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B-movie: Time Quest

Of the people who still actually bother visiting a physical DVD rental store, I’m probably one of the few who makes a b-line for the bargain bin and ex-rental shelves. Call it the allure of b-grade action movie, c-grade sci-fi and z-grade horror, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to junk food movies. I’m not proud, but not everything needs to be an academy award contender to just be damn good fun.

Of course, one of the greatest dangers of fishing in the bargain bin is that you’re more than likely to hook yourself a real stinker, sometimes they stink so bad that they turn out to be awesome… and other times, well, other times they just stink. However, every once in a while you come up trumps (*casts loving glance at ZOMBIES ON A PLANE DVD*). So when I found myself a stones throw from a Blockbuster the other day, I thought I’d mix metaphors and dive in.

I’ve only managed to pluck up the courage to watch one of the DVDs I purchased that day and while I’m certainly not going to suggest that TIME QUEST (2000) is an undiscovered classic, I will say that I was surprised to find that this is a pretty interesting stomp over some well-tread territory.

Given the opportunity to ride in a time machine, after seeing Time Quest, I think my first intention would be to get that sucker up to 88 miles per hour and run over whatever moron decided that Time Quest was a good name for a movie. As you may have guessed Time Quest has a time-travel component to its plot, indeed it was the only reason I bought the movie in the first place. However, the movie isn’t about time travel, it’s about the ramifications of it.

From a desolate future which we never see, a mysterious man (Ralph Waite) travels back to the day of John F Kennedy’s (Victor Slezak) assassination. Warning the president of the impending attempt on his life causes the time traveller to be erased from existence, a fate which he accepts as part of his efforts to change the course of history – but not before he makes a personal request of the president’s wife Jacqueline (Caprice Benedetti).

Time Quest is told in the kind of disjointed fashion which will make fans of LOST feel right at home. We see snippets of scenes which appear to be from our (unchanged) timeline, only to later see them play out completely in the altered timeline. Additionally there are scenes set in the year 2000, around the time of Kennedy’s death (of natural causes) where a promising story-line, involving an Oliver-Stone-esque filmmaker William Roberts (The Bruce Campbell) and his discovery of mysterious events which took place in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Unfortunately the William Roberts conspiracy theory really only serves as a vehicle for us to see the alternate reality version of the Zapruder footage, and isn’t followed through on in any real capacity, which can probably be said for most of the film. In some ways this film plays out like an interesting documentary, in others though it feels incomplete and unfinished. The acting is often wooden and the script is clunkier than dragging George Lucas down a flight of stairs in a bag of hammers, but none the less, there is something enjoyable about this film. Perhaps it’s the ‘what if’ factor… or perhaps it’s just seeing the dad from The Waltons in a steampunk time travel suit? Or perhaps it is the fact that I sat through Richard Donner’s appalling TIMELINE… which has almost as bad a name as TIME QUEST, but sucked so much more.

I won’t suggest that anyone should rush out and grab this film. And yeah, it’s crap. But if you see it in the $3 bin at blockbuster and you’re a fan of time travel movies, just know that you could do much worse! [source]

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    Bruce Campbell is very much the underrated b-grade movie star.
    Loved him as Elvis (King-of-Rock-Elvis), now in a retirement home in ‘Bubba Ho-tep’, facing off against an ancient Egyptian Mummy with a black JFK as his trusty side-kick.
    Didn’t mind him in ‘Army of Darkness’ either.

  • “Timeline” can’t have been as bad as Peter Hyams’ “A Sound of Thunder”