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The Time Machine

Starring: Guy Pearce, Sienna Guillory, Samatha Mumba, Orlando Jones, Jeremy Irons, Mark Addy and Phillida Law.
Directed By:Gore Verbinski and Simon Wells
Rated: PG-13

A time machine? Talented Mr. Guy Pearce? I'm there! They have all these special effects available…there are endless possibilities to the fantasy.

Or they could just wimp out and give the audience about four minutes of really cool shots of the time travel machine spinning with glowing lights with a quick peek at the world of the future only to halt the whole damn story at what appeared to be the set of Universal Studios Orlando ride The Lost Continent and combine that with overdramatic tedious "jungle" music in THX so loud it shakes one's brain matter! Yeah lets go that route. The audience won't notice!

In hindsight I bet the producers of this stinky mess wish they had a friggin time machine to go back and destroy this awful, silly, pathetic script.

You think I'm being too harsh? Perhaps, you think Guy Pearce that cutie from L.A. Confidential, and star of that brilliant Memento, is as infalable at picking winning scripts as he is adorable? I must be a nut? Yeah, I'm nuts- but for thinking they could actually make a time machine film worth watching and being excited to see this phenomenally bad execution of a film. I want my money back!

Actually there was a good H.G. Wells "The Time Machine" adaptation back in the '70's with Malcolm McDowell. McDowell played Wells as the inventor who used his machine to hunt Jack the Ripper through time called Time After Time. Great concept well acted and just a fun fantastical slice of science fiction.

But, back to this piece of crap...

The story - should you still feel the need for me to actually call it that - starts in 1899 as the first automobile is still being heckled by the horse and buggy lot and Einstein's still considered a kook.

Doctor Hartdegen (Guy Pearce looking perpetually dumbfounded) is a bit of a rebel in his New York University. He's untidy and appears constantly frazzled. He's also in love.

Doctor Hardongardens's love interest is the lovely Emma (Sienna Guillory). In fact tonight he is going to propose to her.

He meets her in the park and swifts her off for a walk in the woods to pop the timeless question. They are robbed and she is promptly killed.

The heartbroken doctor is devastated and develops a time machine to travel back and snatch her for Death's clutch.

So far so good.

He gets back as planned (we get no explanation- but we are still with him so far). He meets Emma right before "he" shows up and makes her leave the park altogether…

She is killed again in a scene that sadly made more than a few of us laugh out loud.
Now, the professor feels he must find the answer as to why he cannot save his love. Um, he can figure out time travel but cant figure out why he can't travel back and save her???? Am I the only one who immediately knew what his answer was?Actually it's a great riddle…if it were not so obvious.

So he bursts into the future and we all head off in hopes of a wonderful peek, via effects and cast, into the future.

We get a cool New York 2030, that's way too Jetson's for it's being so close to our time. Too many space age technologies that need a tad more time to be discovered…like colonies thriving on the moon for example…in less than twenty years? We are starting to squirm. Dr. Hartdegen runs into the fifth street library only to meet a sarcastic hologram like fellow named Vox (Orlando Jones) who is there as a guide to all knowledge.

The doctor asks about time travel and the mocking projection of a librarian shows him H.G. Well's' fictional take "The Time Machine." Hardy har har.

Learning nothing for his question he pops back onto the machine and jumps forward a wee bit.

It's 2037 and again the same place in New York. But presently it's in the midst of Armageddon…he escapes quickly this time into the brave new world.

Yech. It's not space age, new age or even middle age; it's Cro-Magnons with fancy clothes. He meets tribesman of the future. 80,0000 years into the future. Naturally one of them is fluent in "stone" language or layman's terms English.

See some of the tribes' folk have studied the remnants of the city before them …"stone" signs like Tiffany&Co and East Side Subway managed to survive. They remain in fragments and these simple folk managed to learn the entire English language from these pieces. Yet they chose to speak in some odd "jungle" tongue.

So, guess who's also there? Vox the condescending hologram-like thing the fine Dr. ran into in 2030! Wow, imagine that? Armageddon, ice ages, and a new dawning of time and this electronic device is intact and fully functioning! PLEASE! Even those who want to believe in time travel so much they shell out the ten bucks to have their imagination stroked can't fathom this erroneous bit of bad subplot!

Now these semi-dumb people are being tormented by bad Luau masks, er, subterranean dwellers lead by the evil Uber-Morlock (Jeremy - must have kids in college and needed some tuition funds - Irons). He finally answers dear Dr. Hartsafarten's question...SNORE!

But who's nitpicking? ME!

Look even the precious edible Guy Pearce with his petite stone chiseled body wrapped in nothing but flimsy gauze kept this viewer interested. Sure, he's super swell on the retina in Klondike bar that's melting down your arm and needs to be delicately licked up kind of way but even Mr. Australian Import No. 23 can't get away with serving up this crap!

This is so bad I cannot even recommend it for a cold blizzard night when the local video store is out of everything else. You'd be better off reading a comic book based on "The Time Machine" in that case; it would be way more enjoyable! And shame on you Guy Pearce and Jeremy Irons for appearing, and luring us to this celluloid de Poo too.

Snack Recommendation: Dinner and another movie!

 

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