Timescape (1992)

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Released 15-Aug-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 94:47
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Twohy

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jeff Daniels
Ariana Richards
Emilia Crow
Jim Haynie
Marilyn Lightstone
George Murdock
David Wells
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Gerald Gouriet

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Timescape is a made for cable TV sci-fi movie produced in 1992 by Anchor Bay. In the U.S. it was also know by the title of Grand Tour: Disaster in Time. I had seen Timescape previously and rather enjoyed it. This time around, it had lost little of its appeal and was still very entertaining.

    Timescape revolves around widower Ben Wilson (Jeff Daniels) and his daughter Hillary (Ariana Richards). They live in Greenglen, a peaceful small Ohio town, where nothing much ever happens. Ben has recently purchased an old Inn just outside the town and is in the process of restoring it in readiness for the summer tourist season.

    Ben unexpectedly gets a booking for a group of tourists who insist on staying at the partially restored inn instead of the comfortable hotel in town. The intrigue has already begun and the tourists haven't even arrived. Once the tourists do arrive, their strange behaviour only serves to deepen Ben's curiosity. After watching the group closely (especially the tall beautiful blonde), and discovering one of the group's odd passports, Ben comes to the conclusion that they are time travellers.

    That is only half of the mystery solved. Why would a group of time travellers come to the sleepy Ohio town of Greenglen? What are they there to see? And why do they keep referring to the Spectacle?

    All actors perform their parts well. Jeff Daniels puts in a good performance, one that is just short of being excellent. However, without a doubt, the stand-out performer of this movie is Ariana Richards who shortly after this role went on to star in Jurassic Park.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality of this transfer is average and very reminiscent of VHS.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This does not appear to be the original aspect ratio of the movie, as another version of the movie is available in the ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced (the R1 version).

    The sharpness of the transfer is adequate but on occasion it does deteriorate. Grain is not an overwhelming factor in the deterioration but merely adds to the overall weakness of the transfer. The amount of shadow detail is average. All objects necessary to the story are visible, but more depth perception in the shadows would have been welcome. The amount of low level noise was well controlled with only a couple of examples evident, the most noticeable of these being at 4:07.

    The colours were clear and constant with no problems evident. However, the blacks were not always black. There were a couple of instances where they seemed to have a green tinge to them.

    There were no noticeable MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts were also minimal, with the only example being some minor aliasing present at 9:43, 15:12 and 30:25. However, film artefacts reigned supreme. There are a large amount of scratches and spots throughout the transfer, but for the most part they were small and not overly distracting. The most noticeable artefact occurred at 1:50.

    There are no subtitle options available on this disc.

    This is a single layered disc and therefore no layer change is present.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality, much like the video quality, is very reminiscent of VHS.

    There is only one audio track offering on the disc, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) surround encoded. The surround encoding is not flagged as the default and must be manually selected.

    The dialogue was clear and easily understood from beginning to end. Audio sync was not an issue with this disc.

    The music score was written by Gerald Gouriet and is well matched to the movie, although on occasions it does have a tendency to telegraph the on-screen action.

    The surround speakers were used far more than I expected. The surround encoded track was used to great effect in certain sections of the movie, but in others not a peep was heard. Unfortunately, the subwoofer remained silent and still.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This release sets a new standard for a bare bones release. There are no extras at all, not even a menu system.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on nothing.

    The version of choice because of the widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer is the Region 1 DVD.


    Timescape is an entertaining made for cable TV sci-fi movie. It is not your usual mindless fill, and has an interesting plot with a couple of twists. Sadly, the video and audio transfers are only adequate and there are no extras present, not even a menu system.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Geoff Greer (read my bio)
Friday, September 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using S-Video output
DisplayBang & Olufsen BeoVision Avante 82cm 16:9 Widescreen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVR-1803. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR 1803
SpeakersParadigm: Phantom V. 3 Front, Paradigm CC270 V. 3 Centre, Paradigm: Titan V. 3 Rear, Yamaha YST-SW305 Sub

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