The Time Machine

Factual error: When Philby and Alexander are talking about Albert Einstein, Alexander mentions that Einstein is a patent clerk. The beginning of this movie takes place in the year 1899. Einstein was still in school and didn't become a patent clerk until 1902.

Continuity mistake: At the very beginning of the movie, the clock on the wall strikes three o'clock. In the next scene, when Philby reminds Alexander of his date with Emma, he tells Alexander that it's close to five.

Other mistake: With how fast Alexander is traveling through time, when the pendant falls out of the time machine, he shouldn't be able to see it fall or hear it hitting the ground.

Other mistake: When the Über-Morlock grabs Alexander by the neck because Alexander said it was a pervertion to every natural law you can see the Über-Morlok's thumb nail is unsticking and starts to slide sideways.


Deliberate mistake: When Alexander is travelling to the future for the first time, it shows a speedy acceleration of the events around him. However, the planes that are seen flying by are moving at normal speeds, or at least speeds way too slow since they should be moving too fast to even see, since skyscrapers are being built in a matter of seconds.

Factual error: In the middle of the movie, when Alexander is traveling through time and the landscape around him is evolving, the geologic sequence makes no sense. It shows sand and dust covering what was once New York, then water forming into a river and wearing down the gorge, and then a glacier covering the area. The glacier would have exerted hundreds of millions of tons of pressure on the land, smoothing out the gorge that had worn down through the sedimentary rock. The glacier would then have melted into the hollow it had formed, much like the Great Lakes. It would have made more sense for the glacier to have come first, then retreated and melted to form a river that carved out the gorge.

Factual error: When Alexander makes his first trip into the past, you can see the second hand of the pocket watch turning backward. The hand is jumping second by second. This is a mistake. A quartz watch (battery powered watch of our times) would do it this way, but a mechanical one from 1903 would turn backwards the same way it turns forward: 5 steps per second, which for the untrained eye looks like a smooth movement.

Visible crew/equipment: When Alexander hears the child scream a foreign language and hears others, he looks down. As the others are climbing up the ropes and ladders, a safety strap "KEEPER" is seen holding one of the platforms up.

Joseph Z

Revealing mistake: When Alex uses his time machine for the last time to destroy the Morlocks, watch the closeup of his machine when it's activated. In the lower left hand side of the machine you'll see Alex's laboratory in the background. This is confirmed by director Simon Wells himself in the DVD commentary.

Revealing mistake: During Alexander's long journey, it shows an elaborate geological sequence. It shows the area turning to desert and then trees and plants begin to grow. If you look at the background, trees grow up, then shrink in the same manner instead of dying and falling over. The special effects crew just reversed the growing sequence.

Continuity mistake: The operation of the Time Machine has no continuity. In the beginning of the film, both when he goes backward and forward in time, Alexander has to activate the machine and it sort of warms up: The glass blades spin and open outward, the cones of light open up in sequence, and the light bubble slowly envelopes the machine. But when he is escaping the destruction of New York and when he fights with the Morlock, both times he just throws the lever forward and the machine speeds off with no preliminary activity.

Factual error: While we can only speculate about the imagined physics that allows the time machine to operate, we see that when Alexander accidentally puts his hand outside the protection of his machine's 'force field' during travel to the future, the fingernails grow by at least five millimetres before he snatches his hand back in pain. This amount of growth indicates that his hand has experienced at least a month while outside the field. Since his blood vessels inside the field would only be supplying a few seconds worth of blood, his hand would be starved of oxygen and therefore dead and well into decomposition by the time he manages to get it back within the field. His only option would be immediate amputation to prevent gangrene in his arm.

Other mistake: When Vox, the New York Library database, is bidding farewell to Professor Hartdegen, it states, "live long and prosper" while holding up the hand shape Mr. Spock used in the original "Star Trek" series. It is produced incorrectly. The thumb should not be next to the forefinger. It should be extended at an angle from the other fingers, so the hand represents the Hebrew letter "shin." This, as Leonard Nimoy has explained, is derived from a hand gesture used by Orthodox Jewish rabbis during blessing rituals.

Michael Albert

Continuity mistake: When Alex uses his first time machine to travel into the past, one can only assume he follows the same procedure that is shown when he travels into the future for the first time; it is simply not shown the first time to inspire awe and suspense. That said, when Alex is finished traveling to the future for the first time, both smaller spinning discs do not fold outwards as they were before it's use. Before he uses it to travel to the future though, you see the shot of the machine's light being wrapped around the machine as the discs gain speed. If the discs did not fold out when done traveling into the past, then they would not have done so after he traveled into the past. He obviously did not set them back either, because he can use the machine again without doing so.

Revealing mistake: When Alexander is about to wake up at the end of his journey from 2037 to 802,701, it cuts to a shot of the year display counter on his machine. The 100,000's digit is spinning just as fast as the 1's digit and all the others, rolling over several times without the millions digit moving. If the counter was moving correctly, as it is in all other shots of it, then the 100,000's digit should be moving slowly, or the millions digit should also be moving.

Continuity mistake: When Alexander drops and grabs the necklace, his hand sticks out of the time machine. His nails grow. In many scenes after that his nails return to normal.

Visible crew/equipment: In the widescreen version, when Alexander stops his time machine in the year 2030, he lowers the steps to get off. As he's doing this you can see the reflection of a few crew members in the pressure gauge located by the steps. (00:28:00 - 00:28:55)

Continuity mistake: After the final fight is over, most of the blood on Alexander's face, and especially the blood in his mouth, disappears.

Factual error: The motor-carriage that is seen outside the skating rink and later on the street by the flower shop, has current bicycle type tires (metal rims and spokes). Most vehicles of the time had wooden rims and spokes, lined with rubber.

Plot hole: When Alexander is traveling into the future and goes through the ice age he is visibly affected by the extreme cold temperature outside the time bubble. However when he stops in the future when the moon had been destroyed then continues he is not affected by the explosions and extreme heat around him. Based on the effect the extreme cold had on him (frost on his face and hair) he should have been roasted alive.


Uber-Morlock: You built your time machine because of Emma's death. If she had lived, it would never have existed. So how could you use your machine to go back to save her?

More quotes from The Time Machine

Trivia: The director of the movie, Simon Wells, is the great grandson of H.G. Wells.


More trivia for The Time Machine

Question: What happened to Alex's journals and equations when he left on his trip?

Answer: When Alexander is travelling through time, he sees everything in his lab being removed very quickly, so the equations on his board were most likely erased and his journals were probably thrown away.

More questions & answers from The Time Machine

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