2002 Film Poster

The Time Machine is the title of the 2002 version of The Time Machine. The previous theatrically released film was The Time Machine (1960 Film).

The movie drastically re-imagines the Time Machine story, setting it in New York City of the same era as the novel rather than England. The Eloi and Morlocks are both extremely different from their novel counterparts, with the Eloi being a cliff-dwelling tribal group and the Morlocks a race bred into differing casts for specific purposes.

The film was directed by Simon Wells, the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, the original novel's author.


Hartdegen ruins
Guy Pearce
as Prof. Alexander Hartdegen
Samantha Mamba
as Mara
David Filby
Mark Addy
as David Filby
Uber Morlock
Jeremy Irons
as the Uber-Morlock
Phyllida Law
as Mrs. Watchett
Vox 114
Orlando Jones
as Vox NY-114


A scientist named Alexander Hartdegen is determined to invent a Time Machine to restore his murdered fiance to life. The machine worked, but he soon learned he couldn't change fixed events in the past that led to the creation of the machine. Instead, he traveled to the far future, encountering a tribe of Eloi living in the future canyon made by the Hudson River.

Plot Edit

In 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen is a young inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his conservative friend David Philby, Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the world of business. After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time and save her. When he completes the machine four years later, he travels back to 1899 and prevents her murder, only to see her killed again when a horseless carriage frightens the horses of a horse-drawn vehicle, trampling her.[4]

Alexander soon realizes that any attempt to save Emma will invariably result in her death through other circumstances. Distraught, Alexander travels forward in time to 2030 to discover if, by then, science has been able to solve his question of how to change the past, thus determining whether Emma's life can be saved. At the New York Public Library, a holographic librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel is impossible, so Alexander continues travels to 2037, when the accidental destruction of the Moon by lunar colonists has begun rendering the Earth virtually uninhabitable. While restarting the time machine to avoid falling debris, Alexander is knocked unconscious and accidentally travels 800 millennia into the future, at which point, he regains consciousness and stops the machine in the year 802,701.

By this time, the human race has reverted to a primitive lifestyle, and the Earth has healed. Some survivors, called "Eloi", live on the sides of cliffs of what was once Manhattan. Alexander is nursed back to health by a girl named Mara, one of the few Eloi who speak English. During his time in their village he observes the broken moon and feels personally responsible and guilty, suggesting that maybe his teachings lead to this. One night, Alexander and Mara's young brother, Kalen, dream of a frightening, jagged-toothed face and the leader Morlock calling their name. Alexander informs Mara of the dream and she tells him they all have that dream, and he notices that his watch is now missing. The next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters. The creatures are called "Morlocks" and they hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functioning after 800,000 years.

After learning from Vox how to find the Morlocks, Alexander enters their underground lair through an opening that resembles the face in his nightmare. He is almost immediately captured and thrown into an area where Mara sits in a cage. There he meets an intelligent, humanoid Morlock, who explains that Morlocks are the evolutionary descendants of the humans who went underground after the Moon broke apart, while the Eloi are evolved from those who remained on the surface. The humanoid Morlocks are a caste of telepaths who rule the other Morlocks.

The Morlock explains that Alexander cannot alter Emma's fate, because her death is what drove him to build the time machine in the first place: therefore suggesting that saving her would be a virtual impossibility via temporal paradox. He then reveals that the Morlocks have brought the time machine underground, and tells Alexander to get into it and return home. Alexander asks the Morlock leader for his watch back which he returns to him referring to it as a memory suggesting a link between them. The Morlock leader also gives Alexander the answer to why can't he change the past. Alexander gets into the machine but also pulls the Morlock in with him, carrying them into the future as they fight. The Morlock dies by rapidly aging when Alexander pushes him outside of the machine's temporal bubble. Alexander then stops over six hundred million years in the future in the year 635,427,810, revealing a harsh, rust-colored sky over a wasteland of Morlock caves.

Finally accepting that he cannot save Emma, Alexander travels back to rescue Mara. After freeing her, he starts the time machine and jams its gears, creating a violent distortion in time. Though pursued by the Morlocks, Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as the time distortion explodes, killing the Morlocks and destroying their caves along with the time machine. Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi in 802,701.

In 1903, Philby and Mrs. Watchit, Alexander's housekeeper, are in his laboratory discussing his absence. Philby tells Mrs. Watchit he is glad that Alexander has gone to a place where he can find peace, then tells her that he would like to hire her as a housekeeper, which she accepts until Alexander returns. Mrs. Watchit bids Alexander farewell and Philby leaves, looking toward the laboratory affectionately, then throws his bowler hat away in tribute to Alexander's distaste for conformity.

Differences from the Book and the 1960s FilmEdit

  • The Time Traveler, in the book and in the 60's film, never had a romantic partner (before he time travels). His motivation to build the machine was simply scientific curiosity.
  • The Eloi in this film are not childlike creatures, but instead a very intelligent and capable tribe of people. Like the original book, they don't speak English, with a few exceptions.
  • The Morlocks are much more powerful than their previous incarnations. They're also bred into three "castes", including the Uber-Morlock, Hunter Morlocks, and Spy Morlocks.
  • Vox 114 is absent in the 60's film.


The Time Machine movies & TV
Films 1949 production1960 filmSleeper1978 TV movieTime After TimeDie Rückkehr der Zeitmaschine2002 filmTime KidMorlocks
TV Series Time After Time
Shorts The Journey Back
Guest appearances & Cameos Doctor WhoLois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanG vs EWishbonePower Rangers: Mystic ForceWarehouse 13
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