Featuring excellent special effects, an okay story, and a great cast, The Time Machine is your generic time travel movie. I remember watching it back in the day and thinking how it needed something edgy to make it cool. It felt like this old adaptation of an even older novel was written for old people. Of course, I was young and edgy back then but much of what I have thought still applies. And this is all despite the fact that they strayed quite heavily from the story in the H.G. Wells novel. We will be following a brilliant professor who decides to build the eponymous time machine after a personal tragedy. As you can already guess, things will not go so smoothly for our professor.
One thing the movie The Time Machine does extremely well and that’s to create a sense of adventure. The story unfolds at a pretty brisk pace and the running time is just ninety minutes. And the atmosphere is exciting as we already know that he’s going to invent the bloody time machine and go places with it. However, we begin our story in New York City, a vibrant place full of people and carriages. The costumes, set design, and everything else were top-notch. Something that was expected from a movie with a budget of over $80 million.
Blood is thicker than water as the director of this movie, Simon Wells is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, who wrote the 1895 novel. You might say that his adaptation is rather superficial but I think it’s quite appropriate for us, the younger generations. Younger generations simply were not there to be blown away by the first 1960 adaptation. We want something shiny, entertaining, and mildly thought-provoking. And the 2002 movie The Time Machine provides every one of those elements.
However, this is all down to your personal feelings and attitudes, as some aspects of the story may hit you harder than others but more about that later. I also should not forget to mention the tastefully done romantic element that’s quite integral. And the fact that the actual time machine looks more like some steampunk contraption than a technological wonder. Guy Pearce was the right choice for the lead role but I’m disappointed Jeremy Irons didn’t get more screen time. He was phenomenal as always.
It is the year of our Lord Satan 1899 and the new century is almost upon us. Dr. Alexander Hartdegen is one of those who are hoping it will revolutionize our technology since he’s an inventor. However, after a personal tragedy, Alexander will take it upon himself to grease the wheels of time. You see, he just started working on a very special machine that will allow him to go to a very special place. And for a very special reason…
Not only The Time Machine features one of the oldest science fiction concepts of time travel but it also uses it as a cautionary tale for the whole of humanity. Of course, I’m certain this isn’t going to make difference and that we’re heading straight for the glorious Blade Runner corporate future. Another movie explored a similar timeline just a year prior and it was also a remake. Planet of the Apes 2001 edition is even more visually appealing and entertaining, so do check it out. One of the scenes I loved the most from this movie is the one that shows the passage of time. I remember watching for the first time and being completely blown away.
If you’re looking for movies like The Time Machine, I would first direct your attention to our Rabbit Reviews selection of Time Travel Movies. Then you can move on to science fiction movies from this period. I’m talking about movies like Minority Report, I, Robot, Equilibrium, and Solaris. Finally, if you can vaguely recall a similar but much cheaper movie about time travel from that period, you’re thinking of the 2003 “masterpiece” Timeline.
Director: Simon Wells
Writers: H.G. Wells, David Duncan, John Logan
Cast: Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Jeremy Irons, Yancey Arias, Sienna Guillory, Samantha Mumba
Fun Facts: The actual Time Machine professor uses was the biggest and most expensive prop ever to grace the screen at that moment in time.