A 19th century inventor creates a time machine in order to save his
dead fiancé but ends up traveling 800,000 years into the future.
The Time Machine (2002)
Directed by Simon Wells
Written by John Logan
Starring Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy,
Orlando Jones, Sienna Guillory, Jeremy Irons,
Phyllida Law, Omero Mumba
Remake of 1960's The Time Machine
Based on the novel by H.G. Wells
Oscar Nominations - Best Makeup
"Hey, wouldn't it be cool if the great-grandson of H.G. Wells redid The Time Machine?" asked some nitwit producer back in 2001. What a promising gimmick! Unfortunately, that's all the work they put into the film itself: Getting a blood relative director to helm one of the most disappointing films I've ever sat through at the movies. It's an easy story to adapt, so long as you care about the finished product, but it's clear throughout the film that nobody did. It's a rushed prototype that falls completely apart once the Morlocks are introduced, which is where the film should be taking off. Poor Guy Pearce. The guy's a terrific actor, but he keeps getting stuck with the leftovers.
The idea of a scientist building a time machine to save the woman he loves has been done to death, but it started with H.G. Wells's classic novel. The first 25 minutes of this film deals with this, and on the whole it's pretty good, even if they never really explain how or when he built the machine or how it all works. That's fine, we don't always need that. But then Alexander (Pearce) decides to stop saving his true love after one botched attempt and keeps time-jumping into the future to answer a blatantly obvious question: Why can't he change the past? From there, he gets his dumb ass knocked out while time-travelling and ends up 800,000 years into the future where people have gone full Stone Age and are captured and eaten by underground monsters called Morlocks. Basically, it's two unfinished films sewed together Frankenstein-style.
As I said above, I'm fairly certain the entire reason this film was made was to cash in on Simon Wells's famous blood ties. He has zero talent as a director and successfully botches this entire production. Apart from Pearce, the performances are either half-assed or completely unnecessary (What the hell is with Jeremy Irons's Morlock King and why can he read minds!?). There's so much wrong with this film that every scene brings up more questions that the film can't answer. But hey, at least we got Orlando Jones as a sassy hologram. That was worth it, right?