The Time Machine

Corrected entry: When the time traveller goes back into the past and alters the way in which his girlfriend dies, wouldn't the him from that time still go ahead and devise time travel, and therefore go back to save her. Only this time, when he saves her from being hit he should run into himself.

Correction: The Uber-Morlock said to Alex that he built his time machine because of his fiance's death and that if he had succeeded in saving her life, his time machine would never have been invented; therefore he couldn't use it to go back and save her.

Corrected entry: After Emma is hit by the carriage, the next scene shows David consoling Alexander. Yet Alexander, we soon learn, is the Alexander who came from the future to save Emma, not the one who would have been arriving at the park for her. Presumably, by the time David is consoling him, the present-day Alexander would have left the park and found out about Emma's accident, making for pretty good odds that he would have run into his future self (or at least confused several of his friends) going to see Emma.

Correction: The key words here are "presumably" and "pretty good odds", which make the whole statement speculation. It is impossible to say exactly what present-day Alexander would do, or for how long he would have waited in the park, so he could just as well have been doing something else than what the submitter expects.


Corrected entry: Just before Alexander climbs into the machine for the first time we see a clear shot of the seat with nothing obscuring it from our side whatsoever. He then climbs in, puts the control lever in, and then releases a brake lever on his right that *should* have been visible in the previous shot.

Correction: If you pay close attention, the brake lever is there when he goes to sit in the machine.

Corrected entry: The Time Machine is steam powered. They make this very obvious with Alexander thumping the steam gauge when he first starts it up and during the fight with the Morlock at the end. However, there is no source of fuel for a boiler on the machine. By traveling in a steam time machine without carrying fuel, he would face the prospect of landing somewhere where there was nothing to burn to get himself back (for example when he found himself in an ice age toward the end of the film). Granted he originally built the machine only to travel backwards four years and where fuel would be available, but not having at least a coal scuttle on the machine seems shortsighted.

Correction: Character mistake. It is possible to forget things like this, especially when, as the submitter says, he was not planning to go anyplace where fuel would be in scarce supply.


Corrected entry: When Alexander is preparing to board the Time Machine for the first time and go back to save Emma, he selects the pocketwatch she gave him. He is shown setting the hands, closing the case, and placing it in his pocket. However, the watch is obviously not wound. The seconds hand is not moving in the closeup and the watch is not making any sound.

Correction: Character mistake. He had been quite excited recently, nearing the completion of his project and going back in time to see his girlfriend again, so he had simply forgotten to wind the watch.


Corrected entry: Alexander kills the Morlock leader by hanging him outside the time machine and going forward in time. Shouldn't the Morlock then reappear when Alexander comes back from that future time to save the girl from the cage? He had already proven that events reverse when he travelled back in time to try to save Emma.


Correction: Simple. The Morlock leader fell off the Time Machine somewhere between the thousands AD and the millions AD. So, when the Machine travelled back to the thousands AD, his lifeless body would not have been carried back, and would therefore not come back to life as a result of the time reversal.

Corrected entry: The light bulbs in Alexander's laboratory are frosted. Frosted bulbs were not invented until later. The bulbs should be clear with the filaments visible for that period.

Correction: A man who invents a time machine without claiming credit, publishing his design or registering a patent, for a time machine, can also similarly have other unknown, uncelebrated inventions. It is plausible to think that such a man can have invented a frosted light bulb for his own personal use, before they were invented and mass produced by another person.

Corrected entry: In the scene in which Alexander meets the Eloi people for the first time, he is barefoot since he had just gotten dressed after waking up from a coma or something. In the next scene, Alexander is talking to Marla in her home at night, and he is wearing his boots. When did he put them on?

Correction: This one's easy. There was scene change. Thats when he did it.

Corrected entry: When we first see the time machine, it's hidden behind drapery. After the drapery is pulled back we see the glass atrium all around the machine. If he really wanted to keep it hidden, why place it where it's surrounded by clear glass?

Correction: The large atrium was presumably the only place in the house that had the room for the time machine to be built.

Corrected entry: The librarian said that an Eloi escaped the moorlocks, and that they talked for years. Why didn't this Eloi go home? I mean, it shouldn't have been hard to find it, even after a few weeks.

Correction: Maybe he didn't want to? This is not an error. Just your opinion of what you would do if it was you.

Corrected entry: After Alexander knocks the Moorlock leader out of his time machine and he is just hanging in space, he only blinks once. If he was hanging in space until he died of hunger, wouldn't he blink more than once, or maybe sleep?

Correction: No one knows how a time machine works. Maybe he just aged and died in the seconds he hung when the creature dies in the blast of the time machine exploding.

Corrected entry: The Eloi retain knowledge of English by reading engraved text in stone. Yet their pronunciation is perfect and they know words (i.e. "ghost") which are unlikely to be found in stone tablets.

Correction: They had the fotonic librarian, too. And the language didn't die when the moon crashed. It just evolved.

Corrected entry: The time machine is built in Alexander's workshop and doesn't move from that precise spot until the very end of the movie, and the machine itself is not mobile. When Alexander goes to the past, he no doubt appears in his workshop, which exists in that time period and is inhabited by his past self. It seems a little odd he is able to appear in the workshop, leave, take his past self's place, then return back to the workshop and leave for the future completely unseen by his past self or the housekeeper. If he appeared in the past before his past self got back from teaching, he would have left the time machine in plain view in the work shop, where his past self would arrive to find it. He couldn't have appeared after his past self and Mr Filby left, because he was early meeting Emma, and his past self was late.

Correction: It may have been possible for the future Alexander to beat his past version to the park even if he left later because the past Alexander seemed extremely easily distracted. He may have stopped more times than just the one time shown.

Corrected entry: The time machine seems to obey gravity, otherwise the main character would experience weightlessness in his bubble, and the machine would emerge in some desolate area of space after travelling so much as a second - the Earth, solar system, and the whole galaxy all move trough the Universe at phenomenal speeds. As the character continuously sees what's happening outside, we deduce that for every moment between the time the machine starts travelling and the time it stops, the machine is still present at its place, but "phased out" somehow so that it doesn't interact with matter, only with radiation such as light - if it did interact with matter, anything solid passing trough the same place as the time machine would have hit it. Now if the machine obeys gravity but doesn't interact with solid matter, shouldn't it fall into the center of the Earth?

Correction: Perhaps it is designed to interact with not gravity, but Earth's magnetic field? That is just as powerful as gravity and would keep the time machine in the same spot. (It's not a perfect explanation but answers most of the problems in this mistake.)

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: I keep on wondering, why did the moorloc leader fall for Alex's trap. Surely if he was such a good telepath that he could make Alex see things, it would have only taken few seconds for him to look in Alex's mind, see the trick and do something about it.

Correction: Not if A. Alex did it on the spur of the moment and didn't spend any time thinking about it, and B. the leader Morlock was a product of breeding to increase intelligence at the expense of strength. Alex was considerably faster and stronger and was able to get the drop on him even if the Morlock did see it coming.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Alexander is told he can't change the past because his fiance's death is why he built the time machine. Judging by all the clocks and equations in his home and schoolroom, he might have been working on it anyway. Just seems like a weak paradox.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: Yes he was working on the time machine before her death. However, he wouldn't have been obsessed with it, and as shown to him later, he would have eventually stopped working on it once he had kids.

Corrected entry: Why doesn't Alexander use the time machine to go back in time and prevent Mara from being captured? The head Morlock says the reason that Alexander cannot change the past, prevent his girlfriend from dying specifically, is because that is what prompted him to create the time machine, thus creating a paradox. OK. The only thing Alexander shouldn't be able to change is the death, or anything related to it, of his girlfriend. Anything after that should be fair game.

Charles Fraser

Correction: He would have no chances against the morlocks, and even if he saves her once, they still would have to fear the Morlocks. In fact he already had the idea to destroy the Morlocks with a time wave, by manipulating his time machine with the clock as he was in the future and sees that the Morlocks had spread all over and destroyed the environment. This was the best chance for the Eloi.

Corrected entry: When he is with the girl from the future and her son, the son says, "we are getting ready for the mor." He speaks in all English so he should say night but he doesn't, he says mor.

Maureen Mintzer

Correction: This is intended, because Kalen does not know the English word for night, so he says it in Eloi.

Corrected entry: Somehow the time machine always manages to halt travelling through time (even by accident) when there are no objects obstructing its placement, and at ground-level (despite millions of years of geological change). For some reason, future New York City built an alleyway right where the time machine was.

Correction: Actually, there are. When the traveller is knocked out in his machine, he advances millions of years through time and is covered by snow. As long as he's in the blue shield, he and his machine are protected from the effects of time. It's also demonstrated when the Moorlock fell out side the protective shield while it was travelling through time and aged thousands of years instantly. He also chooses when to stop travelling, like in the alleyway, so he can stop there and look around. Keep in mind he's only there for a split second too, so it's not likely he will suddenly stop in a wall.

Corrected entry: The Eloi "leader" doesn't know the stone language. The next day, he is nearly fluent.

Correction: In the first instance, Mara breaks in on her own immediately after Alexander says he doesn't understand the Eloi language. It's not that he doesn't know it, it's that he never attempts to speak the stone language until confronted by Alexander the next day.

Jason Sieberg

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.

More mistakes in The Time Machine

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: At the end of the movie, when Mrs. Watchitt is standing in the doorway, there is a picture of H.G. Wells hanging on the wall behind her.

More trivia for The Time Machine

Question: How is the hologram artificial intelligence system still operational and has power after 800,000 years?

Answer: We don't know what kind of power supply the AI system is running upon, but it's possible it's a system that works on some unlimited energy source that doesn't need fuel or uses very little energy.


Answer: It's a plot hole. Just as, in the original 1960 George Pal movie, the Eloi are still human and speaking 20th Century English. After 802,000 years, all artifacts and traces of our modern civilization will be long, long, long vanished (excepted perhaps for a handful of fossilized bones). Additionally, after such a long time, the human species will probably be long extinct.

Charles Austin Miller

More questions & answers from The Time Machine

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