22 October 2003 | Theo Robertson
Pretty Good Remake
I was interested in seeing this remake simply to find out if it was as bad as a myriad of critics have suggested it to be . I did love the 1960 version and I am not keen on people remaking my favourite movies , but surely last year`s remake of HG Wells romantic fantasy wasn`t going to be as bad as painted was it ?
Herbert George Wells wrote the source novel so why not call the hero Herbert or George ? It`s also a Victorian sounding name so why`s the hero got a name that resembles Steve Martin`s character in THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS ? This screenplay just like David Duncan`s from the 1960 version lacks an opening hook but it does speculate that even if time travel did exist it would be impossible to change ones destiny , an interesting thought . Screenwriter
John Logan adds a post modernist sequence featuring both HG Wells and STAR TREK . I didn`t think the humour worked very well but I had to admire his cheek , and since everyone cycles everywhere Logan suggests that in the mid 21st century America has elected a president from the green party which no doubt caused civilisation to collapse . Like most other movies set in the far flung future there are illogical gaps in the screenplay . For example remnants of the present day would still exist . Put it like this : The pyramids of Egypt are a few thousand years old and at the present rate of degeneration they won`t exist in a few thousand years but Alexander goes 798,000 years into the future and the skeletal remains of 21st century New York still remain ! , but as I said this is a common flaw in time travel stories as is the ridiculous notion that hundreds of thousands of years into the future people will still be able to understand and speak English , so this can be forgiven on the grounds of dramatic license . My only real criticism of the screenplay is that John Logan borrows a bit too much from Duncan`s earlier screenplay , otherwise this is a fairly good adaptation on Wells groundbreaking novel . Adding the ubermorlock is an inspired idea that works very well
I`m in two minds who to credit / criticise as director . As you may know Simon Wells left the project days before the project was completed and was replaced by Gore Verbinski so for the purposes of this review I`ll refer to the director simply as " The director " , and the director does manage one show stopping moment as the camera pans out from Alexander at the end of the 19th century across an ever evolving landscape eventually stopping on a lunar colony . The most controversial aspect of the film seems to be the casting or more especially the casting of dark skinned actors as the eloi , but I fail to see what the problem is . The eloi live on the surface in bright sunlight so why shouldn`t they be dark skinned ? It`s also in keeping with the social darwinism of Wells novel . The eloi have evolved due to environment the same way as the ubermorlock has evolved , and social darwinism is totally amoral so there`s no right or wrong , or good and bad involved . I do wish people would stop playing the race card . As for the ordinary morlocks they`re superbly designed with some great make up involved but the director throws a massive spanner in the works by having them running a hundred miles an hour and being able to jump great heights which suddenly makes them unconvincing which is a great pity , they would have worked better as men dressed up rather than CGI supermen . I did like Jeremy Irons as the scene stealing ubermorlock though . A word of warning for those of you who suffer from photo sensitivity , sadly once again this is a movie that heavily features strobe lighting . I`m not epileptic which is just as well because I wouldn`t want to risk a seizure watching THE TIME MACHINE . Sadly there seems to be more and more films being produced with this technique in style used and sadly I`ve had to keep saying - Stop using strobe lighting in movies . It`s totally irresponsible for directors to do this .
To sum up the 2002 remake of THE TIME MACHINE was light years away from the debacle I`d been led to expect . It`s fairly good in its own right but not as good as George Pal`s 1960 version , maybe because it lacks the charm of the former , a charm that movie had in abundance , but this version is still pretty good as remakes go