Main cast: Guy Pearce (Assoc Prof Alexander Hartdegen), Samantha Mumba (Mara), Orlando Jones (Vox NY-114), Mark Addy (David Philby), Jeremy Irons (The Über-Morlock), Phyllida Law (Mrs Watchit), Omero Mumba (Kalen), and Sienna Guillory (Emma Malloy)
Director: Simon Wells
This is a ridiculous movie that seems to be based on some Scout campfire story rather than the HG Wells’s story of the same name. I don’t even have a TV when the 1960 version came out, so don’t expect me to do a comparison to that oldie. But The Time Machine, this 2002 version, seems like more than a stroll in the park for the hero, Alexander Hartdegen.
Alexander is an absent-minded scientist who would have died of starvation were not for his stern but doting housekeeper Mrs Watchit and his friend David Philby. Alex loves Emma – don’t ask how a nerd can get a pretty chick, because if that nerd looks like Guy Pearce, he can get me anytime he wants, so there – but when he is about to propose to her one winter night, she gets fatally shot by a mugger.
Distraught, Alex builds a time machine to go back in time to save her. Alas, it only results in Emma dying in some other accident. If he goes back 1,000 times, he has to see her die 1,000 times.
How touching, I think, ready to sit back to enjoy a movie about a tormented man’s journey to self discovery.
Only, I get something like a bad cartoon. Alex decides to go to the future to find an answer as to why he can’t save Emma by changing the past. I could have told him: it’s of course something to do with destiny, fate, balance, et cetera. Anyway, Alex goes to the 31st millennium (yes, 31st millennium, not 31st century) and learns that after the moon has fallen onto Earth, mankind has evolved into two species. The pretty ones, the Eloi, live in beautiful high cliffs in what seems like a perpetual tropical paradise. The butt-ugly ones, Morlocks, led by a drag-queen-intoxicated-on-chalk lookalike Jeremy Irons (first Dungeons & Dragons, and now this – what is he doing?), live under the ground and eat the Eloi for dinner. The Eloi, despite getting enough Vitamin D and food, just won’t fight back because, well, it’s how life is. Or something.
Alex finds Mara, the only one who can speak English, it seems. But when Mara gets kidnapped by the Morlocks, the people who spoke in gibberish at first suddenly speak English to Alex! Wow. Alex goes on a one-man rampage through the Morlock hideout (a huge cardboard-like skull structure), saves Mara in what seems like ten minutes of sneaking around, he falls for Mara and they live happily ever after. The end.
I still don’t know what to say. Except maybe Guy Pearce is hot, sure, but if he doesn’t get a decent script soon, I’m calling our love affair off.