Saturday, April 27, 2013
Bechtloff Movie Night: Time Changer (2002)
This movie is about Dr. Russell Carlisle, a Bible Professor living in the year 1890. He has just published a manuscript entitled The Changing Times and is seeking the endorsement of the board of the seminary he teaches at. All of the board loves it but his colleague Dr. Anderson raises an objection. There is a part in the manuscript about how the moral teachings of Christ should be taught, even if one can not teach about Christ himself. Anderson contents that leading people to salvation should be the first priority of Christians and that morality without Christ is dead and will eventually decay into immorality. I actually agree with Dr. Anderson and it's something I wish would get through to today's more politically minded activist Evangelicals. If they spent more time and energy into actually ministering to, preaching to, and above all loving their neighbors rather than trying to use the strong arm of the government to get them to act in more moral ways maybe we would see some real revival in this country.
But I digress. Dr Anderson invites Carlisle over to his place to further discuss their disagreement and once there Dr. Anderson shows Carlisle his time machine. That's right he has a time machine. Apparently Anderson's father was an inventor and designed this right before he died and Anderson built it. Anderson sends Carlisle to the present day and Carlisle is shocked at the moral decay. Carlisle returns and agrees to change his manuscript.
OK, where do I begin here? First of all Carlisle is a retard. I mean he truly seems to be mentally deficient and shows, as a character, incredibly poor judgement and a complete inability to adapt or learn. If you found yourself transported over a century in the future would you A.) attempt to get information to understand this new environment you find yourself in or B.) run around like an idiot making yourself look like an asshole or a mental patient. If you answered A congratulations on being smarter than a fucking professor.
Right before Anderson sends Carlisle to the future he tells him of a librarian he has encountered there and that he should seek her out to help guide him and provide him with info. Does Carlisle do this? Well yes, but not before bumbling around this world he doesn't understand for a few days making a complete ass of himself. Almost every scene of Carlisle in the future is one of two things, either him blowing up about this or that improper or immoral thing with varying degrees of hysteria, or a fish out of water gag of him interacting with modern technology that is usually extremely unfunny. That's it. Over and over again. And you know what, it's not dramatic, it's not funny, it's just awkward. Really really awkward. It gets downright painful to watch at times. It's not even consistent with how he reacts with technology. At one point he goes for a ride in a van with some friends at a local church he made and looks at the van like it is some sort of sorcery. He even sticks his head out of the window as though he was looking for a horse to be pulling it. OK fine, except he had been in the future for days at this point and had already encountered cars several times. Hell, he was nearly hit by one while walking around like a moron shortly after arriving in our time. This is what I mean by the fact that he doesn't seem to pick anything up or actually fucking learn.
One scene really got me and I'll tell you why. There is a scene where Carlisle is in a park and discovers a drinking fountain. Right before he goes to drink a little black girl drinks first. And he says nothing about this. Now this is where I really have to call bullshit. One of two reactions was necessary here, either he has a problem with drinking after her due to the social norms of his time, or he comments on how he is pleased that negos and whites live together in peace. He doesn't just think nothing of that coming from 1890. See this movie wants us to think that everything was sunshine lollypops and rainbows everywhere in 1890. Bullshit. Sure there are plenty of ways our society as decayed but also plenty of ways it has improved. This movie really goes to show the ridiculous rose colored glasses that Evangelical culture sees the past with.
This movie could have been good. It could have taken a look at the ways Western civilization is declining and how that relates to the decline of Christianity in the West in an engaging and thoughtful way. But that would have required far more creativity and even intellectual honesty than the makers of this film apparently possessed. Instead what we got was an awkward uncomfortable mess. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and stop myself from watching this raging dumpster fire of a movie.