Based on the classic sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells, scientist and inventor, Alexander Hartdegen, is determined to prove that time travel is possible. His determination is turned to desperation by a personal tragedy that now drives him to want to change the past. Testing his theories with a time machine of his own invention, Hartdegen is hurtled 800,000 years into the future, where he discovers that mankind has divided into the hunter - and the hunted. Written by
At one point, Alexander travels briefly into the far future, and the date shown on the time machine is 635,427,810 AD. See more »
The amount of geologic change that occurs in the movie over the span of 800,000 is far too great for that passage of time. Glaciation and valley formation shown in the movie would take place over millions of years, not hundreds of thousands. See more »
Judging from the initial reaction to THE TIME MACHINE, it seemed official to me that people have forgotten how to have a good time at the theaters these days. But the surprising box office performance in the week following its release seems to now suggest otherwise.
This is a really fun movie. It's a tad slow at first, but since it's only a short 96 minutes, things get going pretty quick. Guy Pearce is well-cast as the slightly-nerdy mathmetician, Alexander Hartdegen, and the special effects were very well-done (some were shown unfinished in the trailer and in the TV spots, so don't let that deter you.) Two of the best sequences are the two forward-traveling sequences, the first when Pearce begins his journey into the future, with the change from Victorian era to the future flashing by before us during a terrific pull back from the time machine all the way out of Earth's orbit and around to the far side of the moon, where a ship is coming in for a landing on a colony. The second is when Alexander is knocked unconscious by an explosion tremor in the distant future, when explosives mining on the moon have knocked it from its orbit and have caused it to come apart, showering the Earth with moonrocks, and the time machine speeds forward into the very distant future. It's a terrific sequence in which we see the geological evolution of the area in a matter of moments, from cliffside rock formations taking shape to environmental changes and everything in between. A truely awe-inspiring moment that is one of ILM's finest effects sequences.
I also liked how they kept a lot of elements from the original: good friend Mr. Philby, the spider making a web at the top of Alex's greenhouse, the constantly-changing store window mannequin that appears in the building across from Alex's house, the stop at one point in the future to discover that a disastrous incident is occuring (nuclear war in the original, the moonrock shower in this version), and the entrance to the Morlock's underground lair. Even the "talking rings" in the original are sort of brought back, though this time in the form of a holographic New York City public library computer (Orlando Jones), whom Alex first encounters in 2030 and again later in the film, set nearly 800,000 years later. The Eloi this time around are not all blonde and lifeless. In the original, they calmly walk into the Morlock's lair when the horns sound. Here, they run fearing
for the lives when the Morlocks come to hunt. And the Morlock's are no longer the lumbering bodybuilders with green body paint and white fright wigs. Here they are taller, more-muscular deadly creatures with an animal-like ferocity, with incredible physical abilities and capable of fast speeds.
I think this movie is a good example of what remakes should be. Keeping the concept and elements of the original, while bringing to the material something new. Pearce, as I said, is well-cast as the time traveler, who builds the machine first out of his desire to right a tragedy in his past, then ends up traveling into the future. Samantha Mumba does a fine job in her first feature film role. I'm not too fond of singers who try to make the move to acting (witness the debacles of Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and countless rappers), but Mumba was pretty good. I have a feeling we'll be seeing her more in the near future. Jeremy Irons' role was too brief, though. Being the Uber-Morlock, I was hoping for more screen time, as well as a lengthier confrontation. But he was still good. If I didn't know it was him, I never would have guessed it. Much to my surprise, his performance is a very restrained one, never exploding into one of those bursting, over-the-top speeches about wanting to overtake the planet. I was also expecting him to attempt to use the time machine to travel back to the past and take control in a time when there were more resources, but that idea (again, much to my surprise and delight) never even comes up. He seemed pretty content just doing things in the time he was in. Still, I would have liked for him to had more screen time.
I was also very impressed with the score by newcomer Klaus Badelt, who has worked mostly in association with composer Hans Zimmer, providing "Additional Music" from films liked HANNIBAL and GLADIATOR. His score here is full of action and emotion, with a heroic main theme and a really nice African tribe-like sound for the Eloi. I look forward to the release of the soundtrack, and I'll be keeping a watch for his future projects. He sounds very promising.
My only real complaint is that it all goes by too fast. A full two hours would have been great.
In comparison between this one and the original film, I suppose some people would say it lacks the charm of the first. The original, despite some dated effects, is still a good movie, with the always-reliable Rod Taylor. I grew up with it on video, so I consider it a childhood favorite. But I also enjoyed this version for the fun-filled action-packed piece of entertainment that it is.
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