The Forgotten Guy Pearce Adaptation Of Sci-Fi’s Most Important Novel On Streaming Will Blow Your Mind

By April Ryder | Published

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The Guy Pearce 2002 film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel, The Time Machine, is back in rotation on Amazon Prime Video. If you missed it in book form, there’s also a 1960 film adaptation by the same name. 

The story of Guy Pearce’s The Time Machine (2002) is a loose adaptation of the original book, as several elements of the story were shifted to better appeal to moviegoers of the time. For instance, the movie is set in New York City instead of London. 

Guy Pearce stars in 2002’s The Time Machine, streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The newest adaptation of The Time Machine with Guy Pearce also includes a romantic subplot, a different reason why civilization met its end, and a few new characters. The movie’s main character Alexander gets to converse with a highly intelligent AI hologram that wasn’t originally a character in the story, and there is a new Morlock leader introduced in the 2002 film. 

The story of the 2002 version of The Time Machine centers on Dr. Alexander Hardegen (Guy Pearce), an inventor and teacher working for Columbia University in an 1899 version of New York. He is a man who loves to devote his time to research rather than business, unlike his best friend, David Philby (Mark Addy). 

guy pearce
Guy Pearce in The Time Machine (2002)

After losing his beloved fiance, Emma, to a murderous mugger, Guy Pearce’s Alexander begins devoting all of his time and energy to the invention of a time machine, hoping he will somehow be able to go back in time and save her life. 

He completes The Time Machine in just three years and travels back to 1899 to save Emma. He is successful in preventing the mugger from killing her, but she is swiftly killed again when a carriage frightens the horses of another vehicle. 

The Time Machine is based on the 1895 novella of the same name by H.G. Wells

Upon realizing that Emma will die no matter what he does to save her, Guy Pearce’s character travels to the future for answers. In 2030, he talks to a holographic librarian at the New York Public Library who informs him that traveling back in time is impossible. 

After traveling to 2037, the inventor finds that humans have not only destroyed the livability of the Earth, but they have led to the destruction of the Moon as well. While attempting to move to another time in The Time Machine, Alexander is knocked unconscious by falling debris and he doesn’t wake up until the time machine reaches the year 802701. 

In 802701, Guy Pearce finds himself in a whole new world. The Earth has healed from the damage humans caused, and humans have reverted back to a more primitive way of living. 

The Time Machine (2002)

The survivors of the transition call themselves “Eloi” and they live in little cocoon-like dwellings on the side of cliffs that were once Manhattan. There, Alexander is nursed back to health by a lady named Mara (Samantha Mumba). After building a strong bond with the woman, Alex’s journey begins to shift. 

Guy Pearce and his new friend, Mara, encounter the Morlocks along the way. The Morlocks are the descendants of the humans who went underground to survive the destruction of the Earth and Moon. Their actions in The Time Machine quickly prove that they are not a kind species, but the leaders of their race are telepathic and quite powerful. 

In 802701, Guy Pearce finds himself in a whole new world.

With a little help from an old friend, Alexander and Kalen (Mara’s brother) work to outsmart the Morlocks and save the day. The action and adventure of the sci-fi story are engaging and intriguing to those who love a solid post-apocalyptic tale. 

When Guy Pearce’s The Time Machine was released in theaters, it made more than $20 million and topped the charts at number one during its opening weekend. Overall, the film grossed more than $120 million worldwide. 

The Time Machine (2002)

Though The Time Machine seemed to be a box office success, critics didn’t take as kindly to the film. Rotten Tomatoes only gave the movie a 28 percent positive rating on the Tomatometer. 

The general consensus of the critics was aimed towards the shift in the storyline. The storyline of Guy Pearce and The Time Machine starts out as a story of lost love, and it shifts somewhere along the way into an action-adventure film. 

Regardless of what the critics say about the film, The Time Machine is a worthy watch. You can find it streaming now on Amazon Prime Video for free to those who have a subscription.