Time After Time

Plot hole: When Jack The Ripper checks his watch before confronting H.G. Wells and demanding the key, the hands point to 8:50, the ensuing chase to the museum and demise of the Ripper may have used up a half hour or so, yet the time on the wall clock indicates that it is midnight.

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Suggested correction: Movie time and real time don't match, so 3 hours has passed without all 3 hours being shown. The fact that the clock now shows midnight is meant to explain this fact without the need for subtitles to reveal the time.


Continuity mistake: When Mary Steenbergen and Malcolm MacDowell are in a restaurant and he's eating ice cream, his hand holding the ice cream spoon is in a different position when he's shown from the front than from when he's shown from the back - one way it's up, the other it's down. Also, the spoon disappears whenever the shot is from the back.

Audio problem: When Wells is en route to the Hyatt, exhaust sound from the taxi as it descends the hills of San Francisco seems to have been stolen from the Mustang in "Bullet." When the taxi pulls up in front of the hotel, it sounds again like the ordinary taxi that pulled away with Wells earlier.


Plot hole: Mrs. Stevens (H.G. Wells' housekeeper) witnessed HG leaving in the time machine. From her point of view (POV) it disappeared right in front of her. Yet the sign at the museum says that the time machine never worked, despite a witness that it did. (00:19:47 - 00:24:14)

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Suggested correction: Even though she witnessed the time machine disappearing, there's always the possibility that nobody believed her if she told them what she saw. Telling anyone about the machine vanishing would have people just writing her off.

Also, it is very likely that once he returned to the past, Wells told her not to tell anyone about it.

Jack the Ripper: We don't belong here? On the contrary, Herbert. I belong here completely and utterly. I'm home.

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Trivia: It seems like a mistake, but it really isn't: Director Nicholas Meyer, in his DVD audio commentary, points out that the time machine should not have stayed in London and rightfully did belong where it ended up - in a museum in San Francisco. This is plausible not because of alternate dimensions or time zones, he explains, but because the machine was crated up and shipped there by museum curators after H.G. Wells' death/disappearance.

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Question: Excluding plot convenience and suspension of disbelief, how could the time machine be shipped to San Francisco when H.G. Wells was traveling into the future with it?

Answer: At the end of the movie, he said that he was going to dismantle the time machine, so it's not used again, thus ending this timeline and the timeline we know as H.G. Wells would come to pass. As for the time machine being in San Francisco, if the machine had never been moved or buried, he would have landed in London.

Answer: In the late 1970s, Wells' time machine and other belongings were sent to San Francisco as part of an H.G. Wells exhibit at a museum. It had been found two years earlier, buried under Wells' since-demolished London house. It was considered a non-working "curiosity" that Wells built and had inspired his novel, "The Time Machine." In the 19th century, when Wells chased Jack the Ripper into the future, that is where his time machine landed, apparently drawn to its 1979 counterpart in San Francisco. At the end, Wells returned to 19th-century London in the time machine, where it would eventually be found many decades later. And sorry, but there has to be some "suspension of disbelief" to explain the time travel.


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