Time, the dimension in which we have no control over, each moving in the same direction, at the same speed until we stop… permanently. It has been the collective dream of humanity in which to tame this untameable concept. A lot of fiction has been dedicated to this topic, sci-fi pioneer H.G. Wells wrote about the subject in 1895, an iconic tome called the Time Machine that was made into a cult classic film in 1960, in 2002 it was remade as the Time Machine.
In the dawn of the new century. When brilliant, but disorganised scientist Alexander Hartdegen’s fiancée gets killed, he descends into a 4-year long period of seclusion working on the impossible a device that travels through time, he discovers that preventing her death is impossible and so ventures forth far into the future. But when he meets the next generations of humanity, he might find a reason to stay, and a reason to get back as fast as possible.
The film portrays an interesting state of evolution for humanity, a world where holographic obelisks hold the complete collection of all knowledge… so far, the harrowing atomic war of the 60s film has been replaced with a freak moon terraforming accident, because the threat of atomic war had taken a backseat in 2002. Beyond that a lot of the film remains faithful to the 1960s classic, the montage of time passing around Hartdegen is here (albeit C.G.I. as opposed to stop-motion), as well as the classic subterranean villains The Morlocks, and the simplistic Eloi.
These changes aren’t just minor swaps here and there, but there have been significant improvements representing 42 years of movie making tech enhancements. The film is filled with a plethora of vibrant and imaginative effects. The destroyed moon is a pretty sight in the year 802701 and the beautifully rendered wooden cliff-hugging settlements of the Eloi spring to mind. The iconic, underground dwelling Morlocks have had a bit of an upgrade in ‘02 being more agile as well as less terrifying to look out (if you can call that an upgrade) and the head Morlock having psychic powers and the ability to speak and taunt. With excellent casting from leader Morlock by Jeremy Irons, and Orlando Jones as a humorous alternative to Siri aptly name Vox. Even Alexander Hartdegen as played by Guy Pearce feels like he has skills in both pugilism and survivalism, as well as theoretical physics, making him a fine hero.
By utilising some slick visuals and some clever ideas, The Time Machine manages to bring its own take to the story and remains different to the 1960s version. But throughout it manages to maintain the intrigue and wonder of the original story. These elements combined make the 2002 version of the Time Machine appointment viewing, that you wouldn’t want to miss, whatever century you’re stranded in.
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