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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!
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HALL OF FAMEon 3 January 2006
George Pal directed this classic from 1960, starring Rod Taylor as the scientist who travels back through time (George, although we are meant to understand that this is a character-cipher for H.G. Wells), and Yvette Mimieux in a very early role (interestingly, she became an anthropologist, the study of which has a concern in the overall plot development and socio-political points Wells was trying to drive home with his novel).
The plot follows Wells' late Victorian novel fairly well. Scientist George invents a time machine, and after making the proclamation to several of his nay-saying friends, including a test with a miniature time machine, takes off on a few journeys. The early journeys are just to test, and we see a few fascinating effects here. But the greater story lies in George's hope for the future, so he sets himself to go nearly a million years in to the future - the year 802701.
Trivia buffs will recognise the date on the machine as October 12, the same date Columbus discovered the new world. George embarks into this new world, finding the human race has evolved into a split species - the above-ground Eloi, and the below-ground Morlochs. The Eloi are carefree airheads for the most part - that is, until the Morlochs threaten, and then they become the hunted. The Morlochs are presented as base creatures, following only their appetites, and afraid to remain above for too long.
The effects of the time machine itself and the transition scenes are quite good for the time - I recall as a child watching this film on television and being mesmerised by the passage of time, the scenery changes through George's window as the time streamed by, and the contrast between the Victorian household set and the future world.
The more recent remake did homage to this classic film by incorporating a few of the same ideas - the scene changes through the windows, for example. Also, Alan Young (who played Filby in the 1960 film) appeared in the more recent film, the only actor to appear in both.
George has a tough decision to make - his time machine is stolen by the Morlochs; does he risk his life to get it back? And does he opt to stay in the future or go back to his own time if he recovers it?
Only time will tell.
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on 10 November 2002
The sight of Jeremy Irons as the Morlock leader was enough to drive me to the local video store to buy this mid-priced selection.
While the new version of the H. G. Wells novel plays to the contemporary youth market with the emphasis on the special effects to create the Wellsian idyll and the deformities of the Warlocks, it does miss the point a little, or actually by a lot more than a little.
This, the original, won an Oscar for the special effects and given the technology of the day it was clearly well deserved. The movie itself set the tone for science fiction movies too with it's original setting and the ability to show the passage of time through several devices such as the circulating sun and the tailors dummy.
It is the conception of the novel however, which for me emphasises the differences between this movie and the newer version. The central difference lies in the somewhat ordinariness of the society of the Eloi. They are living a simple, almost idyllic lifestyle, knowing nothing much about the world around them except what they need to know. They live in ruins with food and clothing provided for them. In the newer version there is some complex structures which do not make a whole lot of sense as they are still susceptible to raids from the Morlocks.
The Eloi suggest a socialist society where each according to ability each according to need whereas the Morlocks represent the evils of the capitalist machine. In the end of course, the victory over the Morlocks is achieved with the aid of our hero who's single minded devotion to rescuing the heroine culminates in defeat of the capitalist machine.
Thus the original time machine remains as true to the concept of the novel as perhaps it can be whereas the message of the new is obscured.
Certainly the original Time Machine is a little dated but it is worth it.
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on 17 December 2002
I have watched this film many times from when I was a child so I had to get the DVD. I totally reject the idea of the recent remake that was understandably awful. I hadn't seen the film in a while so it was a real treat to watch. It's still as magical as ever. The colours on the DVD are bright and the quality is excellent. It shows the work that has gone into restoring it.
The film is rather quaint to watch nowadays and it's faintly nostalgic. The stop motion effects are still quite impressive, even now. Some even look more realistic than today's CGI effects because they don't look so digital and cold. They look more real. It also manages to suggest (like the book) that the time traveller George and his point of view of what is important to a society isn't necessarily what is best. It supports the basic ideas of the book but it still makes some minor changes. Weena is suddenly a blonde beauty and doesn't die halfway through. The happy ending of George going to be reunited with Weena is totally different from the book too. In the book the time traveller just disappears and is never seen again. None of these changes detract from the basic idea too much because the essence is still there.
The extras arn't worth bothering with. There's a very dull documentary that discusses the special effects and cast for only 10 minutes and then waffles on about the time machine itself for nearly an hour. It describes in excrusiating detail how it was lost and then found in a junk shop and restored and then lost again and so on. It's dull beyond belief. There's a mini scene of George meeting his friend again many years later which is frankly quite embarrassing to see. And then there's the trailer which is well worth seeing if only to see how marketing of films has changed over the years. The original trailer is so over the top and naive it made me laugh out loud. It's cute.
Still a great classic sci fi film from the past. All the actors perform well. The star who plays George puts a huge amount of effort in - just watch his battle with the Morlocks. A great film I can highly recommend.
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on 11 August 2014
The most important thing about this release for UK and European Customers is that this is a US region free release and most of the suppliers have wrongly labelled it as a region coded disc. This is a lovely film that I remember seeing as a school lad at the Rialto Leytonstone. The blu-ray is an improvement on the DVD which I previously owned and I considered it a worthwhile upgrade, especially as the DVD commands a good secondhand price.
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on 18 June 2002
On balance, this adaptation of H G Wells's book is a better product than the more recent 2002 offering. The novel itself has a number of threads running through it, some quite subtle. Most of these are ignored by George Pal who chooses to present the story at a high level. Never mind any suggestions that the world of the Eloi and the Morlocks represents the division between the rulers and the ruled - Pal just presents us with beautiful blonds and blue monsters!
As the film progresses so the narrative deteriorates, until it ends up little better than a sci-fi B movie. Nonetheless there are some very nice touches, such as Weena's near-drowning whilst her friends look on, and the marvellous sequences where the traveller stops off during the two wars, and then in 1966 to witness the nuclear holocaust.
We are given sound performances and for its time, the film has some great visuals, the best being the machine itself. In the 2002 film, the basic shape was retained, and it is easy to see why.
This isn't the greatest sci-fi film ever made, and it only touches on some of the deeper aspects of Wells' novel, but it's fun.
The DVD presentation is very good - some time has obviously been spent cleaning up the picture and it shows. There is a nice documentary included too, confirming what I always hoped - that the Time Traveller survived his trip back to the future..
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on 22 August 2003
This film is a forgotten gem, unlike the recent re-make which should be quietly forgotten. HG Wells' story is treated with respect by the author and vividly shows the after affects of a post nuclear earth.
No real awards for acting but the special effects (good) and the mutants' costumes (bad) combined with a good script, ensure an enjoyable 90 minutes viewing.
Watch the movie with an uncynical eye and enjoy it for the period piece it is.
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on 18 June 2002
The 1960's version of george Pal's, 'The Time Machine' remains a classic. The script follows the original H.G Wells novel, but departs from it in one major respect. The time traveller (in true Hollywood fashion) reunites with his beloved Weena, and she is not killed off as she is in the Well's story. There are also some other additions to the film script. Such as passing through world war one, and world war two, and then stopping off in the 1960's with a prediction of world war three. These things, taken together with the talking rings in the year 802701, brought the Well's story into the Twentieth Century. Whereas the latest 2002 rendering of the Time Machine, looses the plot completely, and gets tangled up; and relies on some stunning visual animation and computer graphics to keep you in your seat.
The 1960's time travel sequences are still amazing. Keep your eye on the surrounding laboratory sets, and watch everything changing with meticulous care and detail.
The film is nostalgic and has a wonderful cast. It features Rod Taylor as 'George' the time traveller, who plays the part with great verve, sensitivity and humanity. His leading lady, Yvette Mimieux, plays an unforgettable Weena, a loving and niave girl in the distant future. The film is timeless and thoroughly enjoyable. It is full of action and excitement. I have seen it many times, and it never fails to thrill me. Even the stirring music score by Russel Garcia is magical. Some of the Time Machine sound effects have been integrated into the consciousness of modern day science fiction sound aficionados.
The Time Machine is unquestionably one of the great science fiction films of the 1960's, and stands together with classics such as,'The Forbidden Planet', 'This Island Earth' and 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'. If your into science fiction and H.G Wells, then this one is definitely worth having in your DVD collection.
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on 5 September 2014
What a wonderful timeless masterpiece of a movie this is....just as fresh when first seen as a child....Rod Taylor puts in a thoughtful performance as the hero George and the 1960s effects though dated still surpasses the awful remake. ..As to the disc itself....well its REGION FREE so WILL work on uk players....The picture though a tad soft in places is detailed and deep colours help make this the best it's ever looked..Whilst the 5.1 surround is great with very good surround action
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on 24 July 2014
I,m very pleased with this blu-ray edition of one of my favourite films.Best of all it played without problems on my region B blu-ray player.Thats a Sony370.Buy and enjoy!!
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