The Time Machine (2002)
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Simon Wells & Wayne Wahrman
Audio Commentary-David Valdes, Jamie Price & Oliver Scholl
Featurette-Creating The Morlocks
Featurette-Building The Time Machine
Featurette-"Hunt" Sequence Animatic
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (36:48)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Simon Wells|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This new version has been Americanised, and now starts in New York with Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) brimming with love and affection for his about-to-be fiancée Emma. In a tragic turn of events, Alex ends up losing the love of his life. He retreats into himself, setting about building a machine in which he can travel back in time and save her. Unfortunately for Alex, he finds that no matter what he tries, Emma still meets her maker, while he is left to watch her demise. In an effort to attempt to understand why he cannot save his love, Alex decides to head into the future. At first he lands in an Earth brimming with people and confidence as they prepare to colonise the moon. The people of 2035 still believe that time travel is a fantasy, so Alex heads off again, still searching for his answers, but very soon there is a problem, and Alex is knocked unconscious as his time-machine races forward. By the time he can stop it, the year is 802701 - and every thing has changed. The human race has divided in two - and now the peaceful and beautiful (and rather simple-minded) Eloi struggle for survival from the dark Morlocks.
This film version differs quite markedly from both the book and the 1960 film adaptation, although it is closer to the latter than the former. Even ignoring any issues regarding the adaptation - a film, and especially a remake, can never be the same as the source material - this film still goes wrong in many ways. Perhaps the biggest problem is that, despite the mainstream action movie base, it starts off in a dark place that never really lets it recover. When the lead character has the death of his fiancée as his motivations for eccentric adventures, it does not make for an enjoyable start to a movie, and when this dark beginning is just thrown away to turn action movie happy-go-lucky by the end, the clash seems even stranger. As well as the troubled beginning, the finale to the film is sub-par. This story moves at break-neck speed, so much so that by the time the final confrontation with the Morlocks plays out, it only just seems to be getting going - and then it is all over. While many movies seem to be overly long, this is one that is actually too short - it really needed a better thought out and more satisfying conclusion.
Another problem with the break-neck speed, is that you better like Guy Pearce's Alex Hartdegen, as all the other characters only appear for a short period of time. Mark Addy as Alex's friend David Philby is largely done with by the 20-minute mark, while Samantha Mumba's Mara doesn't even appear until almost 40 minutes in, and even then is not present for all of the remainder of the film. This means that the only character on which the audience can rely is Alex, and he is not a particularly likeable character - there is nothing wrong with Pearce's performance, it is just an unsympathetic character.
In the end, The Time Machine is aided by repeat viewings - when the terrible shortcomings of the plot, and the strange, almost single-character nature of the film are already known, it is much easier to just enjoy the film for what it is at its heart - formula Hollywood action.
Presented at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
This transfer is extremely sharp, in fact it is almost to the point of being too sharp. There are many scenes, especially early on in the school, that lose some of their overall detail through the presence of so much fine detail. There is no visible grain at all during the transfer and shadow detail is as good as the sharpness, displaying every little nuance of the darker scenes that were captured on the film. There is no low-level noise present.
Colours are excellent, and show a nice transition from the late 1800s, at the start of the film, where only Alex's love shows up in a contrast to the drab greys and browns, to the far future, where the plains and forests are rendered in all their lush beauty.
There are no compression artefacts in the transfer at all, and film artefacts are limited to a few small spots, such as at 74:00 (although the infrequent nature of the film-artefacts means that the few that do appear are a little more distracting). The only real problem with this transfer is - as could be expected from such a sharp transfer - aliasing. While it is not constantly present, there are a very large number of instances, and some quite severe, such as on the wind-mill at 48:51-54.
The subtitles, while not word-for-word accurate, miss very few words, are well paced, and easy to read.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 36:48 during chapter 13. It is reasonable well placed, occurring on a static screen, although the drop-out in audio still highlights it. It is somewhat annoying that a complete fade-to-black with no audio, occurs just two minutes prior to the layer change, and would have been an even better place for it.
There are five audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue, and dubs in French and Italian all in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 kbps), as well as two audio commentary tracks, both in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (192 kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There is, however, a problem at 12:35 where the track appears to "skip" and a single word spoken by Guy Pearce seems shortened. The problem only occurs the once, but it is quite obvious.
Audio sync is not a problem and is spot-on throughout the movie.
The score is supplied by Klaus Badelt and runs through a number of influences, including African for the scenes with the Eloi, and is very good. In fact, the score is probably the most outstanding feature of this film, and while that does not say much for the film itself, it does indicate the quality of the score.
The surround channels are, for the most part, used extremely aggressively to carry the score, ambient effects, and the many, many directional effects used during the action sequences. I say "for the most part", as the early scenes in the school and Alexander's laboratory are very frontal in nature, but once the action moves away from these locales, the ambient effects are more evenly spread, creating an incredibly believable soundtrack.
The subwoofer is given an extreme workout by this soundtrack. There are many occasions where it receives a long and extended use as well as the faster punches. It also does quite a bit of work backing up the score. All round, quite an impressive soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is excellent. There are a few instances of severe aliasing, but aside from those there are no issues.
The audio quality is even better than the video. The only down-side is the slightly frontal nature of the soundtrack during the first 20-odd minutes - aside from that this is very much a home theatre audio demonstration disc.
The extras are extensive and quite interesting, they just seem to lack any real depth.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|