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The Time Machine (2002)
The Time Machine (Soundtrack)
The Time Machine (1960 Version on DVD)
The Time Machine (Novel)

The Time Machine Review

Directed By: Simon Wells.
Starring: Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Jeremy Irons, Philip Bosco, Sienna Guillory.

Synopsis: Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) invents a time machine in the late 1800s that takes him 800,000 years into the future. There he discovers that mankind has evolved into two races: the Eloi and the Morlocks. Obviously based on the novel by H.G. Wells. This movie has been delayed several times and is now given the weak slot of March 29. This indicates one of two things (to anyone who cares about this stuff). One, the studios have a solid sleeper on their hand and they don't know how to market it (doubtful) or 2, a real turkey on their hands let's dump it in a quiet slot and hope it performs (more likely).

Alright, so Joe Glickman sent in this review of the film. Joe was an extra in one of the scenes...but you know what? I'll let him tell it to you in his own colourful way. Be careful, lots of SPOILERS ahead and probably something to annoy just a few of you...and make some of you laugh.

By Joe Glickman

Hi, y'all.....If you don't want to know what happens in the film, then stop right here. Otherwise, read on.

For some behind-the-scenes pictures that I wasn't supposed to take, check out this link:

OK, let's see: where to begin? How about somewhere in time? The past, perhaps? Let's go back to about a year ago. Standing in sub-zero temperatures freezing our behinds and every other extremity of ourselves waiting for the whole thing to be over with. Who do I speak of? Those of us who were extras in the Dreamworks' adaptation of "The Time Machine." So many people were dying to have an on-screen appearance in the film that they came out in droves just to audition for it. Ultimately, only about 200 or so were chosen, and by the end of the shoot, the crew was lucky to have 75 of us.

I will start by saying that this movie is definitely worth while to go and see, just for the first half hour, which was shot primarily around the Capital Region, with the exception of a few interiors. If you were an extra, you might be lucky to see yourself somewhere in between the depth of field and fog. I caught myself a few times, most notably in an 8-second wideshot. Damn, they cut out my close-up! Anyway, the movie is visually entertaining. Story sucks. But...Looks good. The opening shot was a real nice composite between a digital skyline of Old New York and an actual shot of downtown State Street in Albany. Very pretty. Ok, let's not dance around the issue. Maybe I'm blasphemous for writing this, but just cause it's shot in glorious upstate New York doesn't make the film good.

Let's start with the beginning: Guy Pearce stars as the main character, a mad scientist who has this crazy idea about building a time machine. He buys some flowers that he promises his girlfriend, played by Sienna Guilroy, and meets her in Central Park (filmed at Albany's Washington Park and Schenectady's Central Park). He walks her around the pond and quickly proposes marriage, giving her a ring. Within minutes they are mugged and his love interest is shot dead. Jump to four years later. Pearce, having dedicated his entire time to his creation in an obsessive, compulsive manner, has succeeded in making time travel possible. The time machine looks kick-ass for having been built last century, by the way. So where does he go? Back four years so that he can meet his girlfriend in the park and take her away to prevent the fatal incident that took her life before from repeating itself. He forgets the flowers and she seems under-dramatically upset by it. So he takes her into a buggy to go into town. FREEZE! Ok, let's explore this here. If he went back to the same day and time that he previously lived, why didn't the filmmakers nor he explore the possibility that he would run into himself - the original him that was at the park that day. He doesn't meet her earlier. It's the same exact time. We know this because both times around, the camera repeats a move on this god damn lucky extra passing ice skates out to the same couple! He had one hell of a close-up, too! OK, Joe calm down.

So here lies a paradox that could've made the movie more interesting. Either they should've had him arrive obviously earlier to meet his soon-to-be fiancée or somehow find a way to preoccupy his younger self, while he went to her rescue. This would've given our area more screen time, but I guess it would've also meant us freezing more body parts off. I know! He should've just went behind the bushes where that stupid robber came out of and kicked his ass! Double-team on him with his other self and whoop royal behind. You'll get a kick out of the mugger, too. He's so non-chalant about ordering them to give him everything. I felt like I was watching Monty Python. I guess Central Park was never safe!

So they go into town and he tells her to go back home and he'll be there shortly. She still wants the flowers. No, what she really wants is to open up the plot to allow for the devastation that is about to bestow us. "OK, wait here. Don't move," he tells her as he leaves her outside while he conveniently runs across the street to buy some flowers. Within seconds, we see her trampled by a horse carriage in the background through the window. Yep, she's dead. Again! FREEZE! Sienna, darling, when Guy told you not to move, he didn't mean to stay there even if it meant you were gonna be trampled in a stampede!!! I could see it now, all over the newspapers: "Woman killed in a Horse and Run!" I feel bad about admitting this, but I laughed when she got trampled. One second you saw her, the next minute she was gone. It was hilarious! We can safely assume that she didn't get to enjoy those stupid flowers...But hey, this is the scene that I'm in. 22 minutes and 41 seconds into it. When he comes out of the flower shop and stumbles into the street, the camera pulls back in a wide shot to reveal her dead body laying on the ground. I'm the one all the way over to the right of the frame, with the woman grasping onto me. Ya know what we were both thinkin'? This tragedy would've never happened if it wasn't so damn cold and windy out!!!!

Guy decides he's had enough and embarks to the future - the year 2030 in New York City, to have a question answered: Why can't we change the past? FREEZE AGAIN! Duh!!!! Maybe if you tried a little harder, Mr. Pearce, you could! I mean, c'mon! He tried only one time to change the course of events! Once! After spending four mad years dedicated to building a time machine so that he could save the love of his life from her untimely death, we're supposed to believe he's going to give up after one try?! And as far as I'm concerned, he didn't try hard enough! Go back a day - a week - a year prior! Keep trying! You'll get it right! Next time, remember the flowers! Bill Murray did a better job in "Groundhog Day!" If I could change one thing about the past, it would be the amount of time I spent in the cold hoping that my face would grace the screen at a movie theater near you before I died of frostbitten pneumonia.

Now, off he goes! Into the future. One thing worth mentioning: The time machine remains stationary as it goes through the years. In other words, it stays in the same place. He built it in his greenhouse, which by the year 2030 does not exist anymore. His invention ends up in an alley way by the time he arrives in the future. Out in the wide open for all to see. This is where the filmmakers' really go too far. We're somehow supposed to believe that while Guy spends ten minutes in the library (conveniently located across the street, yet again) nobody outside bats an eyelash at his peculiar monstrosity?! He not only doesn't try to hide the thing, but he's not even issued a ticket for parking in an illegal zone! That'd be funny! Just to see his reaction! And Jeeze - Louise! It's New York City - without an alarm or THE CLUB, that thing would've been gone! So we're forced to swallow this garbage.

And he's off again! This time he only goes a few years ahead to discover New York in near ruins! The city gets destroyed by the moon. It's our fault. We were trying to colonize the rock and we blew it up and out of orbit! Some police officers try taking him away, but get distracted by the fact that they're about to die. That might distract me, too. He gets away. But this time, something goes wrong and he ends up 800,000 years into the future. This sequence, in particular, was very interesting to watch, seeing that the earth goes through some major changes including another ice age. He arrives unconscious. When he awakes, he's in bed without any clothes on, he peeks under the blanket in shell shock like he just discovered something else...And naturally there's a pretty young woman awaiting around the corner. FREEZE! Does this scene ring a bell Sci-Fi fans? Remember "Back To The Future," when Marty McFly gets hit by a car in 1955 and awakes in his future mother's bedroom with only his underwear on. He peaks under the covers to see that he is without clothes and she keeps calling him Calvin. "Why do you keep calling me Calvin?!," he asks. "That is you're name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over you're underwear," she replies. I was just waiting for that moment, when out of the blue, something more strange arose. She speaks English!

It's not much of a future he's in. Human beings, if that's what you call them, are at the bottom of the food chain. They live in the jungle, dress like cavemen and most talk in another language, except for this girl and a few others. Man, this is one lucky "Guy!" He gets the evil eye from an apparently jealous caveman who doesn't like the fact that he's bunking with her up in her tree house..but that avenue ends up going unexplored. Yet another great opportunity to further plot development - blown! Oh, and he also bumps into this holographic computer system that was around from the year 2030 in the library that he visited. Yep, it survived nearly a million years somehow and can even remember him! I'd like to know what kind of batteries this thing runs on. Anyone?

There's not a heck of a lot character development here, either. You immediately sense that there's going to be a love connection just because that's how goofy the whole thing is. He doesn't spend more than a few minutes with her before she is swallowed into the ground by a bunch of big, angry, ogre-like creatures running around grabbing people like we catch fish. I think they're just mad 'cause they're ugly. You'll see. Anyhow, to make an already long story short....he goes down to the underworld to rescue her. He is captured and is forced to encounter the warlord, played by Jeremy Irons (who you won't recognize) while the girl is jailed before him in a cage. This pale monster of a man can read Guy's mind and knows he's from the past and knows his sorrow and his pain over losing his girlfriend. He tells Guy in no uncertain terms that he's weak because he keeps trying to answer the question "What if?" What if they never got mugged? What if they got married and had kids? Here's one: What if Dreamworks gave me the money to make this movie? Irons lets Pearce go (yah, as if!), but not before they get into a huge fist fight that Pearce wins as they travel further into the future. Both trapped on the machine, with Irons at Pearce's throat, Guy busts a steam valve on the dashboard and aims it at the fiend, ultimately resulting in his demise. When the machine finally stops again in some barren desert wasteland, you think: He can't go anywhere now because it's broke. Think again! He goes back to the underworld and frees Miss Tarzana from her cell. He sets up the time machine for self destruction and then runs with all of the other cave-people. However, it's hard to grasp that they are able to escape with their lives from the atomic blast, when all of the other evil sand creatures that seem to be able to run faster all die. That was pretty smart of him to know ahead of time, pun intended, that his invention was capable of such a catastrophic result. How convenient. That seems to be the theme of the entire film - a lot of convenient circumstances that make it easier for the filmmakers to tell such a stupid adaptation of a classic novel.

Maybe I'm just bitter that they cut out my close-up. My chance at stardom on the cutting room floor. But I can wait for the DVD. So please: Do go to the movie. Enjoy the scenery of Albany, Schenectady and Troy on the big screen. But be prepared to be angry. Angry that the movie lacks any substance, but manages to do so in less than a lousy hour and a half. Angry that Guy doesn't care enough to really try harder to save his girlfriend, but falls for some other future cave chick. Angry that you didn't try to smuggle microwave popcorn into the theater, instead of paying 6 bucks! Is time travel possible? You may hope so by the end of this film. Oh, and when you go to the film, make sure to look at the seat before sitting down. Otherwise, you may end up with gum on your toosh.

SUMMARY: The filmmakers' spent so much time trying to get to the end of the movie that they never tell the in-between. Visually great. Everything else sucks. Rent "Back To The Future," "Quantum Leap," or stand inside a meat locker with spoiling carcasses and take lots of photos so that you can fully appreciate the agony us "extras" suffered through for this sad, pathetic excuse for a film. We have no movie, but we have each other...

CONCLUSION: Guys who direct cartoon characters can't direct real people. That's why he had a nervous breakdown and got canned. Too bad the film didn't receive the same "treatment."

Anybody who has a big problem with my review can do one of three things:

1) Eat it

2) Email me and let me know what you thought of the film - even if you disagree.

3) Read it over and get more pissed

And they all live happily ever after...

Copyright© Written By: Joe Glickman

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Programs
Animated Storyboards
Two Full-Length Commentaries
A Deleted Scene featuring Guy Pearce and Phillip Bosco
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
ENGLISH: DTS Surround [CC]
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Surround
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

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Evil Ash

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