The Time Machine (1978)

Article 2217 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-11-2007
Posting Date: 9-7-2007
Directed by Henning Schellerup
Featuring John Beck, Priscilla Barnes, Andrew Duggan

A scientist at a weapons lab spends his time working on a time machine. When he believes that a project for an anti-matter bomb will prove fatal to mankind, he goes into the future to find proof that will help him to prevent the weapon’s development.

The source that listed this movie claims that this movie, though based off of the H.G. Wells novel, has nothing to do with the story. That is not true; about half of the movie follows the events in the novel, what with the main character going into the future and meeting the Eloi and the Morlocks. The movie adds a lot of extra stuff, including some rather silly trips to the past (the time traveler almost gets burned as a witch; he gets jailed in western times and escapes when the Younger brothers rob the bank), and it slops some anti-war messages into the mix (the Eloi and the Morlock come about due to the explosion of an anti-matter bomb the traveler was assigned to work on in his own time). Granted, the George Pal version did a bit of that as well, but it did with more wit and finesse; here, it’s thuddingly obvious and utterly predictable. A weak script, cliched dialogue, and unimaginative direction all sink this one; if it did anything, it really made me appreciate more the good job Pal did with his version. In particular, I like the way the Eloi were portrayed in the Pal version; they really felt like an alien culture and a race apart, while here they’re just ordinary humans in togas and blonde hair. I’ll give the movie some credit in coming up with a fairly cool-looking time machine, but even at that, it’s not as cool as the one in Pal’s version. Still, it does feature a few familiar faces such as Andrew Duggan and Whit Bissell.


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