Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.
At long last, we come to the end of the Speed-Time Continuum Reeves/Bullock Quadrilogy: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Lake House, and today’s installment, Premonition. Sandra Bullock IS Linda Hanson, happily married to the hunky Jim Hanson (Julian McMahon). One day, a police officer comes to her door to tell her that Jim is dead. She is obviously traumatized, but the real misery begins when, the next morning, Jim is very much not dead. Was it all a bad dream, or was it all a bad movie?
Premonition is a bad movie with a pretty great script. Maybe. I haven’t read it. Okay, backtrack… this movie, at its core, is exceptional. This is a great premise that I can mostly get behind. Unfortunately, a lot went wrong in the execution. I don’t have a section for THE EXECUTION. Oh, hell, I do today. Call it… an omen.
So, right… the story?
Sorry, yes, the story. The story is interesting. Mrs. Hanson is mmmbopping her way around time and trying to solve the mystery of how her husband dies. Great. That’s cool. I can’t really talk about it because it’s a mystery, one I enjoyed. It’s neat to watch it unfold. Lots of pay-offs and then the set-ups. It’s stimulating to watch. Obviously, the two big questions for a premise like this are “Can I prevent my husband’s death?” and “Why is this happening?” And the answers are not completely predictable. For this, I give the movie a lot of respect.
Ahh, but a lot of it is stupid because of…
You know those terrible editing clichés you can’t stand in modern horror movies? They’re all here, even though this isn’t a horror movie. The quick cuts, the random negatives, the backwards sound effects… it all looks like crap they stuffed in to make a trailer that would trick stupid kids into thinking it was a PG-13 horror flick.
Actually, I’ve never seen the trailer. Let’s uncork this thing.
I literally cannot call the genre they’re going for in the trailer anything other than “mom.” This is a movie for your mom.
The other big problem is that the movie tries to have a message at the end. One that just ultimately fails. I feel like when a time travel movie really sucks, it is both emotionally empty and contains no internal logic. Sandra’s last time fuck, The Lake House, tried to be all emotion and no logic. This film is the opposite. The time travel is solid. Emotionally, what the hell?
Also, spiritually, what the hell?
“Lemme fire up the Large Angel Collider and get back to you.”
Sandra goes to her priest for his advice on time travel… and he has some. As near as I can tell, the movie wants us to believe his answer? This is the moment where it all falls apart. You can say that he and Sandra are wrong and come up with some other theory that you believe is at play, but you can’t deny that the filmmakers left no room for interpretation. At least you can debate Groundhog Day with your friends, which makes it king of the hill for magic time travel.
I’m sorry, that was a story point under the wrong heading. I feel like I’m living this whole article out of order.
There aren’t any time travel special effects in the movie. Sandra just wakes up every morning and has no idea what day it may be. I’m okay with this… considering how many other parts of the movie have stupid filters and weird cuts, at least we were spared confusing bullshit for the actual time travel.
There’s some terribly jarring CGI in this. Like, really bad. Some of it is understandable from a budgetary standpoint. Some of it is broken glass. Do we not even break things in movies any more?
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
I don’t buy Sandra Bullock and Julian McMahon as a married couple. Occasionally they will have a touching moment, but only because Sandra’s character is so traumatized.
“Eww, eww, ewwwww, who are you, lady?”
They seem to either be going through the marital motions or intensely saying lines that will make it into the trailer (see: every line that made it into the trailer).
- Bullock previously dated a character played by Dylan Walsh in The Lake House. Now she’s married to Julian McMahon in this movie. Somewhere there must be a Nip/Tuck fan fiction that bridges the gap between the two.
- There are two scenes that are supposed to be terrifying that made me howl with laughter. I’ve decided not to ruin them should you ever find this on TNT some weekend. One involves a scary music choice for something fairly mundane, the other is an obvious dummy that’s supposed to be a human being. Enjoy.
THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
The whole movie is Sandra trying to figure out what’s going on, but for my money, nothing says “shock” like dangerously skirting the line between PG-13 and R.
“Something is seriously fucked up with this situation!”
If I could go back in time, I’d give this script to a better director and a better cast. It could have been a great thriller if it’d been made with a little more competence. That being said, it’s worth watching if you have the chance. The parts that are great will intrigue you, and the parts that suck suck so hard you’ll get some hearty laughs. The good and the bad make it into a solid C-grade flick. Don’t seek it out. Don’t avoid it.
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.