Time Travel Thursdays: Another Time (2018)
Time Travel Tropes5
Matthew Turner | On 25, Jun 2020
Director: Thomas Hennessy
Cast: Justin Hartley, Arielle Kebbel, James Kyson, Chrishell Stause, Alan Pietruszewski
Watch Another Time online in the UK: Amazon Prime
Wondering how to fill the time travel gap now that Travelers and Timeless have been cancelled? Transport yourself no further than Time Travel Thursdays, our column devoted to time travel movies on Amazon Prime. It’s on Thursdays.
What would you do if you found out that this women you really liked was happily engaged to someone else? Would you invent time travel and go back in time, hoping to try your luck just before she meets her future fiancé? Of course not – that would be a terrible thing to do, for multiple reasons. And yet that’s exactly what happens in this poorly conceived fantasy romance, the second feature from director / co-writer Thomas Hennessy.
Justin Hartley (This Is Us, Smallville’s Green Arrow) plays wealthy businessman Eric Laziter, who’s spent his life making money rather than doing things like pursuing his dream of being an astronaut or finding true love. When he meets free-spirited Julia (Chrishell Stause) through a work assignment, she encourages him to follow his heart’s desire and he falls madly in love with her. There’s just one problem: she’s happily engaged to a really nice guy and she politely lets Eric know that, “if the universe wanted us to be together, then we’d be together”.
That’s not enough for Eric, though. Oh, no. Since Julia already told him how she and her fiancé met (at the first showing of Twilight), Eric figures that all he has to do is invent time travel, travel back to 2008 and pick her up just before her future fiancé appears. To do so, he tracks down disgraced scientist Dr Joseph Goyer (Alan Pietruszewski), who’d previously blown up his lab trying to create a time machine.
Slightly dodgy motivation aside – in fairness to the film, it sort of accepts that – Another Time seems to have all the right ingredients in place for a charming time travel fantasy romance: a lovestruck quest (there is, at least, genuine chemistry between Hartley and Staus, which is just as well, as they’re married in real life), a comedic element (step forward Heroes’ James Kyson as Kal, Eric’s best friend in both 2013 and 2008) and an actual time machine. The problem is that the script is so poorly thought out that it feels like the filmmakers shot the first draft by mistake. Consequently, the structure is utterly baffling and the plot completely falls apart.
To give some examples, it’s a full hour and six minutes before actual time travel occurs. That’s all well and good, but there are only 22 minutes of the movie left at that point (including the credits), so the entire last act is ridiculously rushed, squandering all the film’s emotional potential in the process (there’s a letter-to-Doc-Brown-inspired subplot that’s given the shortest shrift imaginable). On top of that, despite the film falling over itself to attempt to give an accurate scientific background to its time travel (there is a lot of maths), no thought whatsoever is given to what might happen to the 2008 version of Eric once 2013 Eric shows up.
Similarly, the more you examine Eric’s behaviour, the more awful he looks. He knows that whatever happens, he won’t be coming back – the film posits that he’ll be creating a separate, parallel timeline – but he doesn’t even bother leaving his parents a note to say goodbye (they’re on a cruise, but still).
It would have been a more interesting film if he’d had to deal with the ramifications of his actions, but the film lets him off the hook – spare a thought for poor Arielle Kebbel, who has precisely three scenes and is expected to help the film reach a convincingly happy ending.
Sadly, the main takeaway from Another Time is one of missed opportunities, not just in terms of the story and romance, but also the comedy – there are two very poor jokes about 2008 vs 2013 – as well as an apparent reluctance to have any fun at all with time travel tropes.
The film does remain watchable throughout, thanks to a performance from Hartley that’s just about likeable enough for him to get away with his wrong-headed nonsense. Kyson really overdoes his comedy best friend turn (complete with a great Doc Brown impression), but it’s still entertaining. And at least the film has a decent time travel effect, even if the time machine is just a panel on the floor in a workshop.
Another Time is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.