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Author Topic: Frequency
Dwayne Caldwell
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Rockwall, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

 - posted 04-30-2000 08:13 PM      Profile for Dwayne Caldwell   Email Dwayne Caldwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This was an interesting movie. When I first saw the trailer, I really thought the concept was a cool one, but I was put off by the bad acting in the preview. So I wasn’t too sure about this one, but I figured what the hell. I'd give it a shot. As it turned out, I thought the performances from both Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel were surprising very good. Especially Caviezel's performance (he looked so bad in the trailer). When he's talking to his dad (after he realizes the voice is indeed his dad's) and he starts getting those watery eyes and begins to choke up inside when his dad tells him he loves him, I actually got a little misty eyed myself. But the family scenes were just too cheesy and the characterization could have used a little work. What I want to know is what the hell was up with Frank calling his wife "Bud"? I hear a nickname like Bud and I'm thinking of someone like Ed Harris in the Abyss. They could have come up with a better nickname for the wife. Same goes for that dog of theirs "Elvis".

As for the story and all its temporal causalities and reorientations, well any movie dealing with space-time displacement and interference in the timeline is going to suffer from a few mistakes. But I’ll get to the pros and cons of that aspect later in the Spoiler part of the review.

This movie can be considered a time travel story in the sense that the characters’ voices are doing the traveling back and forth via radio wave through a thirty year time frame. And the frequency is the time travel vehicle—a temporal bridge if you will. This bridging is made possible by a strange phenomenon having to do with sunspots and the Northern Lights, but it is not entirely explained. I won’t go into detail about the plot as most of you have seen the trailer and can guess the gist of it, but I will say that the movie has its moments. In the two hour movie, I’d say that about a good hour of it is very intriguing and worth sitting through the show for. The rest is that stupid family crap I mentioned earlier. Some of the time effects are neat but not entirely new. The plot is basically a cop story, tracking a serial killer type scenario, but it’s the temporal twists and turns integrated into the storyline that is the gimmick and gives the movie its appeal. And I can say the bad guy is a real bastard. I mean I hated this guy’s guts. He was almost as effective a villain as Percy Wetmore in The Green Mile.

I really can’t delve any further than that without giving anything away. If you haven’t seen the movie, then forego the displeasure of the Flintstones and that stupid Walmart baby movie and check this one out instead.


Okay. For those of you who have seen the movie, here are my pros and cons.


I liked the idea that every effect and consequence set off by Quaid’s character Frank turns John’s world into a new little universe. And that every chat session they have to try to rectify things only makes things worse. There was a bit of foreshadowing in the beginning when a scientist is discussing the Northern lights and talking about multiple dimensions and string theory on John’s television set. Although to be honest with you, I think the multiple dimensions the scientist was talking about is in connection with the cosmic string that’s used in mathematical models to try to fit gravitation into the Grand Unified Theory that dominates Cosmology (I’m sorry. I’m in geek mode right now), but this will most likely be lost on the audience members and they will perceive the discussion as foreshadowing of the multiple worlds that Frank and John set into motion every time they try to fix things. I also thought the idea of John’s memories changing spontaneously when the timelines are reworked was good and the notion of his having two different sets of memories was certainly different. The scenes where the physical changes of the desk taking place before John’s very eyes was also pretty cool. Not to mention the way John was able to lift the prints of the wallet thirty years hence. But at the end when John and the cop are wrestling, and Frank and the cop’s younger version are at a standoff, I was expecting them to pull off an erased from existence scenario in which the older cop disappears before he can blow John’s brains out. I must admit I was thrown off for a moment when they decided to go with blowing the younger version cop’s hand off, and I enjoyed watching the confusion on the older scumbag’s face when his hand starts to decompose before his eyes. And when the older cop gets gunshot, I was also thrown off for a split second, but managed to figure it out before they showed the elder Frank on screen. But it was a nice way to end the whole ordeal.


The two sets of memories residing in John’s mind, while interesting, wouldn’t work. As this is a time travel story spanning thirty years, the only person that would have any recollection of the facts presented before and after the timelines reorient themselves would be Frank. He is the catalyst, the starting point of the temporal phenomenon and therefore immune to the effects of causality. I imagine they went with this to avoid reestablishing John’s realization that he can reach his father into the past each time things change which can be tedious. I didn’t care every much at all for the yahoo thing. I figured John would have learned his lesson not to screw with time when he realizes his dangerous use of imparting future information has already resulted in the premature death of his mother. I also didn’t like the scene where after the ham radio is broken John checks the archives and sees his father is a suspect in the Nightinggale murders. When that radio broke, it was all up to Frank to set things right. Now I’m going to assume that the reason the future version of the radio didn’t promptly fix itself after it had been broken is because both points of time affected by the frequency are moving forward in parallel. So if Frank worked things out in twelve hours and took thirty minutes to fix the radio, John wouldn’t hear from him for twelve and a half hours. This is why John could see the burns on the desk at the same time that Frank made the burns even though he did it thirty years ago. And yet John can find out that Frank is a suspect in the killings from a newspaper as soon as Frank is taken in for questioning. The story hasn’t gotten out yet. And I'm wondering why the 1999 version of the bad cop showed up at John's home to exact his revenge. That as well as how the 1999 version of Frank knew when to save his son. I may be missing something. I’d have to view the movie a second time. I'm sorry if this review is turning into a dissertation.

All in all, I’d say that Frequency is a decent flick, but it could have used some ironing out.

The man with the magic hands.

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Jeff Stricker
Master Film Handler

Posts: 481
From: Calumet, Mi USA
Registered: Nov 1999

 - posted 05-04-2000 04:57 PM      Profile for Jeff Stricker   Email Jeff Stricker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Being an amateur radio operator for the past 29 years, I thought premise was quite excellent. Plausible? Well, maybe. Actually there have been documented cases of LDE's (long delayed echos) where hams have heard their own transmissions coming back after considerable periods of time (minutes). QST magazine (The periodical for amateur radio, published by the American Radio Relay League) did an article on this phenomona back 30 years ago. There's been no logical technical explanation for LDE's (pranksters with tape recorders and the like have pretty well been ruled out).

Myself, I have been able to hear the echo of my own morse code signal off the north pole auroral zone (during high sunspot periods) by using equipmet that goes back to "Receive" in millisecodns and using a beam antenna pointed north towards the pole. In fact, I have communicated with another ham 10 miles distant (both stations pointing at the pole) by way of signals returning from the auroral zone - we were not able to hear each other via groundwave.

Anyway there's some old vintage Heathkit ham gear shown in the film. I've seen the trailer and will definitely try to catch the show.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5244
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 05-07-2000 10:16 AM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I liked the Heathkit rigs, although I wonder if they had all the mods? (They must've been, in order to say on frequency, HI HI!)

A little ham lingo there, friends, for those in the fraternity. I'm an Advanced-class amateur, call KJ5KX, and I knew I wanted to see FREQUENCY when I saw the trailer. The sunspots that Dwayne wondered about affect radio wave propagation. High sunspot activity, which comes in about once in a decade cycles (I'm thinking 11 years, but I could be wrong on that number), affect the ionosphere, which reflects HF radio waves. High activity means certain bands (particularly the 10-meter wavelength) come to life and long-distance communications are possible!

I liked the parts in the movie where you see the results of alterations in the past change the future on the fly. Very neat. I too, wondered about the ending, but accepted it as something that I missed the specifics of, or because the final conflict was cut too rapidly (a pet-peeve).

I liked it a lot, and I'm usually hard on movies, since I'm of the belief that they forgot how to make them around 1953.

4 ****

Tim, -.. . -.- .--- ..... -.- -..-
--... ...--

Better Projection Pays!

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