Taylor Takes us to the Fourth Dimension
The 4th dimension, it's not height, width or depth but we are informed by H. George Wells in "The Time Machine" it is time. And it has to be said that despite being 50 years old "The Time Machine", the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel, is still an absolutely wonderful movie as it takes us on a journey into the future to see how the world changes where the Morlocks reign over the peace loving Eloi. Yes the effects are dated but the storyline is still as brilliant as ever and that is what makes "The Time Machine" still such a fantastic movie.
On the 5th January 1890 as his friends sit down to a dinner which he invited them to, inventor H. George Wells (Rod Taylor - Palomino) suddenly appears looking dishevelled and explaining that he had been to the future. One week earlier Wells and those same 4 friends had also shared a dinner where he informed them of his invention a time machine which would allow him to go into the past or the future. Disbelieving that Wells could invent such a thing they discourage him from such nonsense. But Wells continues and takes his time machine on a trip into the future where he watches the world change in front of his eyes to the point thousands of years into the future where two civilizations live, the simplistic Eloi and the sinister Morlocks.
The storyline to "The Time Machine" is in itself wonderfully imaginative as it takes us on a journey into the future, but before doing that it sets the scene perfectly with a dinner between scientific friends where H. George Wells appears stating that he has already been to the future before we are sent back about a week to where he first tells his friends about the time machine he has invented. Whilst not the imaginative part of the story the way this works is perfect because we have these scientist friends who doubt Wells and his so called time machine.
But the imaginative part comes from how Wells tells them about what he discovered as he went into the future watching the world change in front of his eyes, the fashions change, people die, children grow older and through various wars. He keeps going until the world basically suffers a major catastrophe and he has to go centuries into the future to find civilization again. You have to give credit to H.G. Wells's novel for painting such a fascinating picture of what the world could be like in the future with 2 civilizations the simplistic Eloi who question nothing and the Morlocks who reign over the Eloi and have a sinister side.
In turning this wonderful story into a movie, director George Pal has captured the whole fantastic journey side of things brilliantly and whilst it's simplistic, going on that journey and watching the world change, especially fashions on a mannequin in a shop window works brilliantly to capture your attention. It feels like the future is a bit cliche where we have attractive, nubile women wearing skimpy simplistic outfits, but I'm not complaining and there are flaws in the whole idea of the simplistic Eloi who know no better than to let someone drown. But it's wonderfully imaginative and that is what makes "The Time Machine" so special.
Of course being 50 years old "The Time Machine" is understandably dated, effects look spectacularly simplistic, the actual time machine looks like a seriously pimped sled and the Morlocks are not as frightening as they would be now. But there is something surprisingly charming about the whole dated look and more importantly despite being a movie full of effect driven scenes the focus is always on the storyline, the discoveries of H. George Wells on his journey into the future.
Talking of H. George Wells hunky Australian actor Rod Taylor really does a good job making him part scientist, part hero as the storyline demands. The way Taylor narrates his adventure into the future is perfect with that mix of excitement at what he discovered yet with an analytical, inquisitive side to it. In fact Taylor's performance seriously over shadows everyone else's including Yvette Mimieux who plays the attractive Weena, really bad choice of name though. And then there is Alan Young who plays both David & James Filby with shall we say a lot of acting gusto, amusingly Alan Young also ended up with a part in the 2002 remake of "The Time Machine".
What this all boils down to is that "The Time Machine" truly is a fantastic movie despite being over half a century old. Yes the effects may look a little dated but the way the story unfolds with its fascinating and imaginative look into a future where 2 civilizations, the Eloi and Morlocks live, really grabs hold of you and keeps you entertained from start to finish.