A pretty gopher snake is snatched in a snake-loop & measured & tagged by a young herpetologist in a rocky dry region. Thus we entered Idaho Transfer (1973).
With a simple panio score & a decent attitude about snakes & nature, this beginning seemed promising for a low-budget film with a minor cast, among whom only Keith Carradine is instantly recognizable.
When the girl assisting in the herp study goes into a small underground bunker & uses some primitive electronics to transfer herself to a laboratory, the film is momentarily disorienting, but intriguing.
The acting, however, is incredibly bad & Peter Fonda's eye & ear for direction is not better than one would expect from any lowbrow director without a family name.
It remains that the mystery of "the project" holds one's attention longer than would be the case with most such Z-features, though as each minute passes, so does all hope of a reasonably good movie.
It turns out a small lab has discovered time travel, but they've only been able to visit the area immediately around the lab, taking sundry sorts of measurements at different points in time. They've discovered from this limited vantage-point that the world is uninhabited about fifty years into the future.
As their reconnaissance improves, they begin to understand what the future conditions are. The plan is to send a shitload of teenagers forward in time to repopulate the world.
Time travel isn't safe for anyone much past twenty. "Something about the kidneys" is the only explanation we get for that assertion.
It all becomes something of an old-time hippy fantasy of establishing a honky teenage paradise after the holocaust gets rid of such unwanted folks as Indians & black folk & grown-ups, though of course with its shallow idealism the story never acknowledges the full ramification of the ignorant racist classist fundamentally stupid fantasy as it's presented.
When the mystery of their intent is revealed about after fifteen minutes, the story completely fizzles out as a stoner's bad idea for a movie.
When the time transport unexpectedly stops working, there are only a handful of teens in the future, backpacking in the back country, cuz that's the Hippy Way.
Alas (or as the case may be, thank god), transferring to the future resulted in sterility, so the kids are not going to be able to repopulate the world. The few survivors of whatever unstated thing happened seem to be brain-damaged youths, or just brain-damaged. Mature adults aren't among the survivors, but if it's kidneys again no one tells us.
As a morality tale it comes off as a Rod Serling Goes To Height Ashbury, & might've been slightly less laughable in its day. The story bumbles along to a stupid "surprise" ending probably intended to be bitter & cruel so as to lend a last-minute air of seriousness to a foolish show.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl