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'The Time Machine' films.. Awful!

  1. Feb 13, 2017 #1
    I just noticed there was a sci-fi catagory and thought that this would be a good place to vent my outrage at the two 'the time machine' film adaptations. i saw them both recently.

    They miss the point entirely and are logically inconsistent!

    Why make a film of somthing that you clearly have no respect for!? Ugh.. Rage!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2017 #2


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    It's been a long long time since I've read the book and the only film version I've seen was from 1960. From what I remember it was a good adaptation, largely faithful whilst retaining the same feel. Given that it had to adapt a story from 65 years previous I'd say it had done a good job.

    I've not seen the modern version but reboot culture in Hollywood has become such a toxic cash cow. I can't remember the last time I saw a modern take on an old book or film that wasn't awful.
  4. Feb 13, 2017 #3
    What!? The 1960 version was awful!
    It was horribly casted.
    It tottaly missed the sociological predictions. (Part of the point was that there WASN'T a cataclysm to make that future come to be, it was successful capitalism that lead there)
    It has the eloi speeking english and looking wrong, (i concede that would have been hard to do, but they could have just used children)
    It's totaly self obsessed with 1960, making references too the coldwar that don't make any sence.
    And it has him traveling back to the future to make a happy ending. (which makes no sence as the butterfly effect would prevent weena's existence)
  5. Feb 13, 2017 #4


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    Like it said it's been a long time, why do you think it was horribly casted? It is a film from nearly 60 years ago; acting styles, roles, tropes and lines are all going to seem dated.

    Combining these two points together this is what I meant about a much later adaptation having to capture the same theme rather than the same substance. When the time machine was published in 1895 the theory of natural selection was still very new and germ theory had only gained traction in the decades previously. The time machine is full of speculation based on those early models and consequently gets things completely wrong. Aside from proposing that all infectious disease could be wiped out so that fruit rotted much more slowly it did what was popular back then and ascribed too much of human culture to simplistic understandings of selection.

    By the time of the 1960s evolutionary and social science had progressed very far, to make a completely faithful recounting would be at odds with what was known at the time. In the 60s questionable extrapolations of human society based on evolution wasn't part of the scientific or science fiction zeitgeist. So if you're going to recreate a story in which a protagonist travels into the future to witness a decayed human society, and you can't use the out dated justifications from the original, what are you going to use? Obviously you pick something that seems more realistic and also more relevant.

    I've not seen the recent time machine film but I would expect that to make a good one now you would probably find the reason for the decay be based on climate change, working in that some humans stayed hiding underground for tens of thousands of years.

    It's pretty hard to find actors that would be so elphin as the eloi are described, as for children you know what they say; "never work with children or animals". More seriously though was the portrayal significantly wrong? Ok so they didn't look exactly right (and tbh a child playing the pseudo-love interest would have been problematic to say the least) but they acted correctly and they represented the correct idea of the eloi; carefree, apathetic, hedonistic, dumb.

    As for the language convention it would be pretty hard to make a film where only one character speaks throughout almost the entire thing. Not impossible sure, but it's much easier in a book because the narrator is talking directly to the reader. You get to hear their inner dialogue, their thoughts and feelings. You can't do that so easily on the screen so it would just have been lots of shots of the traveller walking around on his own or talking to himself. If you want a headcanon reason though there were records in the archives, perhaps the eloi learned by watching them.

    Doesn't the film end ambiguously? We never seem him back safe in the future do we? It's only slightly different from the book. Also everything we learn in the book and the film suggests that time cannot be altered. The inventor talks over and over again about how time is a dimension no different to space and that travelling through one is analogous to the other. Whilst not explicitly stated it could be the case that in the setting the Self-Consistency principle applies.

    Anyho, if at the end of the day you didn't enjoy the film I can't convince you it was good. For you it clearly wasn't. And there are many examples of terrible reboots and much later sequels of films. But when it comes to adapting a book, a very old science fiction one at that, you have to take some liberties with the specifics in order to keep the message and feel of the story as similar as possible whilst telling it in a completely different medium.
  6. Feb 14, 2017 #5
    well i really didn't like the casting of the time traveler, he was too young for a start.

    sure, allot of wells' science is very dated, but the film makes LESS sense. it's about 800,000 years in the future i think, why would they (the eloi) still be talking about the cold war? that just makes no sense. and i don't see what doesn't make sense about the eloi/morlock evolutionary split in the book, it's unlikely perhaps, but a sound concept i would say.
    the recent film actually has them go underground due to the moon exploding...

    i would be more persuaded by "the show don't tell" argument if the film didn't already have a load of narration, anyway, they could have just used subtitles for after he learns a few words. i think it's largely due to the english speaking that they come of more as disdainful jerks rather than innocent and ignorant child like things that they are in the book.

    na, i don't think so. that's only cause the film sexualises it by making her a glamorous bimbo. the original relationship between the traveler and weena didn't at all seem sexual to me.

    sure, that's true. but it certainly isn't the implication.

    hm, you mean like causal loops? i'm not convinced at all, i sure didn't get that impression, and i would like to think better of wells then that.. his whole style was exposition of concept which happen to form stories, i don't think he would just throw out "meh, fate or god or just because or whatever" which is the kinda logic required for that style of time travel stuff.
  7. Feb 14, 2017 #6

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    And how old should he be? Taylor was in his 30's, IIRC. HGW never describes the Time Traveler, although he implies he is the second youngest member of the group. (There is no Young Man, but there is a Very Young Man)
  8. Feb 14, 2017 #7
    Well he does state that he is "..not a young man" after describing running. But perhaps you are right. I, in my 20s, already am starting to feel that i am not a young man when it comes to running..
    But i think that the narrator says he has a weird shaped head at some point so he shoulden't have been a young swave handsome man.. But yeah, that's just nit picky..
  9. Feb 28, 2017 #8
    In the recent film he doesn't need to go back in time because the Librarian hologram is there. I got the impression that the Morlocks had done something telepathic to let the Traveler understand everyone. They certainly did so to explain why he couldn't change the past. I generally thought that the recent film was the better of the two. It seemed better thought out and had more humanity to it.
  10. Feb 28, 2017 #9
    I avoid time travel movies. If you fix the problem that caused you to have to go back and fix the problem then you don't have to go back and fix the problem.
  11. Feb 28, 2017 #10
    But no decent movie would ever have that plot. In back to the future, for example, the time machine causes the central crisis and has no part in its solution.
  12. Feb 28, 2017 #11
    Wasn't suggesting it as a plot.
  13. Mar 1, 2017 #12
    Then why do you avoid time travel movies?
  14. Mar 1, 2017 #13
    For the reason I stated.
  15. Mar 1, 2017 #14
    If it hasn't been mentioned before, Heinlein's "All You Zombies" has been made into a film, "Predestination". It's fairly faithful to the original with some additional material to make it more of a movie (peril plot).
  16. Mar 1, 2017 #15


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    Heh, well, he decided that time travel movies were just too annoying, so he traveled back in time to convince his younger self not to bother watching them. Therefore he never watched them, therefore... :biggrin:
  17. Mar 1, 2017 #16
    That would have been the best case scenario.
  18. Mar 5, 2017 #17
    Maybe you wouldn't have such a limited perception of time travel movies if your wouldn't avoid them. And even the plot you described above could make a good movie.
  19. Mar 5, 2017 #18
    I have watched many, enjoyed few, in the past 66 years. I'm not as ignorant of the topic as you paint me. And the "plot" I mentioned wasn't a plot, it was the death of a plot.
  20. Mar 5, 2017 #19


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    Thread closed for moderation.
  21. Mar 5, 2017 #20


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    I removed a couple of posts which appeared to be a more personal debate than an attempt of assessing the issue.
    I know the thread title itself is questionable as it already contains a personal gusto. Nevertheless, please try to remain non-personal despite of it.

    Thread reopened.
  22. Mar 5, 2017 #21
    Can you explain that in detail? (And no, this is not a personal debate.)
  23. Mar 5, 2017 #22
    It was straight forward, I don't see the need for amplification.
  24. Mar 6, 2017 #23
    That would be sufficient if you just don't like the plot of movies like Source Code. But claiming this is "the death of a plot" requires an explanation.
  25. Mar 6, 2017 #24
    No, it doesn't.
  26. Mar 6, 2017 #25


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    I don't know whether I'm being too undemanding in my movie-watching, but it doesn't actually bother me when a movie is flawed (illogical, or containing plot holes, etc.) Talking about the flaws and speculating about what the director or screenwriter could have or should have done differently is part of the fun of seeing movies. I consider just about every science fiction or fantasy movie I've ever seen to be deeply flawed, and I still enjoy them.
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