This adaptation of the classic sci-fi adventure tale by H.G. Wells, directed by Simon Wells (the great-grandson of the author), stars Guy Pearce as Alex Hartdegen, an absent-minded New York professor preoccupied with what passes for technology at the turn of the 20th century. However, the one thing that can distract him from his calculations is his love for Emma (Sienna Guillory), his bride-to-be. When tragedy strikes and he loses Emma, Alex uses the time-travelling machine that he’s built in secret to change the present by going into the past. When that fails to alter fate, he leaps forward in time, eventually landing 800,000 years in the future, an era where humanity has splintered into two races–the docile Eloi and the ferocious Morlocks. There Alex befriends two of the Eloi (Samantha and Omero Mumba) and attempts to help them resist almost certain death at the hands of the Morlocks.
Like Pearce’s character, this version of the novel is fascinated with technology and uses a daunting array of special effects. The fast-paced film was apparently not made without incident–Wells reportedly had a nervous breakdown during the shoot and was temporarily replaced by director Gore Verbinski (THE MEXICAN) for some scenes. Regardless of production difficulties, THE TIME MACHINE is an engaging spectacle that’s anchored by Pearce and enhanced by the commanding appearance of Jeremy Irons.