Top positive review
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"He has all the time in the world"
on 19 September 2006
George Pal made many science fiction movies during his career, but this, I think, is one of his best. Filmed in sumptuous Metrocolor, the movie tells the story of George Wells, an inventor who creates a wonderful time machine. Disillusioned with the violence of his time, he sets off into the future, only to discover that mankind's struggle for knowledge and progress is doomed to end after a devastating third world war. Finally, in the year 802701 he saves a beautiful girl, Weena, from drowning and is introduced to the Eloi, a race of peaceful, almost childlike, innocents. But then his time machine is stolen by the Morlocks, and he discovers that the Eloi's idyllic existance isn't all that it seems to be .....
The Time Machine is a veritable feast for the eyes. The Victorian era scenes are filmed with an unerring eye for detail, and the film won an Oscar for its time lapse photography depicting the time machine's forward travel. But it's with the future scenes that the movie really comes into its own, with vibrant colour and simple yet extremely effective sets. It's true that the acting is a little stilted in places, but I think this just adds to the movie's charm, and I've always thought that Rod Taylor made a very creditable and handsome hero!
But, for me, the star of the movie always has been, and always shall be, the time machine itself. Introduced with virtually no build up or fanfare whatsoever, the time machine is, in my opinion, one of the finest props ever produced in movie history. It simply exudes Victorian charm and, while I admit it doesn't look remotely functional as a time travelling vehicle, it's the attention to detail that is so outstanding - the red plush seat, the beautiful stud work on the machine's revolving disc, and even the manufacturer's plate set into the control panel - all show the love and hard work that went into this amazing piece of movie history. I would give my eye-teeth for a scale model. Any model companies out there, please take note!
So, in conclusion, The Time Machine may have been updated with a new and flashy remake, but it will never be able to capture the charm and quality of the original. If you buy only one film this week, make it The Time Machine!