This movie’s publicity people should be lined up and shot. After seeing the incredibly cheesy commercials, I expected a real crapfest. Worst movie of the millennium. Even worse than the 60s version directed by George Pal, starring Rod Taylor and Alan Young. At least that movie was good enough to become a cult film, worshipped by legions of creepy sci-fi geeks with sub-standard personal hygiene and plenty of free Friday nights to spend at the theatre.
No, this movie was gonna suck, I could tell. Even with the legacy hype surrounding it—director Simon Wells is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, writer of the original novel The Time Machine—it looked like a sure flop.
But it was fuckin’ awesome. It was done right. This version of The Time Machine did justice to a novel written at the beginning of the twentieth century, using modern technology to create a sci-fi action thriller that people today can appreciate.
From casting to special effects, this movie had its shit together. Guy Pearce in the lead role was perfect. Considering the love story angle (which is just small enough to ignore for those who can’t bear another failed romance), it is a miracle that a pretty boy was not cast in Pearce’s place, to turn the sci-fi flick into a sappy, drama romance. A Ben Affleck-type actor could have killed this movie faster than the plague.
As for effects, the Morlocks (underground creatures straight from the pages of Wells’ novel) had a somewhat Lord of the Rings orcish quality, but they also had a creepy used-to-be-human aspect that made them adequately freaky.
The greatest assets of the movie by far are the travel scenes. They were incredible and surprisingly accurate. Pictures of ecological succession, industrialization and decay are the most impressive, but the overall impression is enough to make you suspend your disbelief of the possibility of time travel for an hour and a half.
Though the ending was a little weak, I didn’t leave the theatre annoyed. I was impressed. It rarely happens, but my stomach did not turn at the idea that a ticket to the movie I had just seen cost me $11.50. It was worth the outrageous cinema costs.
If this movie does not rake in a shitload of cash, I fully blame the publicity people and their hokey previews.