The Time Machine

After years of never getting around to it, I’ve finally joined the sci fi community and watched a movie adaptation of H.G. Wells The Time Machine.  The movie (2002 adaptation) and the book are so wildly different that I won’t get into comparisons, but instead focus on how successful the movie was as an interesting story in its own right.

First, the music, by Klaus Badelt, which was really lovely.  I wasn’t surprised to find he’s had a hand in some other scores I like, too.  The overall effects were pretty good, though once in awhile the impression of watching something computer generated bled through.  The futuristic world of a space-faring Manhatten was a bit cardboard, but Alex doesn’t stay there long.  The culture of the Eloi is quite a departure from the book, but was well done, and had some rich scenes with good use of creative images.  The Morlocks are nasty looking and suitably impressive in their abilities.  Still, I had to keep my suspension of disbelief carefully intact to avoid wondering how exactly the mechanics of their society worked, such as the sudden opening of pits in the ground which were then closed off with no sign of having existed.  It also seemed a bit far-fetched that they could have evolved so far, while at the same time keeping the precarious balance of their existence intact.  In short, their development seemed entirely to linear, and without any bumps or branches giving it an evolutionary spin.

The film’s climax is reasonably satisfying, though once again, not remotely similar to the book.  One does wonder about those other Morlock colonies out there, and I won’t get into the complexities or potential time paradox of Alex going into the future, seeing what is there, then going into the past to change the future he’s just seen.  I’ll leave that potential puzzle to steadier heads than mine and rate the film as watchable, even enjoyable, so long as you’re not planning to turn in a book report based on what you’ve seen.

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