Projections - Movie Reviews

The Time Machine (2002)

The Time Machine (2001)

This is a rare occurrence, you can read the book and not ruin the movie!  That is just how bad the current adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic is.  This film is not "based" on the book, it just borrows a few of the ideas from it.  Some of the basics stay the same.  There is a time machine and there are two different species that have evolved from the humanity we know today but very little else from the wonderful written work.

Counting on a love story and special effects to carry this timeless tale, director Simon Wells should have paid more attention to the details of his great grandfather's works.  What is missing I can't list in this life time (maybe I should have a time machine!).  There is no logical trail to follow in the film, there is no climax, you won't care about any of the characters, the special effects aren't special and you get no satisfaction in any part of the tale.  This list could go on.

Staring Guy Pearce as the previously nameless time traveler, conveniently given the name here of Alexander Hartdegen as the builder of the time machine that will help him regain his lost love.  Cast as Emma, the fiancee of Alexander, Sienna Guillory provides only a momentary bright spot on the screen, that is until her death in a botched robbery.  The decision to use the time machine only results in the realization that the past can not be changed, but this is never voiced until the end where it makes no sense at all.

Still in denial, Alexander goes ahead 100 years to see if he can figure out why he can not change the past and then ahead yet another 800,000 years to try to discover still yet why he must fail.  It is in the far future world that you meet the new species of man: the peaceful Eloi (can you say "Baaa") and the evil and cannibalistic Morlocks.  The journey injures our time traveler and Mara (Samantha Mumba) an innocent Eloi and her brother Kalen (Omero Mumba) nurse him to health.  After a speedy recovery, Alexander discovers that the Eloi are breeding stock and food for the Morlocks and enters a mortal battle with the Morlock leader, played by Jeremy Irons looking like part monster, part man and part ghost.  Oddly enough you won't even hate the villain.  Bizarrely you won't relish their destruction or the salvation of the utopian Eloi society.

Even more oddly, the paradox of time travel is not really explored.  What a wonderful experience to see the past and the future with new eyes, to interact, explore and learn.  All lost here.  The duality of the lost love and the quest for knowledge anyone capable of building a time machine are never explored or resolved.  In short, during your 90 minute stay, enjoy the modest special effects and hope your popcorn is good and the soda cold, as that will be best most enjoyable part of your experience.

The Time Machine (2001)

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