The Time Machine

  • Review Date: May 3, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A good movie based on H.G. Wells' classic novel.
  • Review Date: May 3, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 96 minutes





What parents need to know


Characters killed Intense peril, scary monsters





Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some graphic violence, including tense peril. Some characters die.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE TIME MACHINE centers around Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce), an absent-minded professor back around the turn of the last century. He's so caught up in his formulas that he's lost track of time. With a little help from a friend and a devoted housekeeper, he is cleaned up and sent off for an important appointment. He wants to propose to Emma (Sienna Guillory). He races off, finds her ice-skating, and asks her to marry him. She accepts and he is overjoyed. Then tragedy strikes, and she is killed. Alexander becomes a recluse, obsessed with finding a way to go back in time and change the past. He works for years and then invents a time machine. He goes back in time to find Emma, only to learn that the past cannot be changed. So he goes forward in time. 800,000 years in the future, Alexander discovers the Eloi, a race of gentle people with a terrible secret they do not dare to tell him, and he learns to think about challenging the future, instead of the past.

Is it any good?


Based on H.G. Wells' classic science fiction novel, and with a passing nod to the 1960 movie version with Rod Taylor, this is a showy and entertaining story about an idea everyone has dreamed of: having power over time. Clocks appear throughout the story, sometimes playing an important role, as when Alexander's watch is stolen and when he uses it at a crucial moment. And the issues of the role of history and learning to move on from great loss are also thoughtfully presented.

The art direction is striking, from the intricate Victorian machinery to the balloon-like homes of the Eloi. Pearce's performance seems overwhelmed by all that is going on around him, but Orlando Jones is delightful as a virtual repository of all human knowledge, pop singer Samantha Mumba has a strong, sweet presence as the Eloi teacher who befriends Alexander, and Jeremy Irons is shiver-inducingly evil as the creature who prizes his own survival above everything. The director of the movie, Simon Wells, has two special qualifications. He is an expert at animation, which helped with the special effects. And he is the great-grandson of the author of the book.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about where they would go if they had a time machine. Would you travel to the past or the future? What would they change if they could? Characters in this story make choices about what to accept and what to fight ? choices that turn out to be wrong. How do you decide? How do you decide what problems to talk about, and what to ignore?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 8, 2002
DVD release date:July 23, 2002
Cast:Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Mark Addy
Director:Simon Wells
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:peril and sci-fi violence

This review of The Time Machine was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous December 22, 2009

A perfect present for a hated foe.

I hated this movie and you should not watch it. Children may be frightened of the "Morlock" branch of future humans, and they will DEFINITELY be frightened by the moon breaking up and crashing on Earth. Too much doomsday, too much violence, completely silly scenes involving things that would never happen such as a character that can read minds, and a very bad plot design.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Excellent remake - too intense for sensitive viewers

I really liked this movie. It was well done and seemed very believable. My 10 year old daughter was very upset by the too scary monsters. I recommend it though for older kids that are not on the sensitive side.
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Decent Sci-Fi Action Movie

The Original Movie was better


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