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Viewed at Pacific Place Theaters
Rated PG-13; approximate running time of 96 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Written by: H.G. Wells (novel), David Duncan (earlier screenplay) John Logan (screenplay)
Directed by: Gore Verbinski, Simon Wells (I)
Cast: Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Phyllida Law, Mark Addy,
Sienna Guillory, Orlando Jones, Omero Mumba, Samantha Mumba
WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.
Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), professor of physics living in New York in 1895, has an almost unquenchable thirst for knowledge and anything that resembles a gadget. The typical absent-minded professor, he is constantly late and disheveled because he gets caught up in whatever project he is working on. But not tonight. Tonight he is going to ask the love of his life, Emma (Sienna Guillory), to marry him. No more than 30 seconds after he pops the question, tragedy strikes him and destroys the spirit of Alexander.
Alexander spends the next 4 years building a time machine so he can go back and right the wrong then proceed to live happily ever after. He manages to get the machine built and it works. He goes back in time and finds Emma, only to face tragedy again. Alexander cannot figure out why he can't change the past, so he decides to go the future to try and figure out why he can't change the past. Surely the people of the future will know the answer and help him out.
His first stop is May 24th, 2030 (The Diva's Birthday BTW) he doesn't find the answer there so he sends himself to 2037 and right into the middle of a chaotic world. Still unable to find the answers he decides to go further. By accident, he goes 800,000 years into the future. He meets a primitive people who barely speak English as he knows it and must figure out how to survive in this primitive land where he is considered food and find his answers so he can go back to his beloved Emma.
I've never read the book by H.G. Wells, nor do I recall ever seeing the original silver screen version of Machine. Because of these facts, I cannot with any authority state if this version followed the book or original movie. What I can state is that what I spent 96 minutes watching was a complete and total let down and did not live up to my expectations. Because I love special effects, I can often forgive a movie with bad acting, dialogue, directing, and plot holes if the special effects leave me drooling. Well I drooled, but only because about half way through the movie, all but a few of my IQ points had been sucked right out of me. I think I was almost completely stupid by minute number 80.
With the exception of, Sienna Guillory, the acting wasn't that bad. She had about 5 minutes of screen time total and I swear if I had gotten ahold of a sharp object, I would have put myself out of misery. She was wooden and expressionless. It's no mistake that we all cracked up during the dramatic scene of her second tragedy.
Fault also lies with the screenwriter and his plot. Beyond the obvious holes in it, the scenes and dialog were long when they should have been short and short when they should have been long. Too many important issues were glossed over and we were asked to except too many preposterous situations.
Pearce while not horrible was unimpressive. His lack of emotion was more than annoying. He managed to capture the absent-minded professor quite well and he managed to capture angry because of broken heart and that was it.
As teen pop diva wannabes turned actresses go, Samantha Mumba is one of the better ones. Samantha is not given much to work with her baby brother Omero was in the same boat. She's no, Meryl Streep. This much is evident, but she did well for someone new to the craft. Her performance was stronger than that of Guillory and Guillory has about 10 movies under her belt. Go figure. Jeremy Irons has gone from the brilliance of Reversal of Fortune to Dungeon and Dragons and this mess. I pray that he finds a role that takes him back to the top of his game.
For once Orlando Jones wasn't a complete and total clown. His role is small, but important to the plot.
From my perspective as a black woman, Machine is a little tough to swallow. In this movie there are primitive humans and underground dwelling creatures called Morlocks. And before I get started, I'd like to commend the writer for taking the brave step of allowing black folks and other minorities to not only make it to the future, but to be the only remaining humans. The praise ends there.
We have a case of dueling stereotypes and it's enough to make you want to scream.
In this corner we have the "Magical Negro" (Orlando Jones). His sole purpose is to be the conscious of the main white character. He makes everything all right and spouts out words of wisdom. In this corner we have the Caucasian savior (Guy Pearce). He shows up on the scene and instantly takes charge of the situation. He teaches the poor heathens how to be more human; how to read and take care of themselves; he rallies them to protect themselves. Without him, they will surely perish.
Blech. Hollywood, you are certainly trying, but you need to try harder.
Time isn't worth your precious time. Catch a matinee or wait for cable.
After 30 minutes you'll pray for your own Time Machine so you go back to 5 minutes before you decided to see this movie.
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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2002
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