Directed by Simon Wells (2002,
Starring Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Samantha Mumba, and Jeremy Irons
A man travels into the far future to find answers to a mistake in
October 29th, 2002 on
Visually very, very impressive, but without a lot of substance.
I read the book by H.G. Wells a very long time ago, and only remember
fragments of the story, but it seems like they truncated it long before
the end of the book. I also don't remember any women in the story, but
that could just be me -and they spiced it up, anyway. Not that it
matters, because Alexander, the main character and time-traveler, finds
what he is looking for in the end, sort of.
From the moment the menu came up for this DVD, I was extremely impressed
with the music. Even if the movie isn't terrific, I think the soundtrack
might be worth having! I have grown to love chanting in the music of
action movies, so there was a lot to like here. It reminded me of the
Lion King Rhythm of the Pridelands CD. The peaceful themes when
Alexander spends time with the Eloi were also very inspired, and every
triumphant moment had an uplifting feel to it. Very impressive.
Also impressive were the visual effects. The colors and textures of the
disc were crisp, adding to the already stunning visual palette. I liked
the time bubble around the time machine, and the exceptional
acceleration of everything around it, from the growing ivy, the changing
of the seasons, the re-zoning of the city, and eventually, the complete
change of the landscape around him, including a glacial age! It was
completely stunning. Also stunning was the small tour of the Eloi
village. It really was blissful, as in the book.
The middle of the movie was truly great, though there wasn't much story.
The only thing the beginning of the film provided was motivation. I
liked the single-mindedness of the inventor trying to fix the past, much
better than simple curiosity. The scene of the moon in shards in the
21st century ("you were right, Phillby, we did go too far"), and then as
a spatter of dust and shards in the far future, was also amazing, and
provided sufficient explanation for an evolutionary shift.
What I didn't like was the way everybody has all sorts of knowledge of
what happened. The librarian was a nice touch, even if it stretches
credibility that he could survive that long -even with a nuclear power
source and a way of storing information beyond what we have now. Still,
the character of the librarian was interesting. It is unfortunate that
he was reduced to an expositionary figure. The Uber-Morlock was also a
raving villain, with a need to tell Alexander everything he knew about
the past. An oral tradition like these people must have cannot be
trusted, but it appears that this guy was telling the truth.
If the story was thin, the acting was almost non-existent. From the
first moment, I didn't like the way Alexander was depicted. It improved
somewhat in the middle, but he didn't play the asocial professor or
action hero very well. Emma was also terribly played. Though I was sad
to see her die (especially the laughable second time, in which she looks
like a cardboard cutout), it really was a blessing, for the character
was intolerable. Mara was much better, though the character seemed to be
entirely too well-educated, and expected unreasonable things from
Alexander. When did everybody suddenly learn English -Mara must be an
excellent teacher; and she stops stuttering only the next morning! I
loved her line about him being a traveling idiot!
The Morlocks were very real, most of the time. At times they looked like
people in suits, but much of the time they felt like real creatures,
much more real that anything presented in CG even in
Attack of the
Clones. Their caste division really makes sense and makes for good
story, as well. Unfortunately, it wasn't developed much.
As poor as the beginning of the film was, at least it provided Alexander
with motivation for making his time machine. When he finds he can't
change the past, he looks for answers in the future. The end doesn't
even do that. Why does the Uber-Morlock have the answer, when he shouldn't even know about time
travel? It he was so smart, surely the Morlocks would have grown beyond
simple coal fired gears? He invokes causality to answer Alexander's
question, which is not valid when speaking of time travel. Still, it
provides us with a firm conclusion, anyway. What I don't understand is
the Uber-Morlock saying "you are the inescapable result of your tragedy"
-okay, that part is mostly understandable, but what of "and I am the
inescapably result of you"? What does that mean? He is implying that
Alexander is the cause of the Molocks, but that doesn't make sense. Even
the audio commentary doesn't provide a good explanation.
We are led to believe that Alexander and the Eloi live happily ever
after, peacefully, but that cannot be. When word gets out that the
Uber-Morlock of this region is dead, surely other Ubers will come
running. He said that he was not the only one. I didn't feel any
reasons for Alexander to stay behind. He had two opportunities to leave,
even perhaps to save Mara by going back in time by a day and taking her
with him, if he wanted. There were so many potential endings, much more
satisfying. Since the movie was way too short, they could have easily
The DVD features feel like they come off of MTV! It is more advertising
than anything else, even when exploring the process of making the movie.
Somewhat interesting, but only scratching the surface. It was
interesting to note that the director is the great-grandson of the great
H.G. Wells. Still, he couldn't save the movie from a lack of story and
However, as was the case with Planet of the Apes, if the acting can be
ignored, the movie is worth seeing simply for the beautiful visual