Victorian-era professor Alexander Hartdegen builds a device in order to travel back in time and reverse a personal tragedy. But when he is flung into the future he finds himself caught up in a battle for the planet.
At first, this latest version of the H.G. Wells novel looks as solid as the titular contraption itself a heart-stirring vision of deep-buttoned leather, whirring brass and glinting lenses. Even when Guy Pearces Professor Hartdegen travels into the near future, some nifty visual trickery abounds, particularly the sight of him suspended in a time-immune bubble as the modern world sprouts up around him.
Sadly, when he is inadvertently propelled a further 800,000 years hence, to a time when mankind has devolved into two sub-species the lily-livered Eloi and the brutish Morlocks this stops being a charming boys own adventure of the old school and becomes a rubbish, by-the-numbers action movie of the new.
Jeremy Irons (looking like an albino S&M Boy George) turns up for a bit of extended exposition and a crap fight, before the worlds finely-balanced eco-system bites it in a welter of middling CGI.
An engaging first half, sporting shades of the novel and George Pals 1960 movie, is badly let down by slavish adherence to the rules of modern action cinema. Too much CGI, not enough H.G..