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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.73%
Worth A Look: 15.93%
Average: 9.73%
Pretty Bad33.63%
Total Crap: 30.97%

6 reviews, 77 user ratings

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Time Machine, The (2002)
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by Collin Souter

"And Orlando Jones shall lead them?"
1 stars

“The Time Machine” is a movie that has no interest in itself. It doesn’t believe in itself, it has no sense of humor…it’s just plain bored. Movies about time travel, if nothing else, should have us thinking about its paradoxes and improbabilities. They should engage us early on and set us up for some spectacular, innovative storytelling, even if we know damn well that time travel remains an impossibility. They can be challenging and bleak (“12 Monkeys,” "Donnie Darko") or they can be pure, ingenious fun (the “Back to the Future” trilogy), but they should never, ever be this monumentally boring.

I have a bit of a confession to get out of the way: I have never read H.G. Welles book of the same name and I have a small, vague recollection of the George Pal movie. I saw it so loooooong ago, that I may as well just say I haven’t seen it. Naturally, all the video stores either don’t carry it or don’t have a copy in on their shelves. So, I will have to forgo the inevitable comparisons and just get straight to the BS. I also have to say that this movie didn’t exactly instill a desire in me to brush up on the literary classic or the movie. Someday, maybe, but not today.

The story starts off with a dedicated scientist in 1895 New York, Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), who plans on marrying his girlfriend, Emma (Sienna Guillory). They meet in a park where he proposes to her, but they get robbed. In a struggle for the wedding ring the robber kills Emma and, suddenly, time travel becomes possible. Alexander builds a giant time machine made of metal spheres all rotating simultaneously (As far as spherical modes of transportation, I prefer the Tilt-A-Whirl ship from “Explorers,” myself). Alexander goes back an hour before the marriage proposal, only to see her this time get run over by a horse. That scene reminds me of a “Simpsons” episode, it’s so funny.

So, Alexander realizes he can’t keep going back in time or else Emma will become the Kenny to his Stan, Kyle and Cartman. She dies one week and keeps coming back the following week. So he moves forward about a couple hundred years. And of course, what message can be read on every billboard in this future? You guessed it. THE FUTURE IS NOW! Thanks for reminding me. Of course, everything flies, the women dress themselves even more provocatively, and nobody writes with a pen anymore. Also, the New York Public Library has installed a hologram of the “Make 7-Up Yours” guy (Orlando Jones) to tell us everything we need to know, which is annoying enough to make one want to return to the dewy decimal system.

Alexander travels forward in time even further to see that the moon is falling and destroying the planet. He makes a run for his time machine, which never moves from its original spot, and ends up going about 800,000 years into the future. Surprisingly, we still have humans 800,000 years into the future and they still speak perfect English. This race of people call themselves Eloi. Imagine the population of the Atoll in “Waterworld” inhabiting the Forest Moon of Endor from “Return of the Jedi,” and you have the idea. Naturally, the Eloi who finds Alexander is a hot babe named Mara (Samantha Mumba). She also has a little brother, but never mind.

The Eloi naturally have an enemy: The Morlocks. They burst out from the ground and drag the screaming Eloi race down underground with them. Alexander asks why they don’t fight back. The Eloi don’t know the words for “fight back,” even though they know every other damn word in the English language. The look of the Morlocks themselves lacks imagination. They look all bony, gray and hideous, but if you look closely, they don’t look all that much different from Ozzy Ozbourne on that new TV show of his.

All of this happens as though it happens every day. The characters have conversations about their dilemma as you and I would have a conversation about log cabins. Yet once the movie jumps this far into the future, you’d swear Kevin Costner took the director’s chair on the set of “Battlefield Earth” with his Sledgehammer of Subtlety by his side. The CGI beasts running around have nothing scary about them, the characters don’t seem all that interested in anything and, yet, we should be MARVELLING at the sight of this WHOLE NEW WORLD!

Guy Pearce, whom would normally be interesting in any movie, has no idea what to do here. His performance comes off as stilted and over-done. He lacks the wide-eyed wonder of a genius scientist on the brink of a great discovery. He also seems perfectly calm for a guy who just broke all the laws of science. Now, when Peter Weller does that for “Buckaroo Banzai,” it works because he has surrounded himself with such an odd group of comrades that everything ends up balancing out. Here, Pearce travels alone. No sidekick, no plans, no script and no direction. And we don’t give a damn about him.

The rest of the cast drags their feet behind him. Jeremy Irons shows up toward the end as the main baddie, Uber-Morlock, resembling a cross between David Bowie, Julian Sands and Death from “The Seventh Seal” (or “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” if that better suits you). He looks as though he doesn’t want to be recognized as being a part of this, yet he gladly took part in the equally bad “Dungeons and Dragons.” “Do I surprise you?” he asks Alexander. Yes, we’re shocked, now would you hurry up and be cool again!?!

“The Time Machine” has such an utter lack of personality that one must wonder what the powers that be saw in it in the first place. It seems as though the cast and crew worked from a dummy script and waited hours on end every day waiting for the real one to arrive. I’m not the least bit surprised DreamWorks and Warner Brothers panicked and decided to bump the release date of this movie to late winter/early spring, normally the dumping ground for the studio’s lesser projects. When a glass hologram of Orlando Jones survives 800,000 years worth of highly significant land shifts, earthquakes and New York winters, and the Statue of Liberty is nowhere in sight, you know you’ve got problems.

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originally posted: 03/09/02 18:39:40
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User Comments

4/25/18 Louise A waste of 'time' - ha ha - watch the 1960 one instead. 2 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
8/19/15 Carol Watch the George Pal 1960 classic. Just pretend this pointless remake never happened. 1 stars
6/08/13 mike great movie 5 stars
1/16/11 L Lopez Awsome remake of an old favorite. Dislikers should have their DNA resequenced. 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
3/17/08 Kirsten Not bad, but I felt the plot was a bit rushed. Iron's character was defeated too quickly 3 stars
5/14/07 action movie fan lame remake-1960 moive is still the best 2 stars
1/28/07 David Pollastrini saw it but have no memory so it must have sucked 3 stars
9/12/06 BOB I understand why some people would not have liked this movie, because you have to think 5 stars
8/05/06 nicklor24 great film, to bad it's underrated, check it out 5 stars
7/13/06 Dan Honestly, what were you idiots expecting? This was a fun, entertaining movie. Dumbfucks. 4 stars
5/08/06 Thomas Semesky How can you make a movie about time travel into a boring waste of time? 2 stars
9/04/05 Eagle We need a time machine to go back and prevent this movie from being made 1 stars
8/19/05 ES A good re-telling, worth a glance 4 stars
8/07/04 Anthony G I would fuck samantha mumba 2 stars
6/01/04 ReptilesNi Completely lacking the charm of the original movie. 2 stars
5/22/04 Bruck Remembrance of a great film 3 stars
12/23/03 Chris It was an OK movie at first but the end was horrible. 2 stars
10/28/03 Lars Kelsen A great ride! 4 stars
10/19/03 Ingo Fine start, but then... 3 stars
6/09/03 Goofy Maxwell Don't see it, or if u must, pull a Rip Van Winkle like Guy Pierce & just sleep through it. 1 stars
6/01/03 Pete a hour and a half just to see Samantha Mumba's tummy. Sucks Ass like a intern 1 stars
4/23/03 LIAM JACKSON brilliant.the uber-morlock should have killed alex.still great though 5 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Hey! I forgot I saw this piece of dog shit. Too bad that had to change. 1 stars
1/20/03 Jim Not bad but suffers from severe credibility problems once Alex arrives in 802701. 4 stars
10/22/02 teri did the screenwriter just quit right at the end so quickly wrapped up the whole thing? 1 stars
10/06/02 syrius effects are pretty good, but H.G. Wells is rolling over in his grave 2 stars
9/02/02 AshFan Guy Pearce and the effects are great, but its' stupid script and ending ruin some of it. 3 stars
8/13/02 Monster W. Kung An utterly disappointing film. Damn you, Pearce. 2 stars
7/30/02 soelsen i thought it was good....kinda hard to follow though 4 stars
6/02/02 Chris Not a complete waste of time. What was with the ending it was pretty good till then. 3 stars
5/17/02 viking a sci-fi classic becomes a run of the mill CGI extravaganza 3 stars
4/29/02 Little L Absolutely loved it! Whoever says it doesn't live up to sixties one's standards is stupid 5 stars
4/27/02 Jill and Bart worst movie we've ever seen in our lives. BORING!!!! 1 stars
4/24/02 Danielle Ophelia Someone ate H.G. Wells' masterful novel...then chucked it back up. A maudlin surface-skim. 2 stars
4/23/02 Rautron Zero The 1960 Original is by far a better film, but this film s Interesting 3 stars
4/18/02 Emily shitty 1 stars
4/12/02 Aaron Nelson Pretty good remake of the 1960 Pal film, although the last 20 minutes lost it a bit 4 stars
4/10/02 emp not that bad, probably should wait for the video 4 stars
4/10/02 Kelly Mears The Special effects are cool. Plot is nothing special. 3 stars
4/10/02 The Grinch Good, mindless fun, with good special effects. 4 stars
4/08/02 Roy Smith Saw the "ending" far in advance, rather stupid, all FX only 2 stars
4/08/02 Connoisseur you people are too hard on movies these days. this movie is fun 4 stars
4/07/02 angie I enjoyed this film. Fine family entertainment. But then that's why I watch movies. 4 stars
4/05/02 Edfink Lombardo Good visual effects, fun storytelling, with its only downfall being its slow pace... 4 stars
4/04/02 Monster W. Kung ...and after going through it backwards, Guy Pearce wastes our time. 2 stars
4/02/02 Flick Chick cheezy and boring 2 stars
3/27/02 Chris ¿¡ Samantha Mumba and Guy Pierce have no character in this movie, at all. 2 stars
3/23/02 Larry You should to see it's not bad 4 stars
3/23/02 mahone the director should get the death penalty 1 stars
3/19/02 malcolm a lot of fun, jeremy irons looked like a wicked Powder 4 stars
3/18/02 your mom the visual effect were pretty good. 4 stars
3/17/02 Rampage Crud, crud and more crud. If you haven't seen it, thank God. 2 stars
3/17/02 R. Johnson Total, uninflected, piece of crap! 1 stars
3/16/02 H. G. Wells I can't believe they have talkies like this, who would've thought twas possible? 5 stars
3/16/02 Artist Freak Light on plot, but stuff blowed up real good. Don't expect great art and you'll be happy. 3 stars
3/14/02 bianca it was great. lot better than most people think 5 stars
3/14/02 NiceGlamourShotErik SUCKED BIG ONES 1 stars
3/14/02 Hotaine Ran right out and bought the book after this to cleanse my soul. I felt so dirty. 1 stars
3/12/02 ajay not as bad as HBS says it is. maybe that's why I liked it, I was expecting shit 4 stars
3/12/02 spaceworm Time trip cool; O. Jones,fun; Irons, NO! Scipt, where? 2 stars
3/12/02 raiven message to screenwriter: rent the 1960 version to see why yours sucks 2 stars
3/12/02 brent young superficial at best. maybe a rental... maybe. 2 stars
3/11/02 sandy I enjoyed this film. Fine family entertainment. But then that's why I watch movies. 5 stars
3/11/02 Rockitman007 I enjoyed this movie enough. 4 stars
3/11/02 Ziggy Stardust What claptrap! What drivell... i was hoping soo much for it to be good... but noooooooooooo 2 stars
3/11/02 Just another guy Nice effects, no story. Go rent the original. 1 stars
3/11/02 Jimbobwe Erik was dead on (except that this version is set in New York, not England). Way bummer... 2 stars
3/11/02 Benjamin Leatherman Ana llright movie. Everything seemed to make sense to me. 4 stars
3/10/02 ChicoJake maybe rent it if you are bored 2 stars
3/10/02 jojo great movie not to hollywood ,classic science fiction,and guy pearce as always is awesome 5 stars
3/09/02 Joe Deblow The Gayness Machine 1 stars
3/09/02 Kisuta A light, entertaining movie. Could have had a lot more detail. 4 stars
3/09/02 Butterbean Jeremy Iron's exposed spine was the coolest thing about this movie 3 stars
3/09/02 STEVE would not see it for a hundred bucks! 1 stars
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  08-Mar-2002 (PG-13)



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