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The Time Machine
A man in the 1890's builds a time machine that sends him further and further into the future, eventually reaching 800,000 years from now.

Starring Guy Pearce, Yancey Arias, Jeremy Irons...  View more >

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Reviews Summary


Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Mar 9, 2002
100% Predictable. This movie was the worst I have seen in a while. The only redeming fact was that some of the special effects were pretty cool.
[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  
Mar 9, 2002
An OK movie at best, the time effects were a treat to watch, but other then that the movie has little going for it, not worth the money to watch it on the big screen, wait for rental, and then only if your kids want to see it.
[--- Good ---]by  
Mar 9, 2002
Stars: Guy Pierce. Others appearing that I refuse to classify as "stars": Samantha Mumba and Jeremy Irons.

I've been waiting for several months with a lot of anticipation of the release of The Time Machine. I first became aware they were remaking the 1960 classic when I saw the preview trailer at the theaters about six months ago. I'm a big fan of the original movie, directed by George Pal.

The movie begins in late 1800's New York as the brilliant mathematician Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pierce) prepares to propose to his lady friend. A tragedy occurs which takes her life. Alexander becomes a recluse, and within four years has developed a workable Time Machine. His plan is to go back in time to prevent her death. When he is unsuccessful, he decides to go forward in time, finally stopping in the year 802,701.

The production values of this film are sometimes brilliant, and sometimes pathetic. The set at the first of the movie of 1899 New York is one of the brilliant points. One could feel he was back in time while watching this segment. The acting is also above par as the director sets up the plot. The colors and filming used is very nicely done. I loved many of the scenes, with the rich colors and the way lighting was used to accent. The effects in this portion of the movie are very nicely done also. One scene is borrowed from the 1960 version, which shows Alexander going slowly forward in time. I thought this was brilliantly done, and captures some of the magic I expected. When Alexander goes fast-forward in time, the CGI used is also brilliant, but the moment doesn't last long enough.

The first half of the movie showed real promise.

When Alexander finally arrives in 802,701 New York, the movie takes a sharp nose dive and becomes a poorly acted, poorly written and poorly directed film, with poor special effects. It's hard to understand how a movie that is so good in the beginning can become so bad. The implausibilities thrown out for your unquestioning acceptance are numerous. Let me name just a couple.

A library computer system from the year 2030 has survived over 800,000 and is still fully functional, still operating on the original power source. I guess they built the thing to last. The people of that time don't use this library, even though they are aware of it (said to contain the entirety of all human knowledge). There is no explanation why.

People 800,000 years into the future still learn the English language. I don't have as much a problem with that because you have to have them communicate in some fashion. However, the producers of this movie feel the need to explain why people still speak English. The explanation: nothing more than a tradition carried down from one generation to another. Maybe they should have them speaking in the same New York accent.

The acting by Samantha Mumba can be described as wooden at best. She's there for the male viewer to gawk at, and nothing more. She has a son (who I first thought was a girl) who is thrown in more as an obligation than a necessity. Think Jurassic Park 2, and you'll know what I mean.

The morlocks are a hideous creature which live underground. The close-up shots of the morlock faces is noteworthy because the makeup is well done. However, the action scenes contain live actors mixed with CGI, and it doesn't work at all. The live actors did a nice job of being nasty and mean. The CGI characters looked almost like something from a Saturday morning cartoon. Apparently, they relied on a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief when they approved the use of these animated characters.

When Jeremy Irons finally shows up, the movie hits rock-bottom. Jeremy plays Uber-Morlock, an ultra-brilliant creature with unbelievable cranial capacity. He can read every memory and thought in your brain. He can induce dreams on you while you sleep. He can cause you to hallucinate whatever he wants you to see. He looks like a gothic rock star from today, with all the pale white makeup, black lipstick, bleach white hair, long dirty fingernails and studded leather clothing. YET, he is outsmarted and outwrestled by our mathematician hero Alexander in the end, another fact that I had a hard time buying.

I think the 2002 version of the Time Machine was a wasted opportunity. Had the film continued its pace from the first half to the end, it would be a movie I'd have loved. I will recommend it under the following circumstances: enjoy the beginning of the film and also take in the time travel sequences. They are great. When Alexander leaves 2030 New York City, turn your brain off and don't ask questions. That's likely the only way you'll come out of the theater satisfied. If you wait till after the theatrical release, it's still worth a rental price though.
[--- Good ---]by  
Mar 9, 2002
I've read a number of negative reviews for this movie, but as far as I'm concerned, given the premise of "The Time Machine," alot went right that could have gone wrong.

This is a very competent action/special effects thriller with some genuine strangeness thrown in for good measure (also some actual metaphorical value, don't miss the fat guy taking off his hat in the end!). If you think too hard about this movie you'll see plenty of gaping holes, but it's not the kind of movie your supposed to think about. It's an action flick plain and simple. Big monsters leap through the air and snatch the bronze-colored good guys: this is what the movie-goer is meant to care about (and for those of you other reviewers who ask how creatures who live in caves can move so fast, run out in the light, and leap great distances, Jeremy Irons' character explains it all in the end).

Sure there are some holes, but not as many as many reviewers have tried to get me to believe. It's good mindless entertainment with a sprinkled sense of awe and classy special effects.
Mar 11, 2002
This movie was not good. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either.

The movies started off slow. I kept hoping that it would get better, but it never did.
Mar 13, 2002
I didn't expect the 2002 version of "The Time Machine," to be any better than the 1960 George Pal version, based on the novel by HG Welles and I was right, but the film never disapointed me either.

It is an undate of the 1960 movie with better special effects. The film tells of an inventor who invets the time machine so can save his girlfriend, but he ended up 800,000 years into the future. If you like to see the 1960 movie to compare and contrast with the 2002 version, the film's playing on Turner Classic Movies.
Mar 17, 2002
I thought this was a pretty weak movie. I expected much more from this one. I actually saw Resident Evil the same day I saw Time Machine, and I'd have to say I enjoyed R.E more by a long shot.
May 2, 2002
I went to the movies for an enjoyable evenings entertainment and wasn't dissapointed.

Too often after reading rave reviews about a movie you go to see it with expectations set way too high and are nearly always let down.

Thanks to reading the reviews here at Big Screen I wasn't really expecting too much and thus had a good time.

A few things within the storyline were a tad annoying, such as 21st Century items surviving intact for 800,000 years (They should have just made it 8,000 or even 80,000 years) but they were easy to ignore. Guy Pearce, an actor I greatly admire, did seem a little lost on a few occasions, but hey, I wanted a decent Sci-Fi thriller and I got one.

All in all, worth seeing at the movies.

7/10
Any comments about my comments can be sent to fdperth@wiredcity.com.au

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