Published at: Nov. 1, 2000, 6:03 p.m. CST by staff
Folks, Harry here.... Moriarty recently wrote a rather gushing accounting of John Logan's TIME MACHINE script and ya know... for the first 24 pages or so, I'd agree. But as the script continued... my rampant enthusiasm went from glee to the dregs of mediocrity. And strangely enough... I began to feel that the script before my eyes was a bit like a Star Trek episode. I have no doubt that this is why Logan is writing Trek X.
Now, it should be noted that in all likelihood... the script has continued to have work done to it, afterall... this is the February 22, 2000 draft and most likely... not the draft that they are moving forward with. Now... before you go any further, realize that to be critical of a script... you must get specific... so you will be reading SPOILERS in this piece. However... before I get to them, I'll simply put it like this. The script fails to invoke magic... there is no simple majesty to it... the extra effects are just that... and the characters are, to me, even less than those we've seen before with this story. Now... Now I go into specifics...
The script starts off fine enough... In the original Pal version, when Rod Taylor was asked, "But what use is it?" in regards to his Time Machine... Rod was befuddled... it was invention for the sake of invention. The purest form of scientific creation. I like this. Why do we feel the need to create specific motivations to create specific things.
You see, in this script... Alexander (aka our usual George or H.G.) has a fiancee that is killed in a park on the night of his engagement... His creation of the time machine is to retroactively save her. Ahhh, pathos. Now, this wasn't too bad really... I liked it. Gave the character passion. He goes back, saves her... only to find that fate can not be changed. After she dies... again.
I HATE THIS. You see, Alexander saves her only to lose her a second time. Does he then try to save her again? Oooooh Noooo, he basically (for all intents and purposes) says FUCK IT, and launches into the future to bury the memory of his loss.
PROBLEM #1: Time Travel hurts. Actually this is LAME. I hates this. Sure, that masochist Moriarty likes it, but in the script time travel is basically alot like CONTACT travel... skin pulling away... strange morphs... BOLLOCKS! If I never see another skin stretch morph crap effect again, I'll die a happy man. Alright... let's take a look at it practically.... What purpose does the agony serve? Does it motivate the character? No... it is just an effect. Adds nothing to the story... brings nothing to the character.
Alright... this time, there is no nuclear war... no mushroom clouds... this time the doom of humanity is when in the process of terrafarming the moon... she explodes, causing catastrophic seismic events on Earth.... leaving a jagged shattered plate of a moon hanging in the sky. Alright, wonderful... or is it? The entire purpose of THE TIME MACHINE... the kernal of reason behind Wells' creation of the story was to protest and show the foolishness of WAR and Man's Inhumanity to Man! Now, the over-riding moral of this tale is that science will be the doom of man, and to explore and expand will destroy all humanity.
Ya know what? THat just plain blows. Wells was not anti-science, he was anti-violence... in changing the reason for the Earth's destruction... they have completely destroyed Wells' original intent.... and for what reason? Oh... well the jagged moon up above would look.... cool.
Ok... so now we are 800,000 years into the future.... where the Eloi all speak perfect English... as we all know language does not change over the centuries... dialects and slang do not pollute and metamorphisize the original source tongue. That's a nitpick, that ultimately I don't have a huge problem with... just something I'd like to note.
Now... In the far far future of Planet Earth... in this section, John Logan decides to combine THE TIME MACHINE with PLANET OF THE APES and BAD STAR TREK. You see... first, the Morlocks hunt the Eloi on the backs of genetic monster steeds... and tunnel beneath the earth like mad rabid gophers. Ahhh... but that's not all... the Morlocks are actually the slaves of the Uber-Morlocks (which bare a strange resemblance to the Dean at Alexander's college... I'm serious) that control with psychic powers beyond those of mortal man... the genetically engineered Morlocks. BLECH!
Have I mentioned the ROBOT? Oh yes... there's a Robot that saves everyone. Not only a robot, but one that lived in a library for 800,000 years and quotes Byron. Oh yes, I'm serious.
Oh, have I mentioned that the Uber-Morlocks drain the life essences of the Eloi via IV tubes? Yes... just like in DARK CRYSTAL.... making the victims prune up and translucent.
Oh.. did I mention the Robot saves everyone... You see... there was a reason in the first film, why the Time Traveler made the journey (to the overall plot) his fighting... his example inspired the Eloi to pick up stones themselves... to fight and combat the evil Morlocks... to cease being sheep. THIS WAS IMPORTANT! Now that we have a nice terminator/ titanium alloy nuclear powered Byron quoting Robo-man... why teach the Eloi anything?
Oh, and while we're at it... they destroy the TIME MACHINE too... Oh... and then inexplicably, we cut away at the end to Filby and Alexander's housekeeper in a painfully unnecessary Spielbergian endcap.
Soon as the Time Traveler enters the machine... the script derailed for me. I lost all of this as being necessary.
Alright... now they need to do one of two things... go back to the novel and adhere to it... or throw it out all together... this sort of half-assed Star Treking of the story just doesn't wash. I'll look forward to the effects... but that's about it for me. This was quite a disappointment. Damn that Moriarty... getting my hopes up.