Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Samantha Mumba, Jeremy Irons, Philip Bosco | Directed by: Simon Wells | Produced by: Walter F Parkes, David Valdes | Written by: John Logan, Simon Wells, H G Wells | Distributor: Warner Brothers, DreamWorks SKG
In 1733, Samuel Madden wrote a book entitled Memoirs of the Twentieth Century. It was the story of an angel that brought back a document from 1998. Madden’s story launched the science fiction trend of blending time travel with utopian literature. H.G. Wells captured this concept in 1895 in his science fiction classic The Time Machine. Wells was not the first one to contemplate the idea of time travel, but he was the first to advance the idea by using a machine. His ideas received even more attention in 1905. Albert Einstein, just seven years later, proposed his Special Theory of Relativity. He stated that “time is not separate from space, but bound up with it, and flows at different speeds depending on how fast you’re moving” (this is the premise used for the upcoming film “Clockstoppers”).
There now exists a strong attraction between physics and fiction. I know that I enjoy the theme of time travel and it was Wells’ book that hooked me as an avid Sci-Fi fan. This theme has found its way through comic story lines and on to the big screen.
V.T. Hamlin’s character Alley Oop in 1933 traveled through time thanks to Doc Wonmug’s time machine. In 1949, Kurt Godel, a mathematician, using Einstein’s equations realized that a spinning universe does allow for the possibility of time travel. There are some scientist that have devoted their lives to Quantum Physics and declare that time travel is no longer a matter of “if” but “when”.
It is fitting that Simon Wells, the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, is chosen to direct the remake of the 1960’s classic. This is Simon’s first live action feature. He is best known for his work in the area of animation. Mr. Wells directed “Balto” and co-directed “The Prince of Egypt,” “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,” and “We’re Back!: A Dinosaur’s Story.” Gore Verbinski (“Mousehunt”) supplied the filming. John Logan (“Star Trek: Nemesis,” “Gladiator”) is the screenwriter. This team has joined together to bring a very compelling drama to the big screen.
Wells has added his revisionist spin on H.G.’s Eloi and Morlocks. The evolutionary split of the sociological ideas of “hunters” and “gatherers” may be unsettling to many. These ideas converge at the end just as the plot is rising to its climax.
Most of the ride is extremely tame for a PG-13 film, but this rating should be strongly observed. It well earns its rating during the final lap of the movie. I will not spoil it for you, but parents with young children you have been WARNED!
Simon’s work reminded me a lot of a blend between “The Planet of the Apes” (2001) and the TV series “Earth2”. There are many similarities in the special effects. Our story has been moved from London to New York. Here a professor named Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) tries to travel into the past in order to correct a tragedy. On the eve of Alex’s engagement, his fiancé is accidentally shot. Professor Hartdegen spends the next five years perfecting his ideas of time travel. No matter how many times he goes back, the love of his life still dies. He then decides the answers are not in the past, but in the future. Alex leaves the comfort of 1899 New York and ventures into the unknown. In the middle of the 21st century, Alex encounters an event similar to the original 1966 nuclear war catastrophe in the 1960 version.
We now fast-forward 80,000 years into the Polynesian world of two very pronounced species. Alex is helped by an Eloi woman named Mara (Samatha Mumba). It is not long before the pasty death-masked characters of the Morlocks from underground confront our hero. Jeremy Irons does turn in an outstanding performance as the leader of the Morlocks. Most Sci-Fi fans will be pleased with the trip.
There is very little language and no sex in this film. There are several scenes of Mara in revealing clothing. The violence in the end is intense and at times disturbing. (Once again parents—you’ve been warned!) These scenes outside the context of the story will be offensive to most Christians. I do recommend this film with the above cautions.
Year of Release—2002
Decent movie with good special effects but the plot is kinda weak, much more could have been done with this movie. Violence is present in areas and I don’t recall much profanity, but there is not sex or nudity. …With how the two “species” of humans came about kind of eludes to evolution but how they come about is not explained at all. There is no intense violence and no blood or gore. though some of the special effects at the end when somebody dies could be a little disturbing to younger children. This is an OK movie. It is worth watching but not great. It is not too offensive as long as you can handle some violence. (only in two or three parts in the movie).
[Average / 2½]