×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Changer

"Time Changer," in limited nationwide release, is goofy fantasy hokum with something more on its mind -- something about the horrible future (or lack thereof) that awaits us if we do not rediscover God and abandon our selfish, sinful ways.

With:
Russell Carlisle - D. David Morin Norris Anderson - Gavin MacLeod The Dean - Hal Linden Michelle Bain - Jennifer O'Neill Eddie Rodriguez - Paul Rodriguez Dr. Wiseman - Richard Riehle Tom Sharp - John Valdetero Salesman - Brad Heller Bellhop - Ruben Madera Greg - Kevin Downes Cindy - Paige Peterson Kelly - Alana Curry

Time Changer,” in limited nationwide release, is goofy fantasy hokum with something more on its mind — something about the horrible future (or lack thereof) that awaits us if we do not rediscover God and abandon our selfish, sinful ways. Whether or not you can swallow that premise will likely dictate whether or not “Time Changer” is the movie for you. As helmer Rich Christiano’s pic pauses to explain: “Secular entertainment is one of the biggest tools Satan uses to mislead people.” This is a movie for those who wish to be misled no more.

Those words are spoken by a kindly research librarian (a radiant Jennifer O’Neill), in conversation with 19th-century Bible scholar Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin), who has time-traveled over 100 years into the future to observe the horrible spectacle of a Godless society. Pic opens in 1890, with Carlisle having authored a text arguing that the moral teachings of the Bible are paramount in importance, even if they are taught apart from teachings about God.

Eager for the endorsement of an influential group of seminarians (led by a bemused-looking Hal Linden), Carlisle presents his manuscript for their review, but meets with unexpected dissent from one, Norris Anderson (Gavin MacLeod), who insists that it would be catastrophic for God’s message to be conveyed without also conveying God’s name.

Anderson has more than just a hunch: The son of an eccentric inventor, he has perfected a time-travel machine and journeyed to the dawn of the 21st century — and returned mortified. Desperate to get his book endorsed, Carlisle shows up at Anderson’s laboratory and agrees to go on a similar trip into the future. Carlisle steps into Anderson’s machine only to turn up moments later in a downtown L.A. alley, circa 2002.

The early moments of “Time Changer” suggest a subpar “My Dinner With Andre” in period garb, with Linden and the other seminarians declaiming some distinctly uncinematic monologues about Christ’s authority. When pic suddenly switches gears to something resembling on old “Outer Limits,” helmer Christiano is on firmer ground. Familiar as they are, the scenes of Carlisle wandering about Los Angeles, discovering such things as television, radio and hot dogs are surprisingly enjoyable, probably because Morin is so disarmingly stiff in the role.

But it’s tough to get an accurate reading on “Time Changer.” Often, pic seems to have its tongue planted firmly in cheek, so that when Carlisle runs screaming from a Los Angeles movie theater after a character onscreen has blasphemed, it’s meant to be funny. On the other hand, viewers are expected to agree with Carlisle’s ultimate conclusion that the world is in its final days in 2002 based on the Bible not being taught in public schools, kids being disrespectful to their parents and department stores displaying sexy lingerie. There is something sweetly naive about pic’s astonished contention that this is because morals were taught in a nonreligious context. But it’s not a compelling argument for the Apocalypse.

“Time Changer,” however, anticipates just such a reaction and builds in a series of defenses. Not only is the film explicitly critical of Hollywood cinema in a way no Christian movie has quite been before, there’s a sense that certain Christian films have veered too far into secular territory and that this is the movie to set the genre back on course.

Pic nobly attempts to instill the fear of God in its audience without resorting to the fire-and-brimstone theatrics of its “Omega Code” forerunners, its point being that the “little things” (i.e., the lingerie, the blasphemy) are no less catastrophic than all the debauchery of Sodom and Gomorrah. For audiences who connect with pic on that level, it will likely be all the tougher to shake off.

Time Changer

Production: A Five & Two pictures release and presentation in association with Christiano Film Group. Produced by Rich Christiano, Kevin Downes. Executive producer, Paul Crouch. Co-producers, Bobby Downes, Geoff Ludlow. Directed, written by Rich Christiano.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Philip Hurn; editor, Jeffrey Lee Hollis; music, Jaspar Randall; production designer, Laird Pulver; art director, Niko Vilaivongs; costume designer, Rebecca Smith-Serna; sound designer, Matthew Waters; visual effects supervisor, Phillip Moses. Reviewed at UA Valley Plaza, N. Hollywood, Oct. 26, 2002. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: Russell Carlisle - D. David Morin Norris Anderson - Gavin MacLeod The Dean - Hal Linden Michelle Bain - Jennifer O'Neill Eddie Rodriguez - Paul Rodriguez Dr. Wiseman - Richard Riehle Tom Sharp - John Valdetero Salesman - Brad Heller Bellhop - Ruben Madera Greg - Kevin Downes Cindy - Paige Peterson Kelly - Alana Curry

More Film

  • Raising Hell: The Life and Times

    Film Review: 'Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins'

    One of the more entertaining as well as insightful political commentators of the past half-century is paid a suitably entertaining tribute in “Raise Hell.” A long tall Texan too amusingly outrageous to draw real resentment from most of her targets, Molly Ivins nonetheless aimed stinging criticism at political figures both national and in her native [...]

  • The Lighthouse

    Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Unveils Lineup

    Robert Eggers’s anticipated “The Lighthouse” with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, Bertrand Bonello’s “Zombi Child” and Japanese helmer Takashi Miike’s “First Love” are set to unspool at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight under the new leadership of Paolo Moretti. Described by Moretti as a “hypnotic two-hander” powered by Pattinson and Dafoe, “The Lighthouse” is fantasy horror film [...]

  • Media Luna Acquires ‘We Had It

    Cannes Festival: Media Luna Takes ‘We Had It Coming,’ ‘The Friendly Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    In the run-up to next month’s Cannes Festival, Cologne-based Media Luna New Films has acquired international rights to “We Had It Coming,” starring Natalie Krill (“Wynonna Earp,” “Below Her Mouth”) and Brazil’s “The Friendly Man,” one of the standouts at Ventana Sur’s strong Copia Final showcase of near-finished Latin American movies. MK2 Mile End will [...]

  • ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Make Emotional Speeches

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Make Emotional Speeches at Historic Marvel Premiere

    If more than twenty worldwide blockbusters over ten years sounds like a big undertaking, try locking up the cell phones and smartwatches of Hollywood’s most important people for four hours. Only a franchise with the cache of the “Avengers” series could have A-list talent, celebrity fans, agents and executives gladly turn over their gadgets for [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' First Reactions: 'Most Emotional, Most Epic MCU Film'

    The end is finally here. “Avengers: Endgame” had its world premiere Monday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center and reactions on social media from fans, journalists and critics are already pouring in. The reaction has so far been almost universally positive, with several commentors warning fans of the movie’s emotional elements. Brandon Davis wrote [...]

  • Josh Brolin, Kathryn Boyd. Josh Brolin,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Josh Brolin: Thanos' Butt Is a 'Beautiful, Purple Peach'

    On the eve of “Avengers: Endgame’s” world premiere, everyone’s thoughts have turned to the one crucial detail that could be the difference between life or death for the Avengers: Does Thanos have a butt? “I don’t know what that whole thing is about! I really don’t!” Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, told Variety‘s Marc Malkin [...]

  • Tessa Thompson'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Tessa Thompson Says Valkyrie Would Spoon Captain Marvel, Thor

    Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” had no problem addressing speculation about the character’s sexuality at the “Endgame” red carpet premiere Monday. The “Sorry to Bother You” actress explained that she played her Marvel character as bisexual. “In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual. You see her with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content