Beyond the Time Barrier

PLOT:

U.S. Air Force test pilot Major Bill Allison (Robert Clarke) flies an experimental aircraft to sub-orbital spaceflight successfully but loses radio contact. He lands at his airbase that now is abandoned and seems old and unused. Mystified by his surroundings, he sees a futuristic city on the horizon where he is rendered unconscious and captured by the inhabitants.

Allison discovers that he has entered a wormhole through time and has landed in the year 2024 that contains survivors from a cosmic plague that hit the Earth starting in 1971. The inhabitants of the dystopia who are dying out live in an underground city called The Citadel. They are led by the Supreme (Vladimir Sokoloff) and his mute and telepathic granddaughter Princess Trirene (twenty-year old, at the time, Darlene Tompkins). Against them are the literal outsiders, the bald violent mutants who seek to kill everyone they can. Also present are similar accidental time travelers labeled “scapes”; the Russian Captain Markova (Arianne Ulmer) who came from 1973 and General Kruse (Stephen Bekassy) and Professor Bourman (John Van Dreelen) who have come from 1994 to escape the plague of the time.

REVIEW:

It has been a couple of weeks since I last reviewed a good black and white film. Beyond the Time Barrier may not be considered a good film, but it is in black and white, at least. That should count for something, right?

What is this about?

After piloting a test flight through a suborbital wormhole, Maj. William Allison returns back to his base to discover that he’s been gone 64 years.

What did I like?

Time travel. Who doesn’t like a good story about time travel, right? Why else would the Back to the Future franchise have been so popular, and still is 30 years later? And let us not forget about Dr. Who! The time travel aspect of this film is totally by accident, which is usually how it happens, but the way it is done, by getting lost in space and coming back down to a dystopian Earth, was interesting to me. The mystery of how it all happened also piqued my interest.

Trirene. For a character that is mute, Darlene Tompkins’ Trirene is quite the character. Not only is she beautiful, but she somehow manages to tragically endear herself to the audience because she is the last hope of her people to reproduce. I still wonder why she was mute and how she managed to not be sterile like everyone else, but that could have just been a part that I missed.

Knowledge upon return. When our hero does manage to return to Earth, he is a changed man, in more ways than one. I won’t spoil what happens to him, but I will say that the knowledge he gained while in the year 2024 and shares it with his fellow man. In some instances of time travel, this would be a bad thing because it would unravel the space-time continuum, but in this case, it seems to be ok, as it what he knows can save the human race and prevent civilization from falling apart, as it had in the future he saw.

What didn’t I like?

Plague. From the minute we shift to the future, there is much talk about the plague that afflicted civilization. However, much like The Walking Dead, not much else is said about it, other than it started and wiped most people out. How did is start, though? Were there no doctors and/or scientists fighting to rid the world of this menace? Did they just sit idly by as the world was torn asunder? I’m sure these are questions many will have as they watch this film and hear talk, or lack thereof, of the plague.

Easy escape. Usually, when one manages to escape easily, it is a trap that sets up something bigger and better later on. However, this escape was just easy for the sake of being easy (and the low-budget). The mutant creatures that want to do nothing but kill should have been more of a threat, but they weren’t, and the opposing forces were all but nonexistent. No wonder our hero was able to get out of there so easily. Where was the challenge?!?

The look. I’m not sure if this was the way the film was originally film, the result of the transfer, or some Netflix issue, but there seemed to be an odd look about this film. I can’t exactly describe what it is, but it wasn’t the way a classic black and white picture was supposed to look like. As a matter of fact, it resembled the look that modern films have when they are films or converted to black and white.

Well, I said I wanted to watch an old film this afternoon and with Beyond the Time Barrier, that is exactly what I did. However, I cannot say that this was a good flick. It appears to be a C-list film and the low-budget is obvious. I think I read somewhere that this was made in the span of 10 days. Does that mean it is bad? Not really, but it doesn’t mean it is good either. Do I recommend this? No, and it pains me to say that. By every stretch of the imagination, this should be a good flick, but it isn’t. There are far superior classic sci-fi films out there, and if you must watch something to do with time travel, become a Whovian!

2 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Beyond the Time Barrier”

  1. […] My reviews of movies I catch via Netflix, in theaters, TV, or my own DVD collection. « Beyond the Time Barrier […]

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