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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Time Machine
The Time Machine
Warner Bros. // G // October 3, 2000
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Brian R. Boisvert | posted January 2, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
Loosely-based on H.G. Wells's classic novel, George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE (1960) is a fun and creative science-fiction classic. Rod Taylor plays George, an inventor in Victorian England who throws a dinner party on New Year's Eve 1899 to announce that he's created a machine for traveling through time. His friends are unimpressed and don't understand what use time travel could have for mankind. Frustrated, George climbs into his machine after the guests leave and experiences adventures at various points in history (all at the very same location in England). After quick stops at both world wars and a future nuclear war (in 1966!), he finally goes far ahead into the year 802,701. In this era, he finds humanity divided into two groups: the normal-looking Eloi and the Morlocks, disfigured mutants who live underground. The Eloi are helpless, passive, and ignorant, and George is horrified to learn that they are essentially being used as livestock for the cannibalistic Morlocks. He falls in love with a beautiful Eloi named Weena (Yvette Mimieux -- fans may recognize her from a later performance in The Black Hole) and decides to help free her people.

They really just don't make films like this any more -- a special effects film that is intelligent, charming, and fun. The acting is wonderful and the story takes its time to unfold at a natural pace. This is great entertainment for the entire family.

The Picture:
Wow. Warner has done a stunning job in bringing this 40-year-old film to DVD. The print used is very clean with only a few white specks appearing on the source material. Colors are deep and solid, with strong blacks. The image is very crisp, detailed, and sharp. There are almost no flaws in this transfer, aside from occasional (and almost unnoticable) grain. This widescreen (1.78:1), anamorphically-enhanced transfer is amazing and hopefully will be a benchmark for future transfers of classic, older films.

The Sound:
This is a wonderful 5.1 remix of the original mono elements. Distortion is minimal and dialog is always clear and easy to understand. There is very little surround activity, except during the war sequences; however, the soundtrack makes good use of a very wide front soundstage. Dialog, effects, and especially the wonderful music are all expertly blended to create a very satisfying experience. However, some may be disappointed that Warner decided not to include the original mono soundtrack as well (although the mono track is available in French).

Special Features:
This DVD contains an entertaining, 50-minute documentary "The Time Machine: The Journey Back," hosted by star Rod Taylor. This informative feature contains interviews with cast members and explanations of the impressive special effect work. This release also includes the original theatrical trailer and the usual biographical information. Unfortunately, the isolated music track that is promised on the DVD packaging is not provided. Subtitles are available in English and French.

Final Thoughts:
This is an entertaining film that really exemplifies how all movies should be presented on DVD -- great picture quality, great sound quality, entertaining and informative extras. Viewers who enjoy this film may also be interested in Image Entertainment's DVD documentary "The Fantasy Film Worlds Of George Pal", which provides additional information about the life and work of this talented producer/director.

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