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New generation creates lacking adaptation

by Archives March 13, 2002

Based of the novel by H.G Wells, The Time Machine is the story of an inventor (played by Memento, and L.A Confidential’s Guy Pearce) from the late 1800’s who manages to create a time machine.
He travels to different points in time, and eventually ends up 8,000 years in the future where he discovers that the human species has spawned into two breeds: The peaceful simple minded Elois, who dwell above ground, and the hideous, warlike Morlocks, who reside below ground and periodically round up the Eloi for food.
As anyone who is even remotely aware of the original novel (or for that matter 1960 film version), have no doubt noted from the trailers, this is a very loose adaptation.
In the original story the invention was inspired by natural curiosity, however, in this new version Pearce’s character is spurred to create the machine due to the death of his beloved fiancZe. After failing to save her from fate, he decides to venture into the future, hoping that he may discover why he cannot change the past.
One of the coolest things about the original book, was the way that Wells was seemingly able to forsee the future. His book actually manages to predict the first world war, and even the eventual battle of Britain, which transpired in the second world war.
However, in the film version, director Simon Wells, who is actually H.G Wells’s grandson (wonder how he got this job?), decided to make his own predictions. These predictions include moon colonies within the next thirty years, and the eventual destruction of these colonies which would result in an earthly apocalypse.
Another note of controversy is that the Elois (who are supposed to be simple and uneducated) speak perfect English. The Elois are portrayed as too innately intelligent, when they should have instead been portrayed as child-like, but with the capacity to learn.
While I wish Wells had decided to stick closer to the original source material, he actually manages to do a pretty good job with the film. He even makes a reference to both the book and the original film during the futuristic museum sequence.
This film however, does have some serious flaws. The first twenty minutes are wretched, bad enough to make one seriously consider leaving the film. Thankfully, the film picks up once he starts going forward in time.
Also, the film has HUGE lapses of logic, which can sometimes be distracting.
However, if one is willing to overlook these flaws, the film manages to be quite enjoyable. Clearly, for some light entertainment, one could do A LOT worse (like Rollerball).

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