Time After Time is a time travel film without science fiction, a fish-out-of-water situation without comedy, and a satirical look at American culture in 1980 without drama. None of that is to say it is a bad film. It is merely a difficult one to put a thumb on. But I'll make it easy for you: Time After Time is a romantic thriller. The time travel is just to put a unique spin, but at its core it is about a smart but out of place man meeting a woman he falls deeply for and she falls deeply and instantly for him as his best friend, who he just learned is a terrible psychopath, tries to rip everything away from him. Except make the two male characters H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper.
Firstly, the special effects are terrible. Mostly because they are not important to what the film actually wants to do. But if you are going to have science fiction elements, if you are going to time travel, you have to put SOME budget into special effects. But nope, the time machine looks terrible, the effects are terrible, and it is just a real let down. The film isn't about those things, but every time they do pop up in plot or circumstance, it is just a slap in the face because it is so out of place.
That out of the way, the acting is adorable and terrifying and just excellent ... but also a little off. I don't know if they were allowed to ad lib a lot or if the script is written in such a way to sound like mumbling and bumbling speech, but I don't know if I should applaud the script ... or the acting ... or just look at it all and just say, "Oh ... honey."
This is a gif I hope to use a lot more.
That feeling actually expresses my thoughts on the whole film. But I do genuinely like it. The romance is sweet, and a little off and quirky. The tension all the way through to the finish is really on point. But then the special effects show up and just ... deflate everything. Just makes me say, "Oh, honey" again. I like the movie. It both feels like it tries too hard and not enough. But when it comes down to it, all three actors are great, and when they do the romance it is really nice, and the suspense is really taut, and the little bits with Malcolm McDowell just EVERYWHERE are great.