As a rule, Time Travel is a hard thing to write about. It’s sort of stupid that you’d ever go back in time to “fix” anything, because even the most minor of changes would blow your reality apart. Once you do the smallest deviation from what actually happened in the past, you would somehow write out your own existence because of a modified timeline that had been created by you going back to 1985 to get a McDLT while they were still around. Most time travel movies just ignore this, and since I don’t really want to get into multiple timeline / quantum physics discussions on a Friday morning, let’s just leave it at this — most time travel movies are stupid. As a result, I normally only focus on Time Travel movies that are not serious — like Back to the Future and Time Bandits. However, when I saw Timestalkers the other day for Netflix streaming I couldn’t pass it up… Time Travelers from the the future going into the Wild West? I figured that was at least worth checking out.
Timestalkers is about college professor Scott MacKenzie, who along with teaching something or other is also a collector of all things from the American Wild West. The movie starts showing him playing with his son (Danny Pintauro — Angela’s son on Who’s the Boss) and hugging his wife and generally having an awesome life. Then, in the first 2 minutes of the movie, he watches his wife and son die in a fiery car explosion while pulling out of their own driveway, all because of a police chase gone bad.
Flash forward an undetermined amount of time, and Scott has completely bottled his feelings inside and really gotten into the Wild West stuff, spending the time when he’s not teaching going to auctions and buying a bunch of old West memorabilia, and hanging out in his backyard mastering the art of “drawing your weapon” as if he was in a pistol duel. He and John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) go out to an auction and get a couple of old Western chests, and after breaking open the chest and getting a bunch of random 100-year-old trash, Scott finds a couple of photos of old Gunslingers.
That would be a boring ass-movie if it was just a man going to auctions, so here’s where the Time Travel kicks in. Being that Scott is a history buff, he notices that one of the men has a gun that wasn’t made until 1950. Instead of doing what you or I would do, and assume that he got hoaxed at the auction — Scott goes on to prove that the photos are real and thereby prove that he has proof of time travel. Scott MacKenzie is about to become a very famous man.
However, making a lot of theories and papers is bound to get someone’s attention, and in this case it’s caught the attention of Lauren Hutton, who comes back from the future to find Dr. MacKenzie, and possibly drink a slurpee with her mouth closed. The woman from the future comes back to find the photos that MacKenzie had because she’s looking for the time traveler that was in the photo. Then she goes back to the Wild West where the photo was taken and… well I really don’t know. I think she goes back to find the Time Traveler (played by the always freakish looking Klaus Kinski), but instead she ends up talking to a blacksmith and then rolling on the ground for a few minutes before catching the attention of the mystery Time Traveler and then going back to current time.
What ends up happening is a really poorly thought out caper involving the mystery Time Traveler. See — he’s actually the co-inventor of Time Travel, but due to the law in The Future, he can’t get credit for it over Dr. Crawford, who is also the female time travelers father. Apparently the plan to get control over the invention of time travel is to go back to the 1880s and rob a stagecoach and kill an ancient relative of Dr. Crawford while he is heavily guarded by the Federal government. As a result, female time traveler must go back in time and stop him by having a Wild West gunfight.
This is one of the stupidest time travel plots ever written. Why wouldn’t Klaus Kinski just go back in time like 2 years and give himself the time travel device plans? Or assuming that won’t work, at the very least, Klaus could go back in time and smother Dr. Crawford to death as an infant — I mean, we watch him break into a high-security military installation (in the 1980s), so a hospital won’t be nearly as involved. Why wouldn’t Lauren Hutton just go back in time to right before the time travel device is stolen in the first place and tell someone? Really, this movie ignores all obvious logic and shoots straight to the most convoluted time travel plan ever… but it’s totally worth watching once.
As a special treat for you non-netflix owners — this movie is entirely viewable on Youtube. Here’s the first part of the movie, and the links afterward will take you to parts 2-11. Enjoy while you’re at work or something!
Author: Jeremy P
Jeremy P is a game-playing, film-watching workhorse from Baltimore. He wants to be left alone, but you can follow him on the Twitters. @DelishBoloney
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