Prayer Focus
Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG for action violence and mild language.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family to Adult
Sci-Fi / Comedy
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
Jesse Bradford and Paula Garces in “Clockstoppers” Scene from “Clockstoppers”

Starring: Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Robin Thomas, French Stewart | Directed by: Jonathan Frakes | Produced by: Gale Anne Hurd, Julia Pistor | Written by: Rob Hedden, J. David Stem, David N Weiss | Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Director Jonathan Frakes (“Star Trek: Next Generation”) has created a fun film for the entire family in “Clockstoppers”. Based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, this latest time travel spin explores again the area of hyper-time (which also received decent exposure in “Lost in Space”). As is expected, “Clockstoppers” is your classic good-guy-creates-invention and bad-guys-wanna-use-it-for-evil plot. This is also a classical biblical scenario in a way: God creats and says that it is good, while Satan (who cannot create) takes God’s creation and tries to use it for evil.

“Clockstoppers” is a lot like the hit “Spy Kids”—it’s fun for the family, though geared more toward teens (like “Wargames” or “The Manhattan Project”). Four screenwriters bend their craft together to give a decent time-bending story, and Frakes even takes the time to work in a “Star Trek” gag.

“Clockstoppers” tells the story of Zak (Jesse Bradford) who loves bike stunts and selling stuff on E-bay (who doesn’t love E-bay?!). He’s saving up his dough to buy a used Mustang (always a smooth choice). But Zak soon changes his entrepreneurial pursuit to chase after a Venezuelan exchange student, Francesca (Paula Garces). Then there’s also Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa), Zak’s best friend who hopes to soon be discovered an up and coming Rave DJ.

Zak’s father (Robin Thomas) is helping a former student with a science project, though he’s clueless as to the reality of what he’s working on. The special watch (which speeds up the body’s molecules) accidentally falls into Zak’s hands. Wouldn’t you know, it provides the perfect timing for our hero to win the heart of the beautiful Venezuelan and play a few high school pranks in the process.

The baddies who want the watch are led by Henry Gates (Michael Biehn, “Megiddo,” “The Terminator”). Our villains also have the power of Hyper-time and our story quickly becomes an episode of Spy vs. Spy.

There are some neat special effects in this 94-minute feature. An absence of sex, gratuitous violence, and language mixed in with plenty of action and suspense make “Clockstoppers” an enjoyable ride for most.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—A good choice for our 11-year-old twins. The content wasn’t particularly offensive and the special effects were outstanding. My husband and I found several “teachable moments” throughout the film to discuss afterwards: doing the right thing (when French Stewart returns to help rescue the kids, despite his fear), frugality (saving to buy what you want and finding ways to make extra money), dating and courtship (raking leaves as a way of getting to know someone better)—lots more in the movie! Would sit through it again with or without the kids!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Leah, age 49
Positive—This was one fun movie. I promise that I didn’t see it JUST to watch Jesse Bradford, but he was what finally got me in the theatre. That, and I was trying to find a movie clean enough to take the middle schoolers I lead in a weekly Bible study to. Here were the qualifications: A movie their parents wouldn’t object to and a movie I could sit through twice. I could sit through this a few more times. It was cheesy and unrealistic, but had some great humor. The one incident of swearing was, dare I say it, hilarious. I thought Jesse Bradford looked older than 16 or 17, but the 28 year old female lead definitely could have passed as a high school student. Oh, and it has a great soundtrack as well. Have fun with this innocent, enjoyable, if horribly unrealistic, movie. Take your kids.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Donna, age 19
Positive—My husband and I took a 10-year old and an 11-year old to see the movie. We were a bit hesitant at first because of the PG rating. We were pleasantly surprised at how clean it was. The special effects were impressive. There were only 2 swear words in the movie (not bad for Hollywood). I would have no problem taking preteens or teens to see this movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Cindy, age 30
Positive—My 12 yr. old son and I saw this movie and we both really enjoyed it, although we almost didn’t go because I had read negative reviews. It was clean, fast-paced, and funny. I also liked the way the movie explored another dimension (time warping). Later around the supper table we had a lively discussion about the feasibility of “hypertime.” We considered Philip’s encounter with the Eunuch (Acts 8 I think) and his “translation” as well as other miracles like the floating axe head. We are looking forward to another viewing. This is a good movie for the whole family. Lots of fun. I recommend it.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Nise, age 40
Negative—I agree with the other negative review. There were several objectionable scenes in this movie. The reviewer needs to watch the movie again. I was very disappointed as most reviews on this site are spot on. This one definitely wasn’t.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Richard, age 35
Negative—Frankly, I’m baffle at the glowing reviews… for this movie. If you are trying to raise morally pure kids, there are some things in this movie you should know about before you decide to see it. First of all, there ARE some sexually suggestive elements in this movie. Examples: Zak’s friend talks about wanting to join in a pool party where “all the girls get naked.” There is another scene where this same friend is looking at a Victoria’s Secret catalog while running his finger across the bodies of the scantily clad models inside.

Also, in another scene, Francesca begins to undress, exposing her bra (the kids we took-three 12 year olds and a 10 year old-found this very embarrassing). In addition, there are several comments by the teen stars about being regular readers of Cosmopolitan Magazine. There are also some incidents of foul language. None of this did anything to advance the storyline, and was totally unnecessary.
—Susan, age 43
Movie Critics
…lots of moral messages… a very entertaining diversion for teenagers… a regrettable lapse into pragmatism with regard to stealing things to solve the plot problem…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…2 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 4 mild obscenities (one in song lyrics), 1 religious exclamation…
…a bit of innocuous fun despite its many flaws… a pleasant diversion and a safe albeit silly option…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
Comments from young people
Negative—Clockstoppers is one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen. The script, acting and plot was horribly done. Morally, the film isn’t that bad, but it doesn’t mean you should go see it. Clockstoppers definitely does not deserve 5 stars in my opinion. Don’t waste your time and money to go see this pointless film.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]