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The Time Machine.

Promotional poster
Directed by Simon Wells
Gore Verbinski (uncredited)
Produced by Walter F. Parkes
David Valdes
John Logan
Written by David Duncan (earlier screenplay)
John Logan (screenplay)
H. G. Wells (novel)
Starring Guy Pearce
Samantha Mumba
Mark Addy
Sienna Guillory
Phyllida Law
Alan Young
Omero Mumba
Yancey Arias
Orlando Jones
Jeremy Irons
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Editing by Wayne Wahrman
Distributed by DreamWorks
Release date(s) March 8, 2002 (2002-03-08)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million
Gross revenue $123,729,176

The Time Machine is a 2002 American science fiction film loosely adapted from the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, and the 1960 film screenplay by David Duncan. It was executive-produced by Arnold Leibovit and directed by Simon Wells, who is the great-grandson of the original author, and stars Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy, Sienna Guillory, and Phyllida Law with a cameo by Alan Young, who also appeared in the 1960 film adaptation.

The 2002 film is set in New York City instead of London and contains new story elements not present in the original novel, including a romantic back story and several new characters, such as an intelligent hologram played by Orlando Jones and a leader of the Morlocks played by Jeremy Irons.

Director Gore Verbinski was brought in to take over the last 18 days of shooting, as Simon Wells was suffering from "extreme exhaustion". Wells returned for post-production.[1]

In 2009, work is underway on a sequel to The Time Machine to be titled The Time Machine Returns (or possibly Time Machine II).[2] It is being produced by Arnold Leibovit.



In the year 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen (Pearce) is a young inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his conservative friend David Philby (Addy), Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the conformist world of business, in which all men wear "identical bowler hats". After his sweetheart Emma (Guillory) is killed by a robber, he devotes himself to building a time machine in order to save her. When the machine is completed four years later, he travels back to 1899 and prevents her death by the robber, but now she is killed by a horse and carriage.

Seeing that one means of Emma's death has been replaced by another, Alexander goes to the year 2030 to find out whether her life can be saved. At the New York Public Library, a holographic AI librarian called Vox 114 (Jones) insists that time travel is impossible, so Alexander continues into the future until 2037, where detonations on the Moon are destroying Earth. When he restarts the machine to avoid falling debris, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701 before waking up.

At this point in time, human civilization has reverted to a primitive lifestyle. The survivors, called "Eloi", live on the sides of cliffs on what remains of Manhattan. Alexander stops the time machine and is nursed back to health by a woman named Mara (Samantha Mumba), one of the few Eloi who speak English. One night, Alexander and Mara's young brother Kalen (Omero Mumba) dream of a frightening, jagged-toothed face, and the next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters called "Morlocks" that hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functioning.

After Vox tells Alexander how to find the Morlocks, he enters their underground realm through an opening that resembles the face in his nightmare, but he is captured and thrown into an area where Mara sits in a cage. There he meets an intelligent, humanoid Über-Morlock (Irons), who explains that Morlocks are the evolutionary descendants of the humans who stayed underground after the Moon broke apart, while Eloi are evolved from those who remained on the surface. Über-Morlocks are a caste of telepaths who rule the monsters that prey on Eloi.

Meanwhile, the Morlocks have brought the time machine underground. After the Über-Morlock explains that Alexander cannot alter Emma's fate because her death is what drove him to build the time machine in the first place, Alexander gets into the machine to return home. However, he suddenly pulls the Über-Morlock into the machine, which carries them into the future as they fight. The Über-Morlock dies by rapidly aging when Alexander pushes him outside of the machine's sphere of influence. Alexander then stops in the year 635,427,810, revealing a harsh, rust-colored sky over a wasteland of Morlock caves.

Finally accepting that he cannot save Emma, Alexander travels back to rescue Mara. After freeing her, he starts the time machine and jams its gears, creating a violent distortion in time. Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as a huge explosion destroys the Morlocks and their caves. With the time machine gone, Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi. The film ends with two scenes in the same location displayed in parallel: While Alexander shows Mara and Kalen a field that was once his home, Philby and Alexander's housekeeper sadly discuss his absence and Philby throws away his own bowler hat.


  • Guy Pearce as Dr. Alexander Hartdegen, associate professor of applied mechanics & engineering at Columbia University. He is cared for by his housekeeper Mrs. Watchit (Law) and lends a helping hand to the young patent clerk Mr. Einstein.
  • Samantha Mumba as Mara, a young Eloi woman who speaks English and nurses Alexander back to health
  • Mark Addy as David Philby, Alexander's good friend and conservative colleague
  • Sienna Guillory as Emma, Alexander's sweetheart in 1899
  • Phyllida Law as Mrs. Watchit, Alexander's housekeeper in New York
  • Alan Young as Flower store worker
  • Omero Mumba (Samantha's younger brother) as Kalen, Mara's young brother
  • Yancey Arias as Toren
  • Orlando Jones as Vox 114, a holographic artificial-intelligence librarian at the New York City public library in the year 2030 and afterward
  • Jeremy Irons as Über-Morlock, a member of the telepathic ruling class of the Morlock world
  • Laura Kirk as Flower seller
  • Josh Stamberg as Motorist
  • John W. Momrow as Fifth Avenue carriage driver
  • Max Baker as Robber who kills Emma
  • Jeffrey M. Meyer as Central Park carriage driver
  • Myndy Crist as Jogger
  • Connie Ray as Teacher
  • Lennie Loftin, Thomas Corey Robinson as Soldiers


The film was a co-production of DreamWorks and Warner Bros. (the latter of which owned the rights to the original film) in association with Arnold Leibovit Entertainment[3] who obtained the rights to the George Pal original Time Machine 1960 and collectively negotiated the deal that made it possible for both Warner Brothers and Dreamworks to make the film.


Special effects

The Morlocks (in the story, semi-humanoid creatures that dwell in the future) were depicted using actors in costumes wearing animatronic masks. For scenes in which they run on all fours faster than humanly possible, Industrial Light and Magic created CGI versions of the creatures.[4]

Many of the time traveling scenes were entirely computer generated, including a 33-second shot in the workshop where the time machine is located. The camera pulls out, traveling through a city and then into space and past the moon to reveal earth's lunar colonies. Plants and buildings are shown springing up and then being replaced by new growth in a constant cycle. In later shots, the effects team used an erosion algorithm to digitally simulate the Earth's landscape changing through the centuries.[4]

For some of the lighting effects used for the digital time bubble around the time machine, ILM developed an extended-range color format, which they named rgbe (red, green blue, and an exponent channel) (See Paul E. Debevec and Jitendra Malik, "Recovering High Dynamic Range Radiance Maps from Photographs, Siggraph Proceedings, 1997).[4]


A full score was written by Klaus Badelt, with the recognizable theme being the track "I don't belong here", which was later used in the 2008 Discovery Channel Mini series "When We Left Earth".[citation needed]

Deleted scenes

  • A scene was removed from the opening of the film, showing a practical experiment by Alexander Hartdegen explaining thermals; the scene led to a brief conversation between Hartdegen and the Dean of Columbia University. Evidence of the removed scene can be seen in cast members looking directly at the camera (originally intended to represent the point of view of the Dean) and a collection of coats left in Hartdegen's classroom.
  • A scene that was scripted, but abandoned as it was considered inappropriate in light of the then recent events of September 11, 2001, was to have shown sections of the shattered moon crashing into the futuristic skyscrapers of 2037 New York City. This led to a 3 month delay of the film's theatrical release.
  • The scenes of college life and of Hartdegen as a professor, which were cut from the film, were shot at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Alternate sequences

A selection of scenes and sequences are shown in the trailers to have notable differences from those seen in the final film. These include:

  • An alternate cloud pattern and fewer futuristic skyscrapers in the establishing pan sequence of the 2030 New York Public Library.
  • Alternate identification and menu graphics appear on the transparent display screens of the Vox hologram system within the library.
  • A possible 'alternate future' depicts Hartdegen and the time machine, standing on a sunny hillside before a small futuristic settlement, set by a lake with sail-vehicles, within the changed leafy landscape of what was once New York.

Critical reception

The film received a 28% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 144 critic reviews[5]. Many critics preferred the earlier film and the original novel, implying that the story lacked the heart of its previous conceptions. William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who was somewhat positive about the film, writes that it lacks some of the simplicity and charm of the 1960 George Pál film by adding characters such as Jeremy Iron's "uber-morlock". However, he praised actor Guy Pearce's "more eccentric" time traveler and his transition from an awkward intellectual to a man of action.[6] Victoria Alexander of wrote that "The Time Machine is a loopy love story with good special effects but a storyline that's logically incomprehensible," [7] noting some "plot holes" having to deal with Hartdegen and his machine's cause-and-effect relationship with the outcome of the future. Other critics claimed that the film had (or had the potential for) an interesting, valuable social commentary, and preferred the revised version of the story presented in the new film. In a slightly more negative light, Jay Carr of the Boston Globe writes: "The truth is that Wells wasn't that penetrating a writer when it came to probing character or the human heart. His speculations and gimmicks were what propelled his books. The film, given the chance to deepen its source, instead falls back on its gadgets".[citation needed] Another view is that the film makes the mistake of Americanizing Dr. Hartdegen. Contrary to Wells' novel, the beginning of the film takes place in the United States rather than Great Britain.

Some critics praised the special effects, declaring the film visually impressive and colorful, while others thought the effects were poor. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times found the Morlock animation cartoonish and unrealistic, due to their manner of leaping and running.[8] However, Ebert notes the contrast in terms of the social/racial representation of the attractive Eloi between the two films... between the "dusky sun people" of this version and the Nordic race in the George Pal film. Aside from its vision of the future, the film's recreation of New York at the turn of the century won it some praise. Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle writes "The far future may be awesome to consider, but from period detail to matters of the heart, this film is most transporting when it stays put in the past."[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Barbara Robertson, About Time: Digital Domain and ILM developed new technologies to create effects for the movie The Time Machine, Computer Graphics World, March 2002, Volume 25 Number 3, pages 24-25
  5. ^,"[1]"
  6. ^, "[2]"
  7. ^,"[3]"
  8. ^,"[4]"

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

For other uses, see The Time Machine (disambiguation).

The Time Machine is a 2002 film about an inventor from Victorian England who travels far into the future to prove that time travel is possible.

Directed by Simon Wells, great-grandson of H. G. Wells. Screenplay by David Duncan and John Logan; Based on the novel by H. G. Wells.
The greatest adventure through all time! Taglines


Alexander Hartdegen

  • I could come back a thousand times... and see her die a thousand ways.
  • You were right, Phillby. We did go too far.
  • You're forgetting one thing. What if?


  • Come a little closer, I don't bite.
  • We all have our time machines, don't we? Those that take us back... are memories. Those that carry us forward... are dreams.
  • You built your time machine because of Emma's death. If she had lived, it would never have existed, so how could you use your time machine to go back and save her? You are the inescapable result of your tragedy, just as I am the escapable result of you.
  • You think I don't know you, Alexander? I can look inside your memories. Your nightmares, your dreams. You're a man haunted by those two terrible words, "What if?".
  • Who are you, to question 800,000 years... of evolution?


  • Vox: Do you know what it's like to remember everything?
  • Teacher: If you do that again, I will re-sequence your DNA.
  • Phillby: I'm glad he's gone. Maybe he's finally found a place where he can be happy.
  • Mrs. Watchit: (last lines of film) Godspeed my fine lad, Godspeed.


Phillby: A professor from Columbia University should not be corresponding with a crazy German book keeper.
Hartdegen: He's a patent clerk, not a book keeper, and I think Mister Einstein needs all the support I can give him.

Phillby: [looking at a futuristic picture] I wonder if we'll ever go too far.
Hartdegen: With what?
Phillby: [pointing at the picture] With this. With all of this.
Hartdegen: No such thing.

Phillby: Nothing can change what happened.
Hartdegen: No, you're wrong. Because I will change it.

Jogger: Hey.
Hartdegen: Hello.
Jogger: Nice suit. Very retro.
Hartdegen: Thank you.
Jogger: Bet that makes a hell of a cappuccino. That thing.

Vox: [an image of himself appears] How may I help you?
[Alexander Hartdegen looks behind Vox]
Vox: Over here.

Hartdegen: My question is why can't one change the past
Vox: Because one cannot travel into the past.

Hartdegen: How did this happen?
Soldier #1: The moon. Come on, move it.
Hartdegen: That's impossible. What happened?
Soldier #1: What, you been living under a rock?
Hartdegen: Yes, I've been living under a rock! Now tell me...
Soldier #1: The demolitions for the lunar colony screwed up the orbit, okay? The moon's breaking up, all right? Now, come on.

Hartdegen: This is a perversion of every natural law!
Uber-Morlock: [grabs him by the throat] And what is time travel... but your pathetic attempt to control the world around you?!

Vox:(darkly) So, Relic, you want to open Pandora's box, do you? See all the mysteries exposed?
Alexander: Yes.
Vox: And if the truth is so horrible that it will haunt your dreams for all time?
Alexander: I'm used to that.


  • 0 to 800,000 in 1.2 seconds.
  • Where would you go?
  • The future awaits
  • Jump start the future
  • Be careful what you wish for
  • The greatest adventure through all time!
  • He was searching for answers to his past. He became a hero for the future.

Main cast

External links



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