Directed by: George Pal
Starring: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux
This movie is beautiful. I love all the set design, the costumes, not to mention the titular time machine itself, who’s design has become one of the classic icons of science fiction. I even love the goofy-ass morlocks because they’re just so unapologetically cartoonish and they use that to their advantage. Usually I hate time travel in movies with a passion, but you really can’t take any fault with H.G. Wells’ original story.
A 19th century inventor comes up with a strange idea: That time is a fourth dimension through which one could travel, and he’s built a machine specifically for that purpose. Instead of wanting to go back into the past, he immediately starts going to the future, where he passes through both world wars and finally is trapped inside a mountain after a nuclear holocaust. He travels hundreds of thousands of years into the future to find that humanity has split into two factions, the peaceful and benign Eloi who live above ground and the monstrous cannibalistic monsters, the Morlocks. He takes it upon himself to try and free the Eloi from their enslavement and teach them how to learn and provide for themselves again.
It’s probably not THE first story about time travel ever, but it’s certainly the first one that got the idea into the mass consciousness. For that, I kinda hate it. Kinda. It’s incredibly unfair to dislike something because of what it’s influenced, but that’s just one of the many wonderful downsides of a hundred years of creativity building on an original piece.