The Time Machine

Dir: Simon Wells
Starring: Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones

H.G.Wells' story gets a third millennium remake, to no particular point, but no great detriment either. The author's great-grandson moves from animation e.g. Prince of Egypt, to live-action, and there'll be no whirring sounds from the Wells family plot, despite a tragi-romantic subplot added to provide motivation for the hero's research. Guy Pearce makes an excellent, sympathetic hero, though Irons looks like an aged version of Connor McLeod, and rolls out his generic villain. Otherwise, it's the usual canter into a future where the human race has split into (somewhat rubbery-looking) cannibals and cannibalised. Not quite sure the climax makes much sense, with a candidate for cinematic history's most selective weapon of mass destruction - it acts like a neutron bomb, killing all the villains, and leaving the good guys unscathed. Still, the machine looked very cool (I'd love to have one sitting at the back of the living-room!) and, generally, so did the overall look of the film, especially the time-travel sequences. Orlando Jones does a nice turn as the New York Public Library(!), while Mumba is another singer-turned-actress...though is not as bad as you might fear, especially if you've seen Crossroads or Queen of the Damned. Remaking "classics" is always a prospect fraught with potential disaster, but the previous version never made much of an impact on me, so I found this largely competent - if not especially memorable either. Expect another remake in about 2037.


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