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The Time Machine

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Time Machine

Starring: Guy Pearce, Mark Addy
Director: Simon Wells
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: March 2002
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action

*Also starring: Jeremy Irons, Philip Bosco, Samantha Mumba

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Director Simon Wells ("The Prince of Egypt") puts a new spin on his great-grandfather H.G. Wells' visionary time-travel novel that George Pal adapted for the movies in 1960. Writing in 1895, Wells predicted aerial combat, atomic warfare and the negative effect of technology on humanity. This adventure begins - not in London - but in Manhattan in 1899, when the adored fiancée (Sienna Guillory) of an obsessive physics professor, Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), is brutally killed. Distraught yet determined, he invents a machine to travel back in time to change her fate. And when that doesn't work, he inadvertently catapults 800,000 years into the future, where he's rescued by Mara (Irish R&B singer Samantha Mumba) of a gentle, primitive humanoid race called the Eloi, who dwell in translucent, cliff-side pods to escape capture by cannibalistic subterranean Morlocks. Undoubtedly, sci-fi purists will find fault with screenwriter John Logan's tinkering with the sci-fi source material. Yet one of his best inventions is Vox (Orlando Jones), an amusingly caustic hologram containing the New York Public Library's information database. And the elegant production values and digital-effects shots cleverly create concurrent realities in parallel universes: past, present and future. But at 96 minutes, the film is too short. I wanted more of Wells' philosophical socio-political class conflict as embodied by the scary Uber-Morlock (Jeremy Irons), whose monstrous evolution is the result of a 21st-century lunar catastrophe, and who astutely notes that we all have our own time machines: our memories take us back and our dreams project us forward. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Time Machine" is a fun if elusive 7. Visually, it's a suspenseful, mind-bending thrill-ride, sheer escapist entertainment.

Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger

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