Now, Time After Time is a film that takes the idea of H.G. Wells' time machine and creates a romantic action story where H.G. Wells tells his friends about his time machine (like in the beginning of the book) but one of his friends, unbeknownst to him, is actually Jack the Ripper. When the police come to H.G.'s house to arrest the murderous Doctor Stevenson, the Doc nips into the time machine and travels into the future. There's a safety on the machine though that if a certain lever is not attached it returns to it's own time after a few minutes. So H.G. gets his machine back and decides he must go after Stevenson and bring him to justice.
The look of the time machine and the explanation of how it travels through time, is pretty close to the book, so I was very happy with that. Although the special effects is pretty lame, it's obvious that, at the time, this was top notch work, and I appreciated that. There's really no connection between this film and the original book except for the time machine, but I found this movie extremely enjoyable. It's funny, charming, and romantic, with some exciting and scary scenes. There were a couple of times in this movie where I was literally on the edge of my seat.
Most of the humor comes from H.G. trying to adjust to this new culture (which happens to be San Francisco in the Seventies) as he tries everything from eating at McDonald's to driving a car. Malcolm McDowell is utterly charming as H.G. Wells - he's sweetly befuddled, and shyly gentlemanly in a time when that isn't really appreciated. Except by Mary Steenburgen's character who is delighted by H.G.'s manners and also helps to bring him out of his shell. The chemistry between Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen is fantastic (it did blossom into a real life romance) and their interactions were a highlight for me.
Doctor Stevenson is suitably sinister and seemingly untouchable in this time, where the police won't help H.G., and it's so easy to find women of "loose morals" to kill. The resolution is tense and fitting, and very satisfying especially when it comes to how H.G. and Amy can continue their relationship. This is a wonderful film that is a great tribute to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine.