[box cover]

Clockstoppers

Clockstoppers' problems begin with its title. The film's characters go to great lengths to explain that "hyptertime" — a state of rapid existence invented by wacky scientist Dopler (French Stewart) — doesn't stop time; instead, it accelerates the user's molecular structure to a degree that the rest of the world moves as slow as a glacier by comparison. But that's forgivable; after all, Clockspeederuppers doesn't exactly have the same ring to it. Less forgivable are the film's claims (well, director Jonathan Frakes's claims, anyway) to be the next Back to the Future/War Games/Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As if. Sorry, Commander Riker, but what you've got here is more like the next Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Sure, star Jesse Bradford (Bring It On, Swimfan) is earnestly appealing, but Back to the Future et. al. were about more than Michael J. Fox's and Matthew Broderick's respective charisma. As Zak, Bradford needs more to do in Clockstoppers than lust after a red Mustang convertible, show off on his bike, and trade quips with pretty newcomer Francesca (Paula Garces). Even after a stray hypertime watch falls into his hands, the best he can think to do with it is play pranks on meter maids and help his best friend Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa) win a dance contest. It's not until the film is well underway that the clichéd central conflict really kicks in: Bad guy Gates (Michael Biehn) wants to use hypertime to take over the world (naturally), but there's a glitch he needs fixed before the NSA shuts him down. He forces Dopler to work on it, but after the skittish scientist escapes, Gates goes after Zak's brilliant father, George (Robin Thomas), instead. It's up to Zak and Francesca to defeat Gates and his henchmen (a crew of calculatedly diverse numbskulls who say things like "The kid is doing something freaky!") in time for Zak and his dad to mend their fences ... and go out and get Zak his car, of course. The best thing to do with Clockstoppers is to make like Zak: Put it into hypertime (aka fast-forward) until you get to the good parts (some of the special effects, particularly when water is concerned, are worth looking at), do your thing, and move on. Getting through the DVD's special features won't take much time — regular or hyper. The 10-minute "making-of" featurette offers the typical behind-the-scenes footage and gushy cast and crew interviews; other extras include two music videos (Smash Mouth's "Holiday in My Head" and Lil' J's "It's the Weekend), four promo spots, and the trailer. The anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) is solid, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround audio tracks are strong (other options include a French surround track and English subtitles). Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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