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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Clockstoppers

Starring: Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Rated: PG
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: March 2002
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Comedy

*Also starring: Miko Hughes, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Robin Thomas, Michael Biehn, French Stewart, Julia Sweeney

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

This trippy time-travel saga is specifically targeted at a preteen audience who will probably like it far better than their parents. The plot revolves around the sci-fi idea of hypertime, a concept that catapults a person so fast that time seems to freeze, allowing him to go, undetected, anywhere. The hypertime device is hidden in a digital wristwatch that's accidentally discovered by Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) who desperately wants a vintage Mustang and forages through the house for junk to sell on eBay. Checking to see if the strange-looking watch - which was sent by a former student (French Stewart) to Zak's physics-professor father (Robin Thomas) - works, Zak presses one of its buttons and is catapulted into an accelerated version of reality. Which is way cool! It even impresses Francesca (Paula Garces), a beautiful Venezuelan exchange student who is 'way out of his league. Meanwhile, there's a sinister conspiracy as subversive bad guys in dark suits, led by mysterious Mr. Gates (Michael Biehn), covet the hypertime technology as a military weapon. It's too bad the three writers - Rob Hedden, J. David Stem & David N. Weiss - didn't give director Jonathan Frakes (#1 on "Star Trek: Next Generation") more inventive hypertime adventures to work with instead of silly practical jokes played on a meter-maid, bullies and a competitive DJ during a rave before the banal "Spy Kids"-inspired sub-plot keys in. Perhaps to compensate for the pseudo-scientific molecular alteration mumbo-jumbo, there's an inspirational lesson as the absent-minded, workaholic father comes to appreciate his clever, if contentious son. But the CGI time-travel effects and bike-riding stunts are awesome. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Clockstoppers" is a family-friendly 5, giving new meaning to "killing time."

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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