Movie Reviews: The Time Machine




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     Warner Bros./DreamWorks (1 hr. 36 min.)
     An 1800s inventor builds a time machine that takes him 800,000 years into the future.
     Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Orlando Jones, Mark Addy, Jeremy Irons, Philip Bosco
     PG 13
Bottom Line:


Fans of the original 1960 Sci-fi classic will remember the Time Machine as a story about a 19th century English inventor whose time travel curiosity leads to an exploration of time in general. The storyline in the original movie was solid, character driven and the writers had enough imagination to spend time on the changing centuries as the scientist eventually discovers a world ravaged by post nuclear war.

In the new version, set in New York City, the scientist, Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), is a lovelorn absent-minded professor, no longer obsessed with time travel but invents a time machine to change the outcome of the tragic events surrounding his fiancée’s death.

However, Hartdegen discovers you can never change past events. So with an hour left in the movie, Hartdegen decides to try and give the audience its money’s worth by traveling 800,000 years into the future to find the answer as to why past events can’t be changed.

During periodic stops in the future, Hartdegen discovers a world drastically changed from man’s over mining of the moon. On a stop at the New York Public Library, 100 years in the future, he meets a talkative librarian hologram named, Vox (Orlando Jones), who tells him time travel is not practical and is the imaginary product of writer H.G. Wells. The inside joke here is H.G. Wells’ great-grand son, Simon Wells is the film’s director.

As in the original film, Hartdegen discovers the future world is inhabited by two races, the native Eloi and the malevolent Morlocks who breed the Eloi like cattle and line them up for a hot meal. It doesn’t take long for Hartdegen to forget about his dead fiancée when he's befriended by Mara (Samantha Mumba), a sexy Eloi. Mara’s tattered clothes would make any loyal solider reveal troop movements.

To advance a stale plot, Mara is kidnapped by the Morlocks (who are the real stars of the show) and is taken underground for breeding. Hartdegen and Mara’s sturdy brother travel underground to Morlockland to free Mara. You can pretty much guess the rest in a 90 movie.

The ending is cut together as if Wells’ camera man said, "Hey, we’re running out of film!" And Wells said, "Well, let’s end it here." The film comes to a grinding halt and you’re left wondering, "Did I just spend eight bucks on that, when I could have rented the orginial for 99 cents?"

Like so many of these big-budget flicks, the money is spent on great special-effects, while the characters are in search of some semblance of a script.

It would be interesting to see how H.G. Wells would feel about the efforts of his great-grandson. He’s probably spinning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken.



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