From Avengers: Endgame to Looper, any fictional story about time journey has to cope with one easy reality: time journey doesn’t make any sense. Whereas features of time journey exist in the true world — like when scientists gaze deep into the far reaches of the Universe and see what ancient stars appeared like — that is not what Doc Brown was speaking about in Back to the Future.
In science fiction, time journey about bodily transporting oneself into the previous or the longer term — after which coping with the implications of these actions. And there is one underrated film streaming on Amazon Prime that offers with these points in a very distinctive and superb approach.
The Historical past of Time Journey is a enjoyable film that places the give attention to these penalties. By means of the lens of a pretend documentary, it explores how one household frequently wreaks havoc on the timeline of the twentieth century. It’s a household saga meshed with a loving ode to time journey tales of the previous, every little thing from H.G Wells to Again to the Future.
One word: The Historical past of Time Journey was director Ricky Kennedy’s faculty thesis movie, and it actually does really feel prefer it. Not that there’s something unsuitable with faculty motion pictures, however the lack of price range reveals within the film’s settings, props, and performances. Nobody would mistake this for the Historical past Channel documentaries it parodies. However like The Vast of Night, one other zero-budget sci-fi film streaming on Amazon Prime, Historical past of Time Journey makes up for its lack of polish by leaning into aesthetics.
For Huge of Night time, that was its eeriness. For Historical past of Time Journey, it’s an earnest love of its matter — and a willingness to get goofy.
Historical past considerations itself with the saga of the Web page household, who over two generations form time journey and the course of human historical past. All of it begins with patriarch Edward Web page, a scientist who joins a World Struggle II-era secret authorities undertaking referred to as the Indiana Venture. After the warfare ends, Web page’s work consumes him, to the extent of ignoring his polio-stricken spouse (credit score the place it’s due: the film references a 1949 polio epidemic in Indiana which actually happened. Kennedy is clearly a fan of particulars).
She dies forsaking a boy, Richard, who follows his father into physics and ultimately builds a time machine utilizing Edward’s pocket book after his personal dying. Utilizing this time machine, which contains an outdated Atari gaming system, Richard kicks off new timeline after new timeline. The film illustrates this by having its documentary speaking heads abruptly change their tales mid-interview.
It’s a cute gimmick that additionally performs out within the film’s background. Slowly however absolutely, a globe in a single interviewee’s background grows redder and redder, reflecting the Soviet Union’s rising dominance on this planet due to their theft of the Web page time machine. Portraits behind a army normal change forwards and backwards between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Because the Pages develop extra obsessive about righting the wrongs of their new timelines, the adjustments within the film begin turning into extra elaborate and sophisticated. These adjustments are by no means actually explored—what does a Soviet-dominated world seem like past sure historic moments being altered? All the things appears just about the identical in The Historical past of Time Journey.
That’s the problem of time journey: the adjustments being explored listed here are so large that moving into any element would threat making a really plot-heavy story much more complicated. However at an hour and ten minutes, The Historical past of Time Journey by no means wears out its welcome. There are enjoyable alternate timelines, Easter eggs galore, and a household drama grounding all of it collectively.
The Historical past of Time Journey is streaming now on Amazon Prime within the U.S.