World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Time Machine (2002 film)

Article Id: WHEBN0003759215
Reproduction Date:

Title: The Time Machine (2002 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Morlock, Time machine.jpg, Simon Wells, Sienna Guillory, The Time Machine
Collection: 2000S Action Films, 2000S Adventure Films, 2000S Science Fiction Films, 2002 Films, Alternate History Films, American Film Remakes, American Films, American Science Fiction Action Films, Apocalyptic Films, Dreamworks Pictures Films, Dystopian Films, English-Language Films, Fictional-Language Films, Film Remakes, Film Scores by Klaus Badelt, Films Based on Works by H. G. Wells, Films Directed by Simon Wells, Films Set in 1899, Films Set in 1903, Films Set in New York City, Films Set in the 2030S, Films Set in the Future, Films Shot in California, Films Shot in Los Angeles, California, Films Shot in New York, Holography in Films, Impact Event Films, Post-Apocalyptic Films, Screenplays by John Logan, The Time MacHine, Time Travel Films, Troy, New York, Warner Bros. Films
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Time Machine (2002 film)

The Time Machine
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by John Logan
Based on
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Wayne Wahrman
Parkes/MacDonald Productions
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
(under Universal Pictures)
(North America)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • March 8, 2002 (2002-03-08)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million[1]
Box office $123.7 million[1]

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, the great-grandson of the original author. The film stars Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy, Sienna Guillory and Phyllida Law, and includes 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 backstory, a new scenario about how civilization was destroyed, and several new characters, such as an artificially intelligent hologram played by Orlando Jones and a Morlock leader played by Jeremy Irons. Director Gore Verbinski was brought in to take over the last 18 days of shooting, as Wells was suffering from "extreme exhaustion". Wells returned for post-production. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup (John M. Elliot, Jr. and Barbara Lorenz) at the 75th Academy Awards, but lost to Frida.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Special effects 3.1
    • Soundtrack 3.2
  • Critical reception 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In the year 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) is a moderately young inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his conservative friend David Philby (Mark Addy), Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the world of business. After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time and save her. When he completes the machine four years later, he travels back to 1899 and prevents her murder, only to see her killed by a horse and buggy.

Alexander goes to 2030 to find out whether Emma's life can be saved. At the New York Public Library, a holographic librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel is impossible, so Alexander continues into the future until 2037, when the accidental destruction of the moon by space colonists renders the Earth virtually uninhabitable. When he restarts the time machine to avoid falling debris, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701, at which point he regains consciousness and stops the machine.

By now, the human race has reverted to a primitive lifestyle. Some survivors, called "Eloi", live on the sides of cliffs of what was once Manhattan. Alexander is nursed back to health by a woman named Mara, one of the few Eloi who speak English. One night, Alexander and Mara's young brother, Kalen, dream of a frightening, jagged-toothed face. The next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters. The creatures are called "Morlocks" and they hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functioning.

After learning from Vox how to find the Morlocks, Alexander enters their underground lair through an opening that resembles the face in his nightmare. He is almost immediately captured and thrown into an area where Mara sits in a cage. There he meets an intelligent, humanoid Morlock, who explains that Morlocks are the evolutionary descendants of the humans who went underground after the Moon broke apart, while the Eloi are evolved from those who remained on the surface. The humanoid Morlocks are a caste of telepaths who rule the monsters that prey on the Eloi.

The 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: saving her would create a temporal paradox. He then reveals that the Morlocks have brought the time machine underground, and tells Alexander to get into it and return home. Alexander gets into the machine but also pulls the Morlock in with him, carrying them into the future as they fight. The Morlock dies by rapidly aging when Alexander pushes him outside of the machine's temporal bubble. 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. Though pursued by the Morlocks, Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as the time distortion explodes, killing the Morlocks and destroying their caves along with the time machine. Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi in 802,701.

While Alexander shows Mara and Kalen a clearing that was once the location of his laboratory, back in 1899, in the same spot, Philby and Alexander's housekeeper, Mrs. Watchit, are in the laboratory and sadly discuss his absence. Philby tells Mrs. Watchit he is glad that Alexander has gone to a place where he can find peace, then tells her that he would like to hire her as a housekeeper, which she accepts until Alexander returns. Mrs. Watchit bids Alexander farewell and Philby leaves, looking toward the laboratory affectionately, then throws his bowler hat away in tribute to Alexander's distaste for conformity.



The film was a co-production of DreamWorks and Warner Bros. in association with Arnold Leibovit Entertainment 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 Morlocksnwere depicted using actors in costumes wearing animatronic masks. For scenes in which they run on all fours faster than humanly possible, Industrial Light & Magic created CGI versions of the creatures.[2]

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 New York City and then into space, past the ISS, and ends with a space plane landing at the moon to reveal earth's future 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.[2]

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).[2]

The warning sirens used during the moon destruction sequence were later used in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for Hurricane Katrina.


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.

In 2002 The Time Machine (soundtrack) won the World Soundtrack Award for Discovery of the Year.

Critical reception

The Time Machine received mixed to negative reviews. Many critics preferred the [3] Victoria Alexander of wrote that "The Time Machine is a loopy love story with good special effects but a storyline that's logically incomprehensible,"[4] noting some "plot holes" having to deal with Hartdegen and his machine's cause-and-effect relationship with the outcome of the future. 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."[5]

Some critics praised the special effects, declaring the film visually impressive and colorful, while others thought the effects were poor. 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."[7]

The film received a 29% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 148 critic reviews.[8]


  1. ^ a b "The Time Machine (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  2. ^ a b c "About Time | Computer Graphics World". 2002-03-03. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  3. ^ Arnold, William (2002-03-07). "Despite excesses, 'The Time Machine' cranks out an imaginative adventure". Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  4. ^ Alexander, Victoria (March 6, 2002). (2002)"The Time Machine". Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2013-11-19.  via
  5. ^ "Entertainment". 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Time Machine Movie Review (2002) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  7. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (March 8, 2002). "'"Past works best for 'The Time Machine.  
  8. ^ "The Time Machine (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.