If you were transfixed by the 1960 George Pal version of HG Wells' time-travelling tale, you'd have every right to be worried by the prospect of a retooled new version. Fortunately, director Wells (yes, the author's great-grandson) obviously loves the old movie too, for there's enough overlap to suggest this is as much a tribute as a remake. Obviously updated effects send Pearce's scientist reeling through the years, the charm of Pal's hand-crafted stop-motion giving way to glassy but undeniably striking digital visualisation as the camera zooms out from 1890s Manhattan to finish in orbit over the lunar colonisation predicted for the mid-21st century. Gladiator writer John Logan creates a nifty lost-love subplot to spark the physicist's initial endeavours, yet the movie comes slightly unstuck by the year 802,701. Mankind has split into benign surface-dwelling Eloi and rapacious subterranean Morlocks, while the plot disappointingly capitulates to CGI monsters and breathless punch-ups. If it puts up more of a struggle than most before it turns stupid, the film would thrill us all the more if Pearce shared some of predecessor Rod Taylor's decent, brawny sense of purpose.
The Time Machine
Cast and crew