Time Machine, The - A Science Experiment

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The Time Machine delivers exciting escapism while stimulating scientific curiosity.
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Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
Trim the wandering around alone and the Morlocks. While perfectly unsettling and terrifying, befitting works by Hitchcock or Serling in 1960, they don’t work as well if you already know that he is going to meet people and creatures. The point of the story is the idea of the time machine and time travel, not the action/horror story of a square-jawed hero rescuing a blonde damsel-in-distress from scary monsters.
H.G. Wells coined the term Time Machine in his eponymous 1895 book. It remains the yardstick that all time-travel stories are measured by. George Pal brought the story to life in the mesmerizing 1960 movie. This lush Victorian interpretation of the Time Machine has set the tone for much of the Steampunk genre. This masterpiece deserved a bit of tidying up for today's audiences.
Special Thanks:
Editingsithlord for the terrific trailer.
Release Information:
Special Features
Video: 1080p, 1:1.78
Audio 1: 5.1 Surround
English subtitles
Cuts and Additions:
1) Cut pre-title sequence of clocks flying across an otherwise black screen (44 seconds). It doesn't advance or strengthen the story. Perhaps it was created for the title sequence but it made the names illegible? I tried placing the clock sequence at the very end, as the screen goes black but before "The End". It added an ominous feel to Philby's closing comment that George "has all the time in the world". While not inappropriate for the film, I chose to keep the original ending which feels more curious than forboding about George's fate.
2) Replace the brief shot of the nuclear explosion with a better one.
3) Trim wandering around alone: less time alone in the jungle, and George doesn't stumble across the empty dome before he finds people (3 minutes).
4) Small trims for pacing as the Eloi walk morosely to the air-raid bunker.
5) Trim the scare-factor of the Morlocks.
6) Trim the exaggerated, Errol Flynn like, fighting style in the cave (20 seconds). George is more scientist than swashbuckler.
7) Some minor trims to Weena fawning over George. It fits the story, but added up it became annoying.
Cover art by lapis molari (DOWNLOAD HERE)


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(Updated: December 09, 2021)
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Update 9/12/21 - The only audio transition I picked up is in the original, so rating is updated to 10. The bad fade at 1:30-1:31 and the still image at 52:30 are also in the original!

Original review (7/12/21):

Took me over a year to get round to watching this - whoops. Better late than never?


Presented in crisp 1080p with surround sound and English subtitles. All looks and sounds great. One minor visual quality qualm related to the explosion footage (noted below).


- 1:30-1:31 - my eyes did a double-take because the resolution seems to be quite soft for the fade in and then suddenly crispen at this point? Could be on the original.
- 41:29 - nice idea to replace the atomic effect. What's there works, but would sit better with a bit of grain. As it stands it's a bit too modern compared to everything else. The added footage is also lower res and there is some visible compression. It's so brief most probably won't notice though.
- 52:30 - is this in the original? It looks to be a still image with no film noise


- 5:57 - was a piece of dialogue cut here? Audio seems a bit abrupt. Otherwise, no issues.


7:33 - I'm surprised you didn't cut this. Needless exposition for the incredibly small amount of people that don't know the difference between 2 and 3 dimensions. Certainly everyone at George's gathering would know - they're all scientists and that line of thinking has been around for over 400 years in their time.

^^ that's subjective though. There are no narrative issues brought about as a result of the cuts.

Now: more subjective stuff.

I'm a big H.G. Wells fan and, admittedly, this is relatively true to the source material, only with a bit more added (namely the friendship between George and Filby). Still, it's the aesthetic and tone that's all wrong and some of the science fiction and a lot of the social commentary is stripped away. The Eloi aren't meant to be vulnerable, attractive blonde women, they're meant to be these short, quirky things - an obvious product of years of pampering and overindulgence.

Rod Taylor is pretty good in this; you feel his frustration with the world around him. The film has some genuinely good moments and nice worldbuilding - slightly spoiled by the campy 60s vibe, too much overdub narration, and exposition (I think he tells the audience that the Eloi are being bred like cattle for the Morlocks like 3 times...? Once from the discs, once from when he shouts at them during the air raid, and a third time when he discovers the skeletons underground - why not just leave the reveal till the third time and let the audience put the pieces together in the meantime?). I would like to take a crack at making a more experimental edit of this sometime that gives the viewer a bit more credit and maybe incorporates some rescoring.

I love me some old FX, but the FX in this look cheap. Obvious cardboard backdrops in the Morlock caves, bad compositing during the nuclear meltdown, virtually no detail on the miniature sets. I've seen better effects from a decade earlier. Here it looks somewhere between Thunderbirds and Star Trek. The Morlocks also couldn't be more clunky - they move like they're in a musical or something (The Planet of the Apes featuring Troy Mclure, to be precise). When they're still and you see their eyes blinking in the dark they actually seem somewhat ominous, but their gait is awful. The script is also somewhat sophisticated, but the aesthetic and narrated elements really dumb it down. I'm also not keen on the romance with Weena - she has the mental age of a child, so it feels odd.

Still, while I feel like a lot more can be done with the material, this is a nice, restrained update that's preferable to the original. If you like what you see from lapis' cutlist then what's here is well-executed and worth your time.

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