The Time Machine (2002)
Dir: Simon Wells
Star: Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Mark Addy, Samatha Mumba
Cert / Year: PG - PG13 \ 2002
Format: DVD R1

College Professor Alexander Hartdegen's girlfriend is killed in a mugging and he is devastated. In order deal with his grief he immerses himself in his studies with the aim of creating a time machine so that he can go back and save her. He succeeds in creating the time machine but mealy changes the method of her death. Seeking answers he travels into the future, where he witnesses the destruction and rebirth of civilisation. Now eight hundred thousand years in future he is finds humanity split in two sections. The peaceful Eloi, and the powerful evil Morlocks. Will he find his answer and save his girlfriend, or is saving the future more important.

Remakes, don't you just hate them. They are almost never better than the originals and are more then likely to be utter rubbish. For examples of this check out my reviews Rollerball, and Just Visiting. So I must admit my hopes were not high for this film, I mean how could it possibly compare to the excellent 1960 George Pal version of the film. Well all rules seem to have an exception and this appears to be it, for I am more than happy to report that this version of The Time Machine is not a bad film. In fact it is a very good film.

What about the comparison to the original? Ok so its good but its not quite that good. As usual for a modern American film the setting has been relocated to the US (I hear they are making another version of Robin Hood who wants a bet that they move the setting to Central Park) and while this means the World War future jumps in the film can't work this isn't a major problem. The emphasis on this film is rather more action based than the intellectual early movie. More time is spent in the future fighting the Morlocks and much less in the stop offs before you get there (or in fact revisiting his current time). This seriously lessens the emotional impact of the film replacing it with eye candy.

But the eye candy is seriously worth watching. Most impressive of all are the time travelling effects. I mean the original film had excellent stop motion stop effects but with the use of CGI this film looks superb. Maybe not quite so convincing are the Morlocks. They do move well in a post Planet of the Apes sort of way but the faces just seem to look comical rather than scary. Overall there is much to see and plenty to be impressed by, which is good as this is the films major plus point.

The cast are an interesting mix. Guy Pearce is again strong as the absentminded yet obsessed and emotionally scared scientist. He performs very well despite being a little to young for the role. Mark Addy recreates the role of Philby\Filby almost exactly like the Alan Young in the original (who appears in a cameo role as the flower salesman). Orlando Jones is initially annoying but by the end of the movie you end up liking him. Jeremy Irons is unrecognisable and woefully under used (maybe his character is a little pointless, you feel he was only included to give the finale a central bad guy when it didn't need one). My only reservation is Samatha Mumba and her brother, while he is annoying she appears to be a bit out of her depth.

Directed by H G Wells grandson (what a marketing coup) Simon Wells this is a very effective action film. It is a real no brainer and fans of the originals more intellectual style may not enjoy this as much (this is the film of the comic book rather than the film of the novel). It does have its massive plot holes and the ending really makes little sense if you look at it, but this is fun in a Waterworld way. Its visually exciting, action packed, and the effects are for the most part great. This is not a classic, nor is it as good a film as the original, but if you are in the mood for a blockbuster and want to give your brain the night off this film is well worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Perfect picture
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Excellent sound
Features Audio Commentary by Simon Wells
Deleted Scenes
Morlock effects featurette
Making of Featurette
Verdict Great image and sound, but limited extras (I hope this does not mean a special edition in a couple of months time).

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home