Friday, February 24, 2012

Movie Madness: The Time Machine (1961) and The Time Machine (2002)

So this is kind of a first for me. I don't know if I can find as much to say about movies as I do about books. Besides, I am not a film student or anything of the sort so I won't be able to tell you the specifics about and cinematography and things...but I will offer my opinion on the movies...if not as a Steampunk fanatic, as a movie buff....anyways, here goes nothing!

I figured I would start things out with a classic:
 H.G. Well's The Time Machine (1961)! 

I have to admit that I haven't read the book yet...I know...I suck...a lot. Steam-heads are probably saying "peace out" or the steamy equivalent because let's be honest...The Time Machine is kind of like a Steampunk in one of the first Steampunk novels ever, and one of the most influential on the modern Steampunk lifestyle. It is through Well's speculative futures, and Jeter's gadgetry in The Infernal Devices that we get two of the most fundamental ideas and themes in the entire lifestyle/genre/etc. The fact that I have yet to read either of them might mark me as a non-expert on steamy things...well...too're here aren't you? Listening to what I say? Therefore you care(at least a little bit) about what I think so...yeah.

Anywoo...The Time Machine is a really cool story about a Victorian gentleman who creates a time machine and takes an adventure into the future to see what amazing things humans have created 100,000's of years from now and maybe bring something back to help today's people...Only, when he gets to the future, he finds a completely prehistoric civilization.It's kind of like Avatar meets Back to the Future. In the future, people have reverted to savages and completely innocent mindless sheep who are preyed upon by the savages...not something that can really help us out today huh?

The two human species are called the Morlocks (pictured left)  (the evil, savage, ape-like creatures with nasty teeth) and the Eloi. Both of these races seem to represent the worst that could possibly happen to the human race. The first has become little more than monstrous animals, engaging in things like cannibalism which true animals never do. The other seems to have lost all concept of free will, survival, and purpose.

The Time Machine was a lot like other movies of the early and mid 1900's. Most of them revolve around some core lesson for people to learn, and no matter how cool or fun the story is, the important thing is whether or not people learn the lesson. Think about It's A Wonderful Life...aside from being incredibly heartwarming, the entire movie revolved around not taking your life for granted. The point of movies weren't really for enjoyment yet, or at least they had to have a main educational/social/etc implications to make them "worthwhile".  In this case, Time Machine seems to be teaching me not to take my time for granted...either that or that humans have to be considerate of our environment or we will end up enslaved by our own mutant off-spring.

I actually enjoyed this (the 1961) movie. I'm not sure if it was because I've been watching a crap-ton of old movies and I've started to appreciate their quaint old-world feel or if I'm just a total sci-fi nerd and everything old, odd, and bizzare appeals to me...either way this is a pretty cool movie and you should probably check it out if you want to get into the meat of the history of the Steampunk genre.

Now, I couldn't just watch one of the adaptations of The Time Machine without doing the other. So...I also watched: The Time Machine (2002) 
I really enjoyed seeing these two movies one after the other. I saw this version when it first came out in 2002, but didn't realize what it was, and if I remember correctly, didn't like it very much. However now that I have more of an understanding of Steampunk I feel like I have a better appreciation of the science and the intrigue in the movie. Some lines were exactly the same as the original and I thought it was kind of cool that they kept a lot of the original dialogue in it. Of course, there was the addition of an even better romance in this movie than it's predecessor. The whole reason Alexander creates the time machine in the first place is because his fiance is attacked and killed on the night of their engagement. Her murder becomes a driving force in his mind, making him turn into a hermity-inventor, possessed with his obsession with getting her back. It's quite romantic and heartbreaking really.

Right off I can say that the musical selections are by far superior in the 2006 version. Granted, you can't really compare the music from 40+ years apart...but the 1961 version was so...campy...and the music made it much more so. You could almost imaging the composer going "dun dun DUNNN" and writing that down on the paper...It was so overly dramatic that it had me laughing out loud when I was supposed to be shaking in my boots. I actually like the music a lot from the 2006 version. It's definitely traditional classical as it should be, but it's like there is a modern take on the classics that really give the songs a good beat and brings the movie to life...I might have to go see if I can find these tunes on iTunes man...

There are a lot more "Steampunk" aspects to this movie than the first. It seems like the producers wanted to add as many gadgets as possible, from a pencil extender Alexander uses to draw diagrams to a steam powered car on retractable wheels. Even the actual time machine looks a heck of a lot more industrial than the first...which is definitely hard to do..

The Morlocks were definitely scarier and at least a little more realistic in this version. It's kind of hard to imagine that humans have evolved backwards to look like hairy ape/pig creatures...but apparently that's what happens. Except for the Morlock Lord... its quite simple to imagine that years of living buried in the caves leached the pigment from their skin and hair...making kind of a freaky albino race of terror...Just the look of their pale skin...creepy ice-blue Siberian husky eyes...*shudders*

Overall-I would say that if you were going to watch one or the other you should go with the 2002 version for pure entertainment value. The music, graphics, plot, and characters are much more developed and interesting than the 1961 version. However much can be said for the classic version as well. It was very cool for it's time and poses a few puzzling questions about the meaning of life that could make it a bit more...intellectual...and it also follows H.G. Well's novel much more closely. Still, both are great movies and they are pretty much one of the main milestones in the Steampunk genre so if you get a chance you should definitely check them out!
Commenting on this post qualifies as an entry into the Grand Prize Giveaway for Let's Get Steamy!


  1. LOL don't worry, Andra -- I'm a bigger bookish girl than I am a movie girl too! x) But I've actually never heard of either of those movies before, and that's so strange because I actually LOVE stories about time travel! I wish I could say that I watched more older movies like you, but I'm always drawn to the newer ones... because the graphics! The effects! The acting! All better in newer films, I think LOL!

    Thanks so much for the recommendation, Andra! If I feel like some time-travel awesomeness, I'll be watching the 2002 version for sure! :)

  2. Okay, I have yet to watch either movie and I completely forgot about the latest release until you reminded me with this post. Most times, people say the original movies are better, but I guess because this is a film (book) about moving through time, the more recent film would have more of the newer elements, like you mentioned.

    Thanks for the comparison. Happy Weekend. :)

  3. I loved the 2002 version when I saw it! I didn't even know what steampunk was then! I just thought it was a quirky and fabulous movie! Love the comparison!

  4. What's up everybody, here every person is sharing these know-how, so it's
    good to read this website, and I used to go to see this
    webpage daily.

    Also visit my blog ... IQ Windows Phone Puzzle Game

  5. If you desire to improve your experience just
    keep visiting this web page and be updated with the
    newest news posted here.

    Also visit my weblog; Free Android Puzzle Game

  6. Very quickly this site will be famous amid all blog users,
    due to it's good articles or reviews

    Also visit my site :: Windows Phone Intelligent Game

  7. It's appropriate time to make some plans for the longer
    term and it's time to be happy. I have read this post
    and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or
    suggestions. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles referring to this article.
    I desire to learn more things approximately it!

    My page - Free iPad Puzzle Game

  8. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest
    authoring on other websites? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and
    would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would
    appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel
    free to send me an email.

    Stop by my webpage Make Money From Home

  9. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of
    your website is wonderful, let alone the content!

    Look into my website :: Best Android Puzzle Games