The most recent film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1895 sci-fi classic “The Time Machine” is a mindless rehashing of the original novel.

Paul Wong
Mara asks Alexander to take her back in time to before this movie was made. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

While the book used the tale of time travel and a horrifying future as a cautionary tale about the dangers of industrialization and a parody of class division, director Simon Wells (H.G.’s great-grandson) boils this complex tale down to a cheap action movie, in what will inevitably come to be known as “Planet of the Apes” syndrome, abandoning the intricacies of the story for special effects.

The film stars Guy Pearce as the brilliant, absent minded Alexander Hartdegan, a physicist who, through his correspondence with a “crazy German bookkeeper/patent clerk” named Einstein (get it?), has begun work on a time machine. His fiancee, Emma, was killed by a mugger in Central Park, and Alexander has vowed to travel back in time to save her. After his first attempt to save her fails and she is killed again, he decides to go to the future to find out why he cannot change the past.

After conversing with a hologram named Vox (Orlando Jones) in the New York Public Library in 2030 and witnessing a disaster brought on by over-colonization of the moon a few years later, Alexander is accidentally hurtled over 800,000 years into the future, to a world where the human race has split into two species: the Eloi, an idyllic, brown-skinned, pseudo-Native American people who live on finely crafted cliff-side dwellings and the Morlocks, a vicious subterranean race that hunts the Eloi.

The representations of these people disregard the more subtle, political connotations that the book contains: the childlike, decadent Eloi (the leisure class), and the underground, proletarian Morlocks have been replaced by an appealing and intelligent (if na

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