Trying to jump on the popularity of Back to the Future and Alien with mixing the two together creates a big mess for high school students Michael, Ellie and Vince when they find a mysterious device that can control time and space. Directed by Jonathan R. Betuel (who also wrote The Last Starfighter) and starring John Stockwell, Danielle Von Zernack, Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper the film flopped at the cinemas with reviews from 1985 saying “far less clever ad less expensive Back to the future.”
Michale Harland (John Stockwell) is a student at the high school who’s only passion is fixing up muscle cars with his best friend Vince (Fisher Stevens). During a science lesson, his teacher Dr Roberts (Dennis Hopper) asks him to bring him something so he can pass the class. Clambering to locate something he takes Ellie the class bookworm and crush to a government airbase which contains all old vehicles. They find a device of which glows and reluctantly bring it to school the next day. They find out it is a device that can control time and space. They show it to Dr Roberts and turn it on to show him. He gets sucked into a random part of time and space so it is up to the trio so save him from pending doom.
The film tried to mix the nostalgia of Back to the Future with the mystery of Alien with the device turning the school into a trove of time travelling apparel. With mixed messages, the film ultimately fails on every wing with the main characters being stale and boring (minus Fisher Steven and the loopy Dennis Hopper). The entire film tries to bring a sense of mystery to the device the trio find, but the story throws the origin story behind the device in the back seat with comedy going up front. As I said before the humour is stale, but the special effects are pretty good. Considering the age of the film and budget of the film, they actually did a pretty decent job with certain sequences.
The actual characters are written in a tone that makes you like them and director Jonathan R. Betuel has creates an interesting story with them contained. The only problem is that the story is weak and there is no overall conclusion at the end. You can tell this film was rushed by the studio thanks to the lack of attention to the script.
It is a cheap knockoff that tried to hold its own but ultimately fell foul to copycat tactics that made it fail. At least the cast did successfully with John Stockwell becoming a Hollywood film director and Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper nominating and winning Oscars after the film.
Should you watch it: NO