Area of Inquiry:
Time travel, practical applications


As most of you already know, DreamWorks production of The Time Machine is based on H.G. Wells' original 1895 novel and David Duncan's screenplay for the 1960 George Pal film. The basic story premise is intact, a scientist builds a time machine and travels into the distant future where he discovers the human race has divided itself into two distinct branches, the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Morlocks prey upon the Eloi and the time traveler endeavors to defeat the Morlocks and save the Eloi from their terrible fate.

The new story does follow elements of the Duncan script and some scenes are very similar in content as well.

I was originally concerned about the Orlando Jones character, VOX when I first read the script synopsis posted by IGN Film Force. I was quite relieved when I saw how the character was portrayed and how he was developed in the story. Other elements which were mentioned in the synopsis have also been changed or removed and in so doing has improved the story considerably.

You will want to pay close attention to the scene with Alexander and the uber Morlock (Jeremy Irons) as it is important in understanding the intricacies of the story.

The visual effects were exciting, I especially liked the geophysical changes of the planet as the time machine journeyed into the future. Many of the effects which were done by Pal and his crew were done in this production as well, the difference is that with the current computer technology more could be done than Pal was able to accomplish in his day.

The film runs approximately 95 minutes or so and I would have liked to have seen about another 20 minutes to really tighten up the story. An additional scene or two between Alexander and Philby would have made a significant addition to the story.

So go and see the film on March 8th and let me know what you think.

Don Coleman


My Thoughts About The Time Machine Movie By Craig Endler


It is clear that the director Mr. Simon Wells has had an extra amount of added pressure in the making of his film.

It isn't enough that he is the grandson of the author of The Time Machine, H. G. Wells, this is also his first live action film, not to mention a legion of die hard Time Machine fans like myself, with some very high expectations, who have been watching his every move.

I am quite sure that Mr. Simon Wells has lived and breathed The Time Machine movie, more than anyone else could ever imagine, as he put his film together.

First, I would like to say that I didn't like the movie trailer very much; it didn't really do a very good job in getting you to want to go see the movie.

I also thought that the tagline on the movie poster was poor, "WHERE WOULD YOU GO?", sounds like an airline commercial, and "BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR." , seems like it might be an ominous song title from an old Rolling Stones album.

I went to the screening, hoping against hope, that they would do a decent job when they made The Time Machine, but secretly fearing that this was going to be a disaster, and that I was going to be severally disappointed.
Just a gut feeling I guess.

I am very happy to report that the movie exceeded my expectations, and that it turned out to be a fun enjoyable viewing experience.

It had nice pacing, the cinematography was excellent, and I liked most of the music, even though I would have liked the music to have a more Victorian flavor, especially in the beginning. The special effects were a visual delight.

The story was very well done,with some nice twists, and turns, and no matter how many times you have read the book, or seen the original movie, there were still some surprises in store,while at the same time it stayed mostly true to Mr. H. G. Wellsís original intention.

The Morlocks looked much better, and more menacing that they did in the movie trailer. This was another pleasant surprise.

The Eloi, I felt, should have been more fearful and weak. Their English was a little too good for people who have rarely spoken it all those centuries. Moreover, why did they continue to practice and keep alive a long dead unused language anyway?

I wish that the film makers had shown more of them and their lifestyle.

The Time Machine itself is a marvel, it looks and sounds fantastic in the film, and yet I wish that the film makers had spent more time with it, showing it being constructed, how it works, the tests and trials in getting it to function. Rome wasnít built in a day, and neither was the Time Machine.

I did not care for Guy Pearce as the Time Traveler at first, he didn't seem believable as a brilliant shy scientist/professor but after a while you grow to like him, and he seems to fit comfortably into the role.

I thought that the holographic VOX, that takes the place of The Talking Rings, was going to be a cheap gimmick, but it helped moved the story along, and turned out to be touching in the end. But why did a hologram have to put on glasses later in the film when it was reading some information to the characters, was this for humor only, or an attempt to make people more at ease with him?

I think that the thing that keeps this movie from being great, and leaves it in the category of a very fun Saturday Matinee movie, is the character development. You really do not get to know any of the characters as people very well, including The Time Traveler. The people seem to exist more to move the story along, than as complex unique human beings. I would have liked to know more all of the characters, their thoughts and feelings. A good friend of the time traveler Philby, who was so memorable in the original Time Machine movie, makes a brief appearance, but has only a small thankless part. Alan Young is on the credits,but Iíll be damned if I could tell you where he is in this film. Some one said that he was the guy in the flower shop selling flowers. If this is true, then this is a big waste of such an excellent talent, and is the movies', and our loss.

There is a brief, nicely done, nod to the time travelers past as he looks towards the future, near the end of the movie, and I only wish that the filmmakers had included many more touches like this. I left the theatre with a few unanswered questions,which I hope will be cleared up on future viewings, nothing major though.

While I understand that there are time limitations on films, many filmmakers have been able to balance a good story, well-developed characters, along with good pacing.

For myself, I would like to say that Simon Wells has made an entertaining, enjoyable movie, and I really did like it. I would recommend seeing The Time Machine to anyone who asked me,and I will go to see it again at the theater, after which I will wait anxiously for it to come out on DVD, which I hope is full with a lot of extras.

And to Mr. Simon Wells, if you are reading this, I would like ask you to please find a place here in Los Angeles to display The Time Machine, so that we might all have the opportunity to see it on exhibit.

Lastly, I would like to add,that my friend Mike, who is also a very big Time Machine fan, didn't like the movie. He said he liked parts of it, but overall he was disappointed. When I pressed him for details as to why he felt this way he couldn't put his finger on it, but overall it wasn't as good as he was hoping.

So, I guess it comes down to being a matter of personal taste in the end.

 

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