Monday, 30 July 2012

The Classic Movie: The Philadelphia Experiment (1984 - New World Pictures)

October 10, 1943. Using Einstein's "Unified Field Theory", the U.S navy have devised a way to make their ships invisible to radar, by bending light around it to create the invisibility illusion. Using the U.S.S Eldridge as a guinea pig, the test is successful...until it never comes back! During the test, two sailors, David Herdeg (Michael Pare) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco), realize something is wrong, jump overboard, and land in 1984, not knowing that WWII has ended and what time period they're in. Now, on the run from the police and the Navy, they must find a way to get back home, with the help of Alison Haynes (Nancy Allen), while tracking down the scientist responsible for the experiment 40 years ago, in an attempt to find out what went wrong.

The film is based on the legend of an experiment that, according to the Office of Naval Research, never took place, and was the basis of Einstein's apparently true "Unified Field Theory". There were several accounts, all with differing details about the experiment, from various people. The film is based on some that were put together, and then a chase thriller added on to it. Some reports stated that when the ship re-appeared, people were seen to be fused into the deck of the ship, which made it into the film, and was a powerful aspect. Some claimed people actually disappeared, which was the basis for the two main characters.

The film, being based on supposed fact, is actually very good. The special effects when the ship disappears are really cool, and even when it goes through the time vortex, there's a sense of 'wow' when you see it. The performances are strong throughout, the script is good, and the scientific parts never make you go "what?".

It's a film everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It might only be 1hr 40mins roughly, but the film does keep you on the edge of your seat. There was a sequel made 10 years later that, unfortunately, doesn't have the same cast in it, but is an ok follow up with a "what if..." storyline, involving Nazi's and a Stealth Fighter.