The Time Machine

  • PG
  • Simon Wells, Gore Verbinski (2002)
  • US
  • 91 min
The Time Machine
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

People of a certain age will always have a soft spot for director George Pal's 1960 adaptation of HG Wells's The Time Machine. It remains an innovative sci-fi staple and, fittingly, a time capsule of imaginative rather than effects-laden film-making. What will this dull, philosophically fudged and digitally dependent remake say about the early 21st-century when seen in the future? Chiefly, that we can't tell a tried and tested yarn - Victorian inventor travels 800,000 years forward in time and finds that a post-apocalyptic civilisation has divided into a two-tier caste system - without recourse to standard action-movie heroics. A hollow-cheeked Guy Pearce tries hard to inhabit the character of the driven Professor Hartdegen, but the minute he arrives in the future he strips to the waist and shows off his far from professorial pecs to pop singer Samantha Mumba - whose Dublin accent might have been reined in by a more experienced director than Simon Wells. Also, as the great-grandson of the esteemed author, Wells might have had more nous than to include the postmodern comic interlude in a future library where holographic archivist Orlando Jones gently mocks both the book and previous film.

Plot Summary

Sci-fi fantasy adventure starring Guy Pearce, and featuring Jeremy Irons. Victorian inventor Professor Hartdegen builds a time machine in an attempt to reverse the death of his fiancée, but finds himself driven to travel 800,000 years into the future. Can he bring peace to the warring tribes in this post-apocalyptic world and, more importantly, return home afterwards?

Cast and crew


Professor Alexander Hartdegen
Guy Pearce
Samantha Mumba
Jeremy Irons
Orlando Jones
Dr David Philby
Mark Addy
Sienna Guillory
Mrs Watchit
Phyllida Law
Omero Mumba
Flower store worker
Alan Young


Simon Wells
Gore Verbinski

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros
Available on video and DVD
Released 31 May 2002
Certificate PG