over when he believes he hears two hearts. Astounded, the doctor leaves the house and heads for his favorite bar. Not knowing why the doctor left in such haste, Andrea gives the stranger refuge.
Greece is a very religious country, so this little island paradise is replete with religious icons and dogma. From that, the stranger takes an immediate interest in Jesus and His crucifixion and asks to be called Jesus. Knowing the trouble that would cause, Andrea persuades him that Glenn would be a better choice. Over time, Glenn begins to remember bits and pieces of who he is. He believes that he is a time traveler from another dimension. While Timmy excitedly believes Glenn's story, Andrea does not. She believes that his fantastic story is nothing more than a grand delusion from some grass she shared with him before they made love.
But Glenn begins to manifest some remarkable powers, which only the doctor notices. As he is the town drunk, no one would believe him so he doesn't even try to tell the townsfolk. Instead, he sides with Glenn and does whatever he can to help him. Unfortunately, there is a deadly accident in the village and Glenn is blamed. Andrea, Timmy, and the doctor are all steadfastly defending Glenn, yet the local constabulary is resistant to them.
Who really is Glenn? Is he responsible for the accident? Is he the murderer that escaped from the transport boat the other week? Does he really have miraculous powers?
After an hour of watching The Time Traveller, or The Next One, as it used to be known, it finally dawned on me who the actor portraying Glenn was: David Bowman from 2001. Wow, he hasn't aged a day since 1968. And that was the highlight of my experience with this film.
As I mentioned, there are some surprising fundamental elements that could have been meshed together to create an intriguing and thought-provoking film, but that did not happen. What we get is a film that is so slowly paced that it was an effort to make it to the end. It felt like a major investment to see it through, in hopes of finding a satisfying resolution to the mystery developed for us. As tedious as the film is, it does not compare with the insulting ending. The film presents a completely expected resolution, thanks to abundant foreshadowing, that is absolutely unsatisfying and distasteful. You had a pretty good idea where the film was going, but the final payoff will still leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
I was mildly impressed when I realized that the two main actors here are not complete unknowns. Though I've never been a solid fan of either's work (but who doesn't know of Swamp Thing or 2001?), my hopes and expectations went up a notch, as compared to my other Nico Mastorakis experience, Grandmother's House. Being stuck with a lousy story is certainly not their fault, and they did an impressive job with the material given to them. I found their performances subtle and appealing, and they brought a measure of true life to their characters. Actually, I'd say that all of the characters did a fine job in this film.
As you may have guessed from his name, Nico Mastorakis is of Greek descent. Hence, all of his films have a strong Greek flavor to them, whether he uses Greek actors, employs a Greek crew, or films in or around Greece. That is in abundant evidence here, with the story taking place and filmed on the Grecian island of Mykonos. Now a major tourist area, Mykonos sets a lovely stage for this tale of loss and discovery. While the story may drag at times, there is still the charm of the island there to help pass the dragging minutes. Surprisingly, the film isn't as Greek as one would expect. It's tinged with the essence of the country, yet it is still wholly accessible to the outside audience.
Proudly advertised as the "2003 Version," what does this disc have in store for fans of this B-movie legend? The anamorphic transfer is quite disappointing, as the film is very soft with an abundance of grain, an exceptionally subdued palette, and weak black details. It feels as if there's a fine haze intruding into almost every scene, though there are a few, of course, that look better than others. Faring worse is the audio track. Image Entertainment states that there is a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix for this disc; however, on my screener, the only option available was a 2.0 Dolby Digital track. Based on this track, I had a terrible experience. As the movie went on, I found that I had to keep turning my volume up and up and up. It got to the point where I had my dial on "45," when it's normally on 28 to 30 for a film. Oddly, though, there wasn't any hiss or distortion at any level, just an improperly balanced mix. Further, there are no subtitles for the disc, which is always unacceptable.
If you're so inclined, there are a couple of useless special features for you to look at. First is a 23-minute featurette called "The Films of Nico Mastorakis, Part II." After watching the same feature on Grandmother's House, I had no interest in this watching it again as I still have no interest in this man's films. There's also a photo gallery, a trailer, a DVD specification list, and some filmographies and biographies as well.
I feel so very sorry for Timmy, the young son of Andrea. He's a charming little boy who doesn't deserve the neglect given to him. While he has a completely adorable dog named Artoo to keep him company, Timmy's mom basically forgets he exists once Glenn enters her life. As the two go gallivanting to Athens, this little boy is left all alone, completely unsupervised. He has no friends his age, just his dog. By today's societal norms, Andrea is a rotten mother who would lose Timmy in a heartbeat. Timmy deserves a better mom.
My second foray into the films of Nico Mastorakis is worse than my first. This film does not tie up its plot points into a satisfying resolution, assuming you make it that far. Paced like molasses, The Time Traveller is a film that is viewed best at 2:00am, when you're stuck with a bout of insomnia. I strongly suggest that you do not rent or buy this film. Nico Mastorakis, how were you able to make so many bad films?
Guilty! Nico Mastorakis and The Time Traveller are found guilty and sentenced to go back in time and prevent the creation of any of his films.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 1984
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* The Films of Nico Mastorakis, Part II
* Photo Gallery
* Filmographies and Biographies