ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

The Time Machine (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: March 7, 2002
CAP Score: 68
CAP Influence Density: 0.66

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE TIME MACHINE (PG-13) -- ...there is not much the same as the H. G. Wells masterpiece at all.

Distributed by: Dreamworks Pictures
Director(s): Gore Verbinski, Simon Wells
Producer(s): Arnold Leibovit, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes. Jorge Saralegui, David Valdes
Written by/Screenplay: H.G. Wells (novel), David Duncan, (earlier screenplay), John Logan (screenplay) Cinematography/Camera: Donald McAlpine
Music: Klaus Badelt, James Michael Dooley, Geoff Zanelli
Editing: Wayne Wahrman

Darwin would have loved this film. H. G. Wells, the original author of "The Time Machine", would turn over in his grave if he could. The plot claims mankind has evolved over the 800,000 years since late-19th century man, splitting into two factions: the Eloi and the Morlocks. In the 22nd century, our moon was destroyed by our colonization of it and those who could survive on the surface, the Eloi, did. The rest, the Morlocks, burrowed underground. And underground life was not kind to them. Nor were they kind to the Eloi. Cannibalistically unkind.

Scientist and mathematical genius Dr. Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) of New York has been trying to unlock the secrets of time travel for a long time. One day, shortly after proposing marriage to his beloved Emma (Sienna Guillory) in Central Park, she was killed by an armed robber. The robber got everything Alexander had to give and remembered the ring Alexander just gave to Emma. Upon demanding the ring, the Alexander-Emma duo struggled with the robber to keep it and the gun discharged. The script writers are well in tune with the current trend (for the past few decades anyway) of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences in entertainment by having the robber say something to the effect "Why did you do that!?" about struggling with him, in effect saying it was Alexander's and Emma's fault Emma got shot.

Not willing to accept Emma's death, Alexander accelerated his experiments in time travel for four years. At the end of an argument with his good friend, Dr. David Philby (Mark Addy) who argues that it's time to get over Emma, Alexander requires Philby give him one more week to get back to routine. Little does Philby know that the discussion he just had with Alexander would not take place. Alexander travels back to the date of Emma's murder and leads her away from the fateful spot and into the city instead. But rather than rescuing Emma from her death, Alexander finds that he cannot change the past even by going back in it to manipulate events. One point of period accuracy in this part of the story was when Alexander kissed Emma (for the "first time" in four years) in the park -- it made those who saw it morally uncomfortable. There is a point in that which should be obvious.

Frustrated and anguished with his failure to save Emma, Alexander does a little playing around with his new toy and watches the aging of the world go by as he sits comfortably in his time machine within its protective bubble as the years go by. In one of his stops he visits a modern museum where he meets Vox (Orlando Jones) - the guy in the glass panels in the previews - a sentient and self-aware artificial intelligence computer image with the sum total of all human knowledge at his command. On another stop he witnesses the moon crumbling and being pulled into the earth. As events happen, he ends up 800,000 years into the future where he meets the Eloi and the Morlocks.

The Eloi are the peace-loving gentle side of mankind's fractionation into two "races" while the Morlocks are the evil "side" of the split of humanity. The quintessential Eloi girl Weena, the beautiful blonde and fragile girl if the original novel has been replaced with beautiful sun-darkened and self-sufficient Mara (Samantha Mumba). And, of course, we see a lot more of Mara than we've seen of Weena as Mara climbs a ladder in a dress slit up to her waste ... in the wind and when see much of Mara when she wears a course link "chain-mail" vest that hides nothing to speak of.

The original Eloi land race living in ruins are no longer blonde-haired and blue-eyed but are all sun-darkened cliff dwellers. The Morlocks are no longer photosensitive sloths but are more like apes and are fully capable of withstanding direct sunlight. And the air shafts into the underground world of the Morlocks are replaced with a single entrance shrouded by a demon reptilian jaw, much the same as the entrance to Gatorland Zoo in Florida but much uglier and foreboding ... and with bigger teeth. Indeed, there is not much the same to the H. G. Wells masterpiece at all. Literary and artistic license I guess. One parameter which stayed the same is that the Morlocks are cannibals, feeding on the Eloi, which is why there are no parents in the Eloi people.

If one could edit out the brief glimpses of pelvic/posterior region of a female and the unquestionable images of female upper anatomy through clothing, repeatedly, and some of the extreme violence, this could be a good Saturday night sci-fi flick. The special effects are awesome. But the more sexually oriented programming we are exposed to at younger and younger ages every year bit by bit by bit the more we are desensitized to His desire for us to be sexually pure [Eph. 5:5, 1 Cor 15:33]. And the more we expose ourselves to violence [Ps. 11:5. 1 Cor. 15:33] the more we are emboldened to be aggressive in our interactions with adversarial relationships. Many can and do deny these facts, but the more we deny them, the more vulnerable we become to them -- without even knowing it. To cry otherwise is spitting into the wind. It will come back to us, sooner or later.

Please be sure to check the listing of findings in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this movie is fit for your kids and/or yourselves.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person -such a man is an idolater -has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Ps. 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. [The person in "his soul hateth" is the violent one, not God. "Soul", according to Storng's, is appetite, heart, mind, desire, emotion, passion, i.e., "his heart/mind hates" or "he who loves violence has an appetite for hating and desire to hate."]

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    The Time Machine (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • robbery at gunpoint
  • traffic fatality
  • explosive startle
  • long sequence of attack for capture by grotesque demon-like creatures (Morlocks), at least seven victims of dart impalement
  • near great fall
  • sea of human remains
  • numerous attacks and presences of demon-like Morlocks
  • solo fight with Morlocks
  • grotesque decay of being
  • blood on the mouths of the cannibal Morlocks, ostensibly after eating human parts
  • several chase scenes of being chased by Morlocks

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • massive tattoos

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • brief glimpses of pelvic/posterior region of female
  • unquestionable images of female upper anatomy through clothing, repeatedly
  • brief glimpses of rear anatomy, ostensibly male, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • three uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • speaking of evolution causing demon-like creatures from man
  • mind control of others

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • gunfire murder

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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