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The time machine

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

0 to 800,000 years in 1.2 seconds.

New York city, 1895.

Professor Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) at Columbia University has come up with a fantastic invention - a time machine capable of transporting one person back into the past or ahead into the future. Laughed at the notion by his peers, he heads off on a journey into the future to see how things change over the course of several decades but soon ends up in the year 802,701 - a time when the world has become seemingly tranquil whilst mankind has evolved into two different races: the beautiful Eloi and the Morlocks, a race of ugly mutant creatures who come up from under the ground at night to snatch Eloi and take them down to their caves.

Persons of interest

  • Guy Pearce .... Professor Alexander Hartdegen
  • Samantha Mumba .... Mara
  • Jeremy Irons .... The Uber-Morlock
  • Philip Bosco .... Dean Fulton
  • Phyllida Law .... Mrs Watchett
  • Orlando Jones .... Vox
  • Mark Addy .... Doctor Philby
  • Yancey Arias .... Toren
  • Josh Stamberg .... JP Fitzroy
  • Sienna Guillory .... Emma
  • Omero Mumba .... Kalen
  • Diana Lee Inosanto .... Eloi woman
  • HG Wells .... Novellist
  • John Logan .... Screenwriter
  • Simon Wells .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Erm, this is a good update on George Pal's version made, like me, in the 60s, but I cannot help but wonder why it should be set in New York rather than the original London. Apart from the ever-present question of Yanks not being able to appreciate any story not involving themselves (and Hollywood being ever so subservient to American values) I can find no reason. That makes me (more) cynical and prone to dislike The time machine on principle.

All in all, however, it's still a good action flick with lots of running around, killing, tight squeezes and the like. The Morlocks are direct descendants of the Predator, with a bit of a twist in the presence of the Uber-Morlock. He exists so that their culture contains someone with a brain. The original Morlocks couldn't have kept themselves running let alone a culture, and it's nice to see that someone thought about genetics, making the descendants of a melting pot like New York have brown skin, etc., a sorely missed colour in white & black Hollywood.

That said, this movie is remarkable resonant with the recent remake of Planet of the apes. It's something of the look, the styling, the effects and the Hollywood grittiness all combined that makes it so. This is not a bad thing, just a comment on the way that it's suddenly easy to pick a film made in the 21st century as opposed to the 20th.

If you like a bit of science fiction action, The time machine will do you nicely until the real thing comes along (see Star wars).

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Animatic: the hunt sequence
    • Commentaries:
      • Simon Wells, Wayne Wahrman
      • David Valdez, Jamie Price, Oliver Scholl
    • Deleted scene: Dean Fulton
    • Documentaries:
      • Building the time machine
      • Creating the Morlocks
      • Stunt choreography (Uber fight)
      • Visual effects "How to" by Digital Domain
    • Gallery: Productio design
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, supernatural themes)

Surveillance time

101 minutes (1:41 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 4 April 2002
DVD rental: 23 October 2002
VHS rental: 23 October 2002
DVD retail: 23 October 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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