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HTF REVIEW: "The Time Machine" (with screenshots) - REPOST


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#1 of 119 Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:35 AM

Posted Image

The Time Machine






Studio: Dreamworks
Year: 2002
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)




"It's only a machine"


Just this once I wish I was capable of building
a time machine so I can regain the wasted time I
spent watching this film.

Not since Battlefield Earth have I been
so frustrated with a science fiction film than
The Time Machine. The film is an absolute
bore fest that wastes more time than explores it.

Posted Image

Perhaps I am being too critical of this film
not having seen the original 1960 film that was
based upon H.G. Well's novel. While that film is
considered a classic of its time, I can't understand
why the remake would play as badly as it does.

Based on the classic sci-fi novella by H.G. Wells
and directed by Wells' great-grandson Simon Wells
(PRINCE OF EGYPT), THE TIME MACHINE is a simple story
of a man thrown into the future as he attempts to
change the past.

Posted Image

Alexander Hartdegen (Pearce) is a physics professor
and inventor in New York at the turn of the twentieth
century. He is absent-minded sort who is about to
marry his sweetie (Sienna Guillory) when tragedy
intervenes. To redirect the course of history, he
invents a time machine, but learns that you cannot
redirect the course of history.

Posted Image

Though the movie starts out sweetly enough,
it never comes full circle. The initial moments
of watching the time machine is kind of neat --
especially the way we are shown the progression
of time via a spider making a web at the top of
Alex's greenhouse, or the constantly-changing
store window mannequin that appears in the building
across from Alex's house. However, once our hero
is catapulted into the year 2030 and beyond, we
venture into ho-hum territory where the earth has
been overrun by some giant, moronic Morlocks who
seem to be auditioning for the next Lord of
the Rings
installment.


How is the transfer?

As one would expect, DreamWorks has given us
a fantastic transfer that is very crisp and
detailed with exceptionally solid black levels.
The first 30 minutes of the film look like a
beautiful painting with its shots of snowy
streets at the turn of the century. The film
retains a wonderful warm look. Colors are
well balanced -- especially in the skin tones.

Posted Image

For the first few minutes of the film, I had
accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track.
When I realized the DVD had a DTS track, I went
back and re watched the first 10 minutes. Anyone
who says that DTS is no better than DD ought to
listen to both tracks on this DVD. Upon switching
to DTS, I immediately heard a more spacious sound
environment. The smallest sounds of the Dolby
Digital track now become far more distinct with
a greater sense of direction.

For the most part, this is a very active soundtrack
with powerful, well pronounced audio. The sounds
emanating from the rear channels play such an important
part to this film. From the scurrying of students
in a school hallway to the sounds of a bustling city,
the rears never cease to remind us that there is an
entire world happening around us. The rears also
supply a seemingly never-ending barrage of effects
support from the revving up of the time machine to
a Morlock chase through the thick brush.

The LFE channel is also quite active providing
quick, pounding booms of the time machine to
explosions that had my floor shaking.


Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image


Pop in the DVD and you are welcomed by a
short quick collage of high-intensity action
scenes that abruptly end at the Main Menu.
The selections of the menu are laid out like
a time line, with each selection appearing as
you move your remote over each line segment.
As you make each selection, the menu quickly
fast-forwards to a new menu screen.

There are two Commentaries included
on this DVD. The first is by the film's
director Simon Wells and editor Wayne Wahram.
The second commentary is by Producer David
Valdes, production designer Oliver Scholl,
and visual effects supervisor James E. Price.

Posted Image

There's an interesting animated sequence
of "The Hunt" scene set to story boards, sound
effects and music. It took six weeks to put
together this visual presentation that shows
us how the entire hunt sequence was originally
conceptualized. You'll notice the drawings
convey a chase that takes place in an open field.
This came before the idea of adding bamboo brush.
Wild boars were also removed from the original
chase scenes due to budget restrictions. You can
play this entire sequence with or without added
commentary.

An entire area of this DVD is dedicated to
taking us Behind The Scenes of the film.
Let's take a look at this material....

Posted Image

Actor Jeremy Irons (who plays the leader of the
Morlocks) gives us much insight into his character
and the race of creatures he represents in
Creating the Morlocks. Makeup Effects
wizard Stan Winston admits being a huge fan of
the original book and movie since being a kid.
This was a project he was greatly interested in
recreating for the screen. Actors playing these
creatures had their bodies laser scanned, from
which individual casts were built and sculpted.
Puppeteers contributed to the animatronics of
the creature close-ups.
(length: approx. 5.5 minutes)

Posted Image

Building the Time Machine looks at the
development and design of the most amazing prop
in the film. Production Designer Oliver Scholl
envisioned a spherical object that would open
up like a flower before it took off on its journey.
It took 1,000 architectural drawings and well
over a year to complete. It's pretty amazing to
watch a time-lapse of this machine being built,
and the crew rolling the 4,000 lb. machine onto
the sound stage. The creation of a CG time sphere
is also explored as we look at how the visual
elements were added courtesy of the crew at
Digital Domain.
(length: approx. 5.5 minutes)

Posted Image

Visual Effects by Digital Domain gives
us very quick glimpse at many of the visual shots,
mainly of which is how time machine travel was
accomplished from within the greenhouse. We also
look at how the time travel process was conveyed
through the changes within Carriage House, with
the addition of digital cars and boxes. In
another sequence, we quickly see how stunt men
portraying the Morlocks were digitally manipulated
to turn into skeletons. The final showdown with
Jeremy Irons eroding from outside the Time Machine
is also shown to us in various layers.
(length: approx. 4 minutes)

There is a single deleted scene which
looks to be the film's originally intended
opening. Here we see the Professor leading
his students across the snow covered grounds
of the Columbia University, showing them an
experiment on fundamental mechanics. The first
notion of time travel is brought up as Peter
Bosco (who I think is the Dean of the University)
warns the Professor that he should not throw
away his career on the outlandish dreams
he has.
(length: approx. 6.5 minutes)

A very short Stunt Choreography Fight Sequence
gives you an idea at how the film's climatic
showdown was choreographed.
(length: 40 seconds)


The next section of this DVD is dedicated
entirely to Archives which concentrate
more on the designs of the film, the filmmakers
and cast, as well as the promoting the film.
Let's take a look....

Posted Image

Conceptual Design Gallery consists of
many of the film's original conceptual drawings
and designs broken down into the different eras
that the time machine visits. Many of these
designs can be viewed with aided commentary.

There are a total of three trailers to
watch from the early Theatrical Teaser
to the Original Theatrical to the
International Trailer.

This is one of the more elaborate Cast
Filmographies
that I have seen on a DVD,
giving very thorough look at the careers of
the film's principal actors.

Even more impressive is the amount of credit
given to many Filmmakers involved in this
project, as their profiles are broken down in
great detail.

This is probably the most extensive set of
Production Notes I have ever seen included
on a DVD, and it makes for some interesting
reading. It starts off as an overview of the
entire film, basically patting itself on the
back for being able to use modern technology to
create a world that is bigger and better than
George Pal's version. Emphasis is put on the
creation of the Time Machine with its three tons
of aluminum and polycarbonate. There is also
an entire section dedicated to the creation of
the Morlocks from the molds of each of the
actor's body to the suits that weighed about
27 pounds.


Final Thoughts


Anyone hoping on a great film about time
travel is just wasting their time. In Director
Simon Well's attempt of creating a straightforward
and intellectual motion picture, he has ultimately
abandoned credibility. There just aren't enough
ways to describe just how bad this movie is,
and it's a shame that such a credible studio
like DreamWorks had to have their name attached
to it.

Not even worth a rental.

Release Date: July 23, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 119 Jordan_E

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:41 AM

OUCH! That's one blunt review! But the "freak factor" will probably get the best of me and I'll use my 2 for 1 coupon to check it out. It's the car wreck syndrome.
And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

#3 of 119 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:43 AM

Nice review of a bad, bad movie. Too bad the DVD is so good - I'm sure a lot of people will pick it up regardless of the quality of the movie.

Thanks for telling it like it is on this turkey, Ron.
"What we're fighting for, in the end...we're fighting for each other." - Col. Joshua Chamberlain in "Gettysburg"

 


#4 of 119 Doug Schiller

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:46 AM

I was hoping that they would have included the original, uncut, "Moon falling to earth" destruction scene.

But, I guess not.

Doug

#5 of 119 Brenton

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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:05 AM

This film would have been a hundred times better if it had utilized computer effects to bring H. G. Well's novel to life, rather than to create its own story.

It was disappointing to see that the Eloi had been portrayed as the "regular humans", while the Morlocks are monsters. In the novel, both species are anything but human. The physical description of the Eloi in the novel presented them as being small, light-haired people with large heads, large eyes, pointed chins, small mouths, and no characteristics to distinguish male from female. The Eloi are simple, child like creatures with no intelligence, no hopes, no dreams. The film presented the Eloi as having a rich, beautiful, tribal culture. In the novel, the Eloi had no culture! That was the theme of the novel! The Time Traveller found that the seperation of the working class from the upper class had caused the human race to divulge into to inhuman species, neither of which represented the past hopes and aspirations of man! For the film to present the Eloi the way they did flies in the face of the theme of the novel.

As much as I hated to see the film so off from the novel, and as bad as it all sounds, I actually thought the film was enjoyable. As the film version of the novel, or as the remake of the original film, it was terrible. But on its own, the film really came off well. I can't understand why it bores you so, Ron. I didn't find myself bored one bit.

Unlike many people here on the forum, I don't buy every new release, or even the ones I like. I only buy a film that I really expect to watch repeatedly. For this reason, althought I liked this film, I never planned to buy it. However I will probably rent it, and I recommend that you all do too.

#6 of 119 cafink

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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:18 AM

Quote:
I was hoping that they would have included the original, uncut, "Moon falling to earth" destruction scene.

Why was it cut? What was changed?
 

 


#7 of 119 Brian Bunn

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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:57 AM

It is not even worth a rental only to see the beautiful Samantha Mumba? Don't know how much screen time she gets but if I were to rent that may be the reason!Posted Image

#8 of 119 Brenton

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Posted July 08 2002 - 12:13 PM

Quote:
Why was it cut? What was changed?
It's my understanding that a huge chunk of the moon slams into the World Trade Center.

Quote:
It is not even worth a rental only to see the beautiful Samantha Mumba? Don't know how much screen time she gets but if I were to rent that may be the reason!
She has a fairly large role. She plays the Eloi "Mara". If you've read the book or seen the original film, she is the same character as Weena.

#9 of 119 Moe Dickstein

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Posted July 08 2002 - 12:36 PM

this was an atrocious film, the person i was with wanted to leave!

i do however love guy pearce and that got me through it.

I am fascinated to listen to the commentary though and hear about the films production difficulties and the bits that Gore Verbinski directed

THAT alone is worth a rental....

Though i have to say no matter how bad this was i STILL liked it better than the original. the problem with both films is that they fall apart once you leave either the 60s or the 2030s
Yes, these strange things happen all the time - PT Anderson, Magnolia

#10 of 119 Nick P

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Posted July 08 2002 - 01:27 PM

Wow...that's a pretty harsh review Ron.Posted Image I enjoyed the film very much personally although I have not seen the 1960 version nor did I read the book so I can't compare. My only complaint is that the film was way too short. It should have involved more character development and more time travel.

#11 of 119 Jeff Kleist

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Posted July 08 2002 - 01:54 PM

The big problem with this movie was the unnecessary love story, which was handled fairly well, then totally dumped.

Orlando Jones was for once, not annoying, but I'm sure grandpapa is rolling over in his grave seeing what sonny-boy did to his book

How to do a good book adaption: DON'T REWRITE THE FREAKING BOOK!

#12 of 119 Dave H

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Posted July 08 2002 - 01:56 PM

This review does only one thing for me. It makes me want to watch the original again. Posted Image

#13 of 119 Wes

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Posted July 08 2002 - 04:10 PM

Quote:
The big problem with this movie was the unnecessary love story,


What do you think the original H.G. Wells movie was about? I have not seen this new version but from this review it sounds like the same story just done with modern technology.
I have no doubt we will at least rent it, and will buy it for the sound if nothing else once BB sells the previously viewed copies. I have a hard time resisting great sounding DD and DTS movies!

Wes
My Theater Web Site:
www.prosteering.8k.com

#14 of 119 Randy B A

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Posted July 08 2002 - 04:23 PM

I will get if for nothing else to put on the shelve next to the origional and "time after time" I did enjoy the first half of the movie, it just fell apart in the second act. it looked a little to much like the POTA remake.

#15 of 119 Jo_C

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Posted July 08 2002 - 04:24 PM

Wait a second...rated "R"? I thought this was PG-13!

#16 of 119 Steeve Bergeron

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Posted July 08 2002 - 06:01 PM

Quote:
This review does only one thing for me. It makes me want to watch the original again.
That's so true! The original is at least 10 times better.

#17 of 119 Peter Overduin

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Posted July 08 2002 - 06:27 PM

Quote:
The big problem with this movie was the unnecessary love story,


From that perspective, they were just taking after Pearl Harbour, which is unarguably the worst movie of the last 18 months. It was a disgrace, yet still made millions and people, for some unfathomable reason, still liked it. Why condemn Time Machine for trying to do in fiction what PH tried to do in fact?
Peter

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#18 of 119 Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:53 PM

UPDATE

The film is indeed rated PG-13.

That was an oversight on my part. I have
updated the information.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#19 of 119 Todd_B

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Posted July 09 2002 - 02:07 AM

Ron, you just saved me some money!

Posted Image

I was going to pick this up, but after reading Ron's review, the disc has been delegated back to 'rental status'.

Thanks for being so blunt w/your review. It's very much appreciated.


Todd B
Darmok and Jilad, at Tanagra.

#20 of 119 JohnS

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Posted July 09 2002 - 02:09 AM

I will also throw in, and say that this movie was really bad.
It had potential in the first 10 minutes(or so), but when they did the future thing and those stupid creatures...it just ruined it.

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