Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Written by John Logan, Simon Wells, H G Wells
Directed by Simon Wells

Running Time: 1:36

Rated PG-13
for intense sequences of action violence.

Guy Pearce
as Alexander Hartdegen

Samantha Mumba
as Mara

Omero Mumba
as Kalen

Phyllida Law
as Mrs. Watchit

Mark Addy
as Dr. David Philby

Sienna Guillory
as Emma

Orlando Jones
as Vox

Jeremy Irons
as Uber-Morlock

The Time Machine (Double Sided)
The Time Machine (Double Sided)

Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer's Stone

Full of interesting special effects, The Time Machine ultimately ends up as a run-of-the-mill man out of his elements trying to save the girl film that wastes its endless possibilities with situations that will leave you wondering if it's at all possible.

Guy Pearce stars as Alexander Hartdegen, a nutty professor type who everyone thinks is too involved in his work. But there is a woman in love with him, and one he loves as well. One night he asks his dear Emma to marry him, but tragedy strikes and during a fight with a mugger, Emma is shot and killed. Distraught, Alexander spends the next four years of his life perfecting a time machine, so that he may go back in time to that day and try and save her. But alas, she was meant to die, as in this new version of the past, she is run over by a horse and carriage. Alexander starts to wonder if you can actually change the past, but in order to answer that question, he needs to go into the future. So from 1899 he jumps ahead to 2030 and lands in a New York of the future. A planet where there is construction on the moon, and plans to build an entire city underneath the surface of the moon. While visiting, Alexander comes upon a large A.I. machine (Orlando Jones) that is tapped into the knowledge of the entire world. But Alexander doesn't find his answers there, so he hops ahead 7 more years and finds that the moon has been destroyed and is falling to Earth. As he hops back into his time machine, he knocks himself unconscious, and the machine races forward over 800,000 years. The Earth has been destroyed and regenerated, yet amazingly, the time machine ends up OK. But this new world he is on has more than just humans who somehow have managed to learn English from the remnants of old subway signs. There are Morlocks, creatures who lived under the ground and who have evolved into specialty creatures, those who can fight, those who can think, and those who can breed. Alexander has the chance to go back to his time, but instead he stays and fights for Mara (Samantha Mumba), the one woman who manages to tell him why he can't change the past.

I found myself very bored throughout much of the movie. It sort of reminded me of Planet of the Apes (the Tim Burton version) in that there was a lot of potential, but instead it ended up being a standard film that just happened to take place in a different time period. Besides the fact that there was a time machine that could withstand anything that happened to it, the movie boiled down to a man, fighting for a woman, against crazy people. The philisophical question of why you can't change the past was interesting I suppose, but I never fully understood why you'd need to go into the future to answer that question.

I never read the H.G. Wells book the movie is based on, so I can't say whether or not the movie is faithful to the book. But somehow I don't think that's the point. I wanted to be entertained, but my mind started to wander. First of all, in time travel movies, there are a lot of things that happen that make you sit back and wonder if it was all possible. What are the chances that 800,000 years in the future, there would be leftover street signs from New York City? That Brooklyn subway sign was in almost perfect condition, even though it appeared the Earth went through some pretty big changes over that time. And how do people in the future learn English from discarded street signs? And what are the chances that this A.I. system remains completely intact? That was the one that really got me. Alexander flies into the year 2030, spends about 5 minutes there, and one of the two people he meets happens to survive 800,000 years into the future. How quaint.

I also didn't like Guy Pearce's character very much. Coming off of an amazing performance in Memento, his character here seemed very weak, even though as a professor he was able to fight off creatures single-handedly. There wasn't much about him that made me want him to find the answers he was seeking. There just wasn't much likeable about him. I did enjoy Samantha Mumba's performance, even if I still could never get past the fact that her character was able to speak perfect English. And Jeremy Irons as the Uber-Morlock was a treat, and it was sad he was only around for a few minutes.

The special effects were pretty good. I enjoyed watching time fly by from Alexander's viewpoint, even if I didn't fully understand how it was possible that he could see everything but no one could see him. And it was also interesting how he could fly ahead 800,000 years into the future, yet land in an area that left his time machine completely functional. No explanation was given as to how the machine worked, but I suppose it wouldn't have made that much of a difference. And I also never figured out how the end battle worked out so that only the bad guys died and the rest of the people survived. And my last question is why Alexander would give up so quickly on saving Emma's life. From what I saw, he gave it one shot, then quit thinking it was impossible. I don't know about you, but if I spent four years of my life to try and go back into the past and save the love of my life's life, I wouldn't stop after one try. I'd try at least a couple more times before deciding it wasn't going to work.

So overall, The Time Machine had a lot of possibilities, but got stuck in the same old story that we've seen before. The special effects were pretty good, but the story was ordinary. For a 100 minute movie, it got bogged down in a lot of places and ultimately didn't excite me very much. Maybe next time.

Got something to say? Say it on the Message Boards. No password needed!

Visit the updated Movie Poster Store for all your poster needs.

The Time Machine

$3.99 Paperback

The Time Machine

$15.99 DVD


$18.71 DVD

The War of the Worlds

$4.95 Paperback

reviewed 03/10/02

© 2002 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions