[box cover]

The Time Machine (2002)

Proclaiming Simon Wells' 2002 The Time Machine to be based on his grandfather H.G. Wells' novel is like trying to pass off a bowl of Coco Puffs for gourmet chocolate. In 1903 New York, Prof. Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), despondent over his wife's death, builds a time machine that can take him back in time to prevent her murder. The machine works, but fate prevents him from saving her. Desperate to know why the past can't be changed, he inexplicably seeks his answer in the future, reaching New York in the 21st century, and then a further 800,000 years in the future, where he encounters the childlike Eloi and the evil monstrous Morlocks that feed on them. The Time Machine is generic check-brains-at-door hokum that feels longer than its 96 minutes. It's all meant to be fun, but it should give us more than a thin, spindly script to hang the special effects on. Pearce seems to be just going through the blockbuster-formula motions, especially in the running-jumping-punching scenes. Its nadir is Jeremy Irons' Uber-Morlock, a boogeyman unique to this incarnation of the story. He gets only one scene, but would still be embarrassing even if it made a lick of sense.

DreamWorks' The Time Machine features an anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. The bland features include the usual making-of stuff and two commentaries with director Simon Wells, editor Wayne Wahrman, producer David Valdes, visual effects supervisor Jamie Price, and production designer Oliver Scholl. Keep-case.
—Mark Bourne

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