Time Machine, The (2002)Reviewed By Bishop
Posted 04/06/02 18:48:23
The Time Machine, starring Guy Pearce coming off of his phenomenal role in Memento, is a hurried effort that keeps the audience's head moving side to side trying to follow the action...which isn't even worth following. This film which might have worked with better development and perhaps another hour is totally misguided and succeeds on few, if any levels.The epic that was The Lord of the Rings showed how a famous literary epic can be wonderfully adapted to the big screen. If The Lord of the Rings is a "How To," The Time Machine is a "How Not To."
The movie starts off OK, as we are introduced to Guy Pearce's character, a college proferssor/scientist/physicist. As it turns out, a tragedy befalls Alexander Hardigan (Pearce's character) and he sets out to build a machine, a time machine to be exact, in order to alter the past. Well, Pearce succeeds...or there wouldn't be a movie right (damn it, why did he succeed)? This is where the mad dash to the past, to the future, the distant future, and the future of the future and so forth comes. In the future where Hardigan finally decides to stay a spell, he finds out much to his dismay that there are two distinct societies. One of a people who are somewhat civilized, and one of beastly neanderthals. The Eloi, with whom Hardigan stays are hunted by the Morlocks. Less than a teen pop sensation, Samantha Mumba plays the only English speaking Eloi, and suprisingly, she's not terrible. Anywhoo, Pearce decides to stay awhile and help the Eloi, all the while seeking to have the question which drove him into the future answered, i. e., "Why can't one change the past?" Pearce begins to stop obsessing, and is drawn into the struggle. What he finds is a terrifying reality, and an answer to his question.
Jesus, I hope the last paragraph didn't mislead anyone, because this movie sucks. It is so hurried and underdeveloped that one can only wonder if the filmmaker's didn't sap up all of their budget on special effects. This movie had some potential, but fails to realize it. What it needs is a more deliberate pace and more time to develop the sequences. The leaps and bounds Memento most assuredly produced for Pearce may have been diminshed substantially by a total mail-in performance, which is a shame because Pearce is so talented (L. A. Confidential, Memento). Pearce's performance could have been a somewhat redeeming aspect of this film, but it isn't. He's not bad, but he's not good either. A blaise mail-in of a performance. Jeremy Irons turns up late in the film, and does a decent, creepy job of portraying his character, but it is too late for redemption at that point. The Time Machine is a hurried bore.I would strongly advise not seeing this movie, even on video. It is highly unenjoyable and is the worst movie I have seen in a theater in some time.
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