Where would you go? This is the question asked in the new movie “The Time Machine.”
In this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel “The Time Machine,” late 19th century scientist and inventor Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) is given the ultimate reason to answer this question. He builds a time machine in an effort to change the past when his fianc√©e, Emma (Sienna Guillory), is killed by a petty thief in the park. Hartdegen succeeds in going back in time, but finds that he is unable to prevent Emma’s death. He then travels to a point about 30 years into our future and seeks an answer to his question as to why he cannot change the past.
However, when the moon explodes and the Earth is spun out of whack, the plucky time traveler gets knocked unconscious, and ends up 800,000 years into the future. At first glance, the “new” New York has a warm, tranquil setting. He meets the exquisitely appealing Mara (Samantha Mumba) and her tribe of peaceful, low maintenance cliff-dwellers called the Eloi, who lead an existence independent of today’s technology.
In spite of this outwardly peaceful existence, Hartdegen soon discovers that the Eloi’s seemingly simple lives yield dark secrets of great peril, surrender and hopeless fear. Hartdegen’s visit to the distant future becomes dangerous as he sees that humans have evolved into two races: the hunters and the hunted-the hunters being the gruesome mole-like Morlocks, and the Eloi as the sheep.
The Uber-Morlock (Jeremy Irons), the leader of the Morlock tribe, is fascinated with Hartdegen and his machine. The two square off for the film’s final battle between good and evil.
“The Time Machine” centers on Guy Pearce, who plays the lead part of Alexander Hartdegen believably well; if he had not, the film would have been a complete failure. His role as a slightly absent-minded-professor in the beginning of film counteracts the gritty, bold man he becomes in the end. Pearce is an extraordinary actor who chooses projects that push his acting abilities to the limit. I especially enjoyed his performances in last year’s indie success “Momento” and this year’s soon-to-be classic film “The Count of Monte Cristo,” in which his villainous role made him deliciously attractive.
The supporting cast of “The Time Machine” includes Orlando Jones (“The Replacements”) as a hilarious 21st century hologram who (literally) knows it all, and Mark Addy (“The Full Monty”) as Hartdegen’s friend from the 1800s.
It is obvious that this year’s updated version of “The Time Machine” exceeds the then-superior effort of its 1960 original of the same title. The film simply looked amazing. The evolution of the Earth around Hartdegen’s time machine is both chronological and captivating; there were points during the film in which I had to wonder if I was dreaming. I also liked the story’s motivation factor: Hartdegen’s reason for building the time machine as an attempt to find answers that will heal four-years’ worth of painful questions.
You can travel back in time at the Main Street Cinemas on 72-66 Main Street and 73rd Ave. in Kew Garden Hills or Loews Cineplex on 190-02 Horace Harding Blvd. in Fresh Meadows, among other theaters.