The Time Machine (2002)

the time machine

“You forgot ‘what if?'”

The Scoop: PG-13 2002, directed by Gore Verbinski and Simon Wells, and starring Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba and Jeremy Irons.

Tagline: The greatest adventure through all time.

General Scoop: Scientist discovers that in the future, we’re all very, very ugly.

Justin’s rating: 1.21 Watts

Justin’s review: I think it’s a very good thing that stuff like time machines are handled by crackpot inventors. I mean, they understand all those things like cause-and-effect and time paradoxes, whereas the average person frequently forgets about Daylight Savings (I have a personal track record of being one hour early to church that Sunday three years running now – and not on purpose). If we had time machines, we’d be messing about with the fabric of space and time for every little reason, like going back to change something so your girlfriend won’t bite your head off about it, or warning Sega Saturn owners in 1994 that their world was about to crumble. And don’t even start thinking about how many of us would carry through with the threat to go knock off someone’s grandfather so they’d never be bor…

HAHA! No, PoolMan hasn’t gotten hold of a time machine. Yet. Once mine is completed, Canada will no longer exist. A few minor tweaks, and Justania will be selling beaver pelts into slavery forever!

Alexander (Guy Pierce) is a Victorian-era scientist who’s got a fetish for all things mechanical, and also his girlfriend. Possibly, she was made from gears and pneumatic tubes and the like. Girlfriend gets killed and Alexander is all upset about this… but wait! What if! A movie script! Called for him! To invent! A… TIME MACHINE!

Not explaining a whit of the underlining science (though he does write a lot of equations on a board, which is movie lingo for, “Shut up, we’re much smarter than you”), Alexander uses his time machine like he was at a demolition derby. He goes back in time, fails to save his girlfriend again, and promptly gives up hope, claiming that it’s impossible to change the past. Um, WHAT? First of all, he DID change the past, just by going there, being present, and preventing her first type of death. And secondly, I find it hard to believe a scientist would give up after one measly try… we should’ve seen girlfriend being knocked off like Kenny a few hundred times before he’s convinced.

So if the past can’t save her, then the future must! Right? Sure! Just jack that baby into second gear, and away we go! Time lapse CGI effects abound, and they’re all incredibly nifty to watch. After a few interesting stops in the early 21st century, Alexander goes to the 801st century, because, well, he fell asleep. Or something. There he finds out that there’s a bunch of Native Earthians who are being fed to C.H.U.D.s, and Guy just ain’t gonna stand for that.

The Time Machine is not a great, nor a bad movie, but instead is exactly what I came in for. It didn’t bog down into time causality issues, it just had a fancy machine with a stick that had “forward” and “reverse”. It had enough action to give the adrenaline boost, enough past and present locales for those who don’t avidly watch the History Channel like I do, and there’s a pretty girl in the 801st century who still shaves her legs. The movie goes about all namby-pamby, raising issues and refusing to address them (example: how is it even *possible* for stone engravings and advanced computers to survive 800,000 years?), but in a way, that’s a good thing. It does right by focusing on the plot and making plenty of pit stops on the way, refusing to be smart, nor as overblown as “other” time twisting tales have been lately *cough* Planet of the Apes*cough*.

Plus, we get a great moral to take home: we just don’t wanna be around in the year 2037.

He should have taken Mark Addy with him on his adventure. Mark Addy’s a better love interest than a forgotten R’n’B singer.


  • “The Time Machine” was first published in 1895. Wells’ first story about time travel was entitled “The Chronic Argonauts” and was published serially in April, May, and June of 1888 in the Science Schools Journal of the Normal School of Science, now Imperial College.
  • Director Wells, Simon is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells who wrote the book upon which this movie is based. Director Gore Verbinski was brought in to take over the last 18 days of shooting, as Simon Wells was suffering from “extreme exhaustion”. Wells returned for post-production.
  • The Time Machine has been made into a few other movies, including a 1960 version directed by George Pal.
  • An original ending called for Alexander to travel to the end of Earth’s history, where the sun is a red giant, about to engulf the planet.
  • She wasn’t upset that she didn’t get a diamond for engagement? She’s not natural, I tells ya!
  • Considering the amount of times that Alexander hits himself on the machine, perhaps a little padding should’ve been installed as well.
  • The Time Machine never reappears in the middle of solid matter.
  • The pulsing score in Time Machine reminded me of many of the great themes from action/adventure outings. Loud, bombastic and sweeping, I think I might actually pick up the CD.
  • Samantha Mumba, who plays Mara, is a Dublin-born singer-songwriter who had a short R’n’B career c. 2000 – 2001. The role of Mara’s brother Kalen is played by Mumba’s own brother.

Groovy Dialogue:

Teacher: Don’t make me re-sequence your DNA!

Biker [gesturing to the time machine]: Bet that makes one hell of a cappuccino!

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