“At last, I found a paradise — but it would be no paradise if it belonged to me alone.”
A Victorian-era scientist (Rod Taylor) builds a time travel machine that allows him to travel to the very-distant future, where he meets a beautiful young woman (Yvette Mimieux) whose colony, the Elois, are ruled over by underground monsters known as Morlocks.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- George Pal Films
- H.G. Wells Films
- Rod Taylor Films
- Science Fiction
- Time Travel
- Yvette Mimieux Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “enjoyable, colorful George Pal production of H.G. Wells’s novel” has “excitement and imagination, an excellent beginning, special effects, [and] scary-looking monster men,” and notes that the “time-travel sequences are especially well done.” Peary points out that “Pal, who also directed, ignores Wells’s intention to set up two distinct classes, the workers (the Morlocks) and the decadent leisure/capitalist class (the Eloi), as well as Wells’s application of Social Darwinism to the survivors of the nuclear war,” instead focusing on “how the Eloi make the choice not to be ‘cattle’ raised for slaughter but to regain human traits (to care for one another, to love, to fight for survival, to gather their own food, to work) — which are distinct from the beastly traits of the Morlocks.”
Although it’s been quite a while since I read the original novel, I would say that Pal’s narrative choice (working with a script by David Duncan) is a smart one: seeing the opening sequence with the Eloi — in which “young, blond, ignorant, pathetic, and carefree people living in an Edenic garden” pay no attention “when a young woman… almost drowns” — reminds us that “paradise” is relative, and that beauty and comfort don’t correlate with authenticity, satisfaction, or integrity. Mimieux is appropriately beautiful and guileless as “Weena” (how does she speak English so well??), while Taylor makes a ruggedly sympathetic protagonist, someone we can easily root for along his travails — especially as it’s clear he wants nothing but the best for humanity.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Rod Taylor as George
- Vibrant cinematography and production design
- Fine special effects
Yes, for the Oscar-winning special effects and as an effective sci-fi adventure.
- Good Show
- Oscar Winner or Nominee