I have this undying love of movies that have anything to do with time travel, which is why I picked up this rather obscure film that I had heard of from the video store. The problem here is that the movie's intentions are too obvious. Time travel can never work, that much is a given, and it follows then that time travel movies take advantage of a human fascination in the concept, and have an overwhelming tendency, therefore, to be made almost entirely for entertainment purposes. Enter Time Changer, an ultra-religious film whose very title implies that one of it's characters will have the God-like capability of traveling through time.
So the movie is pretty straightforward religious propaganda, by definition. That much is pretty obvious, regardless of your own or my own personal religious beliefs. It is a film made to promote a certain religious viewpoint, and I think that this is something to keep in mind before watching it. I certainly didn't expect it, and I can't say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The film starts out in the late 1800s, at a table of men discussing the publication of a new book, which deals with the benefits of adhering to the morals of Christianity, but without an attachment to the names of God or Jesus. The men sit around the table thrilled at the idea, hopeful that it should be able to collectively improve the lives of people who would like to lead moral lives but are not inclined toward believing in Jesus or God. The younger audience are particularly targeted by this idea.
There are six or seven or so of these men, all excited to publish the book as soon as possible, but one of them shows up late, vehemently denouncing the novel and fighting against its publication. He says that this belief in the morals of God but without FEAR of God is dangerous, and just so happens to have a time machine that has allowed him to travel 100 years into the future so that he can prove himself right. He urges the author of the book, Russell Carlisle (an abysmal performance from D. David Morin), to use the time machine himself so that he can travel to modern times and see the results of the ideas put forth in his proposed book. He eventually does, and comes face to face with normal modern society, and finds himself appalled at what has become of the church.
Personally, I don't believe that someone living a moral life but without the fear of God is doing a thing in the world wrong. The addition of fear, of any kind, into an already moral life in needless and even detrimental. From a technical standpoint, the film is a low-tech mess, coherent but with basal production standards. The acting is absolutely awful across the board, and the idea of a time machine invented in the 1890s (even if only because the idea of time travel, more than a century later, is so astronomical that it is not even attempted by serious modern scientists) is childish, at best.
I'm willing to accept the premise of a time machine being invented and used in the 1890s in order to travel into the future and see what kind of world a book like the one presented would help to create, but only from a pure entertainment standpoint. I would love to see a movie about Einstein inventing a time machine and traveling to the future and seeing what he thinks of space travel and the Back to the Future movies and whatnot, but Time Changer is trying to take itself and be taken more seriously than it deserves.
I will grant credit to the fact that society at large may hold religious beliefs that are certain to be horrifying to the religious community of 110 years ago, but I am not willing to admit that someone who lives a moral life but does not connect their morals with Jesus is living in sin or, even more ludicrous, has any chance of spending an eternity in Hell. I know far too many people who live happily, have wonderful families, and are good and civil to their fellow man to have the ability to believe or ever be convinced that they will spend eternity burning in a lake of fire because they do not attend church regularly or make Jesus or God a significant portion of their lives, and I do not feel obliged to believe in a God who is so self righteous that He would damn people like that.
If you do, more power to you. To each his own, I say. But picture this, just hypothetically -' man is living in harmony. There are no gangs, no murders, no wars, no hatred, racism, robberies, or weapons of mass destruction. All of the humans on earth are living happily with themselves and with each other. But none of them attach the morals by which they live their lives to Jesus. Granted, this is a purely hypothetical situation that I don't believe is humanly possible, but just pretend that was how life on earth was at this moment. Do you think that God would condemn every human on earth, the humans described above, because they did not attribute their achievements and morals to Jesus?
I realize that Jesus died for our sins, if that's your belief. But it just seems to me that, if God created humanity and the earth and the heavens, a whole planet full of benevolent humans living in peace might be viewed as something of a success, rather than something to condemn. But hey, if you think all those people's souls should spend eternity in a lake of fire, Time Changer is the movie for you.
Review by Michael DeZubiria from the Internet Movie Database.