The 2002 version of "The Time Machine" is just the latest in a string
of terribly disappointing Hollywood remakes that fall flat on their
face despite extravagant special effects.
What a lousy, uninspired bland story, with no imagination. Why so totally rewrite such a wonderful sci-fi classic? Are today's movie audiences too hip for the H.G. Wells writing largely as is? The 1960 George Pal version told a much more endearing story, even with clunky low-budget effects, beach-party looking Eloi, and Morlocks that looked like Smurfs on steroids.
The 2002 version must have H.G Wells turning in his grave:
1. The idea that the time traveler is motivated by the desire to change the past and trapped in a time paradox is an old sci-fi cliché. This totally distracts from the love affair with Mara (what happened to Weena?!) that made the 1960 version so endearing. This sets an unfortunate and distractive tone early on that makes the whole movie dour. If Guy Pearce's character was so brilliant either he or his buddy Einstein would have realized the time paradox dilemma not have it dawn on him 800,000 yrs in the future from a Morlock no less, Doh!! What's wrong with time-traveling just for fun & adventure & curiosity -- as embodied in the 1960 version?
2. Only if you saw the first movie would you realize at all what Pearce was doing with the time machine when you first see it. The George Pal film carefully explains the whole weird idea of 'travel' though a 4th dimension.
3. The director goes out of his way to make Pearce's character look geeky, a worn out old stereotype of scientists. In the 1960 version Rod Taylor was a little nerdy too (at least around Weena) but managed to be swashbuckling, playful and charming.
4. Among the key themes of the 60's version -- abandoned in the remake -- is the idea that endless war leads to the bifurcation of humanity. Blowing up the Moon to destroy humanity is pointless -- and doesn't do much for science literacy. For over 4 billion years the Moon has suffered vastly more powerful asteroid impacts, which would make any nuclear device look like a firecracker. Yes, science fiction needs artistic license, but this is just plain dumb and meaningless.
5. Destroying the time machine is stupid too. Apparently our time traveler invented the neutron bomb to power this thing. Blowing up the machine to kill Morlocks is sort of a cop-out 'machina ex machina' Disappointingly, Pearce never comes back to the 1800s to tell his tale to his incredulous friends, a key part of the Wells story with the irony that in a week the time travels goes into the far future and back.
6. Having Morlocks running around in the daytime totally ruins H.G. Wells' wonderfully spooky, ghoulish portrayal of them as shadowy creatures of the night. A true cinematic opportunity lost. Also, Wells depicted the Eloi as frail and childlike. These guys in the movie looked like they could take on Morlocks, if they weren't such big baby wusses.
7. The one smart Morlock kind of a bleached-out Star Wars Evil Emperor -- had potential, but is so lame and aloof he tells Pearce to take his machine and go home ?! Boy, what a dramatic high point! In the book the Morlocks steal the machine because they are so fascinated by it, and fight to keep it.
8. The goof ball hologram at the N.Y. Public Library is too much. It makes light of the idea of human cannibalism. the 1960 version simply had the "talking rings" that delivered a chillingly somber eulogy for humankind. Derailed evolution is serious stuff.
Its sad the wonderful effects in this movie can never make up for a weary contrived clunker of a script. Save the cost of a ticket & popcorn and go rent the DVD when it comes out (soon no doubt), at least you can fast-forward thought the dull parts, just like our time traveler.
The Time Machine
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
The Time Machine
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
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.
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March 12, 2012 at 10:58 PM