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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.03%
Worth A Look: 3.03%
Average: 6.06%
Pretty Bad66.67%
Total Crap: 21.21%

3 reviews, 15 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Back To The Futile...Again!"
2 stars

Clockstoppers starts off like one of those great, goofy sci-fi flicks that kids can enjoy growing up while their imagination is thirsting for invention. It has the feel of those old school films when it would take a half hour to set up everything up, before kicking off the story’s primary focus. Somewhere along the way, however, the screenwriters must have been Hypertimed into the future when less talented storytellers could have offered advice about forgetting about any quality ideas or unique action they had in mind and just make the movie loud and fast….but unexciting.

Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) isn’t exactly Marty McFly, even if he spends a lot of time doing tricks on his bicycle (as opposed to a skateboard) and wearing a similar taste in clothes (blue shirt, red/orange vest anyone?) But he is about Marty’s age and may not have a friend like Doc Brown, but he has a scientific father (Robin Thomas). You know – the kind in movies that never have time for his own children (only enough to put food on the table.)

One of daddy’s more successful students, Dr. Earl Dopler (French Stewart) has come up with a far-out new invention, a watch that speeds up the molecules of those who wear it, thereby giving them superspeed. To them, it just seems that the world around them has slowed down to a crawl. Naturally, with innovation comes government corruption and some evil baddies (led by Michael Biehn, no less) have quarantined the Doc to perfect the kinks in the experiment, like the rapid aging side effect that results from too prolonged an experience in Hypertime.

When the Doc somehow manages to send the prototype to Zak’s dad, our McFly wannabe gets a hold of it unaware of its powers. Little does he know how it will come in handy when trying to impress his new ladyfriend, Francesca (28-year old Paula Garces playing 17.) It takes a half hour before Zak gets his first test drive of the timepiece and he uses it like any of us would at first – to mess with people and to help his friends, even the annoying Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa). Clockstoppers is fun up to this point, before the ball is completely dropped when the chase begins.

Having setup the possibilities of the fun of the watch, not to mention the relationships established, “crossing the streams”-like rapid aging downfalls, fire extinguisher and liquid nitrogen prevention weapons, Clockstoppers should have managed to come up with some truly original action sequences. But, alas, the action is fairly pedestrian and accelerated decrepitude proves to be a minor inconvenience of an afterthought as its never re-introduced as a possible threat for our heroes or the villains. (And here, I half expected a Mr. Dark-like fate for the bad guys.)

J. David Stern and David N. Weiss (veterans of Nickelodeon productions like Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron) and Rob Hedden (telefilm veteran including a Simon & Simon flick as well as Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan) must have had a lot of ideas in their heads when writing the first 30 pages of this screenplay and then either ran out or completely forgot that they had them in the first place. It could have been interesting to see someone attempt to eat in Hypertime. With their molecules running to-and-fro, the term “going right through you” could have become both an amusing joke and a reality. I suppose rapid crapping was a side effect they felt not appropriate for a Nickelodeon film, unless they referred to it as “slime ass.” (If you think that’s off base, consider the fate of one character and Zak’s younger sister in the end. You tell me what’s creepier.)

Director Jonathan Frakes (from TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation) captures the right tone for a goofy kids sci-fi flick with enough sly jokes to boot. There’s an amusing reference to his Number One character from television and even a television reporter who urges civilians to contact their “local counter-intelligence” agency. (At least, I hope that was a joke.) But Frakes needs to work on his pacing, as like his previous efforts (chapters 8 & 9 in the Star Trek film franchise), Clockstoppers suffers in its second half amounting more like a weekly episode than a feature film. (“This week on Clockstoppers, our heroes battle the evil Michael Biehn.”)

Special effects range from creative to moments where its obvious that the actors are just pretending to be moving at a snail’s pace (and not very successfully.) Jesse Bradford is a fine young actor who brought some real sarcastic charm to the thankless role of the love interest in Bring It On and he’s a likable protagonist here as is French Stewart whom I enjoyed as the Doc Brown substitute.

I guess they just don’t make ‘em like they used to, which is a shame because kids today of similar age when I saw films like Explorers, Innerspace, Tron and Back to the Future may grow up to consider films like this on the same level. Maybe that means they have nowhere to go but up in quality, but that’s how films like Tomb Raider are considered “awesome.” By the end of Clockstoppers, you’ll have felt like you were hypertimed through the good parts and it’s time that you’ll never get back.

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originally posted: 03/29/02 09:22:51
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User Comments

10/30/05 tony Its not total crap but it still should almost be considerd 2 stars
8/31/05 ES Thougt it was fine, good FX, kinda suspenful in places 4 stars
10/06/03 Kitty B. really, REALLY sucked 1 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Frakes "gave up" the Director's chair of ST:Nemesis to direct this turd? Wow! 1 stars
2/26/03 Mitsaso Very childish.Too bad for the nice concept... 3 stars
11/07/02 GarcesFan This movie was great! 5 stars
9/29/02 Flick Chick the kids will like it - you can take a nap. 2 stars
7/03/02 Janice Blantyre Promising idea, spoiled by making several characters needlessly obnoxious. 2 stars
6/20/02 Stephanie Throckmorton Neat time-altering premise. Too bad grownups uninteresting & Franchesca's a BRAT! 3 stars
4/06/02 Junshi the girl is a ditz, and the guy has the mind of a senile person. 1 stars
4/05/02 Cinematic Dad It's not that bad, if your kids are younger than 10. 2 stars
4/02/02 Film Dude Sucks hard, even for a kiddy movie. 1 stars
3/31/02 Rampage what a shit-fest of a crappy movie 1 stars
3/30/02 Andrew Carden Childish Take On The Matrix. Boring and Overdone. 1 stars
3/30/02 BO I don't have time to waste in writing a review of this dull movie. 1 stars
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  29-Mar-2002 (PG)



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