(out of 5)
A group of archaeologists are informed that while developing a new teleportation invention, a corporation has discovered a wormhole into the past, six hundred years earlier to the same part of rural France where they have been excavating. A group of diggers are sent back in time when it is discovered that the leader of their research team (Billy Connolly) has gone ahead and is in some kind of trouble, including Connolly’s son (Paul Walker), his closest assistants (Frances O’Connor, Gerard Butler) and a bunch of people whom we don’t get too close to because they’ll probably be killed off early (if it sounds like an old Star Trek episode, you’re not far off). It should be a quick six-hour search and rescue, but thanks to unavoidable circumstances they end up smack dab in the middle of the hundred-year war and technical difficulties prevent them returning as quickly as originally hoped. Despite its rather hackneyed plotting and glaring scientific plot holes, this adaptation of Michael Crichton’s popular novel is diverting stuff, featuring some engaging characters and an exciting climax complete with flaming arrows and nick-of-time rescues. Its sore points come mainly from incredibly weak performances from a very dull O’Connor and from Walker; the film would have done better to concentrate on Butler and Anna Friel as his French lady love, two much more interesting characters who have a heck of a lot more chemistry between them.
Directed by Richard Donner
Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel
Music by Brian Tyler
Production Design by Daniel T. Dorrance
Costume Design by Jenny Beavan
Film Editing by Richard Marks