good, but not great. (i may talk about some "spoiler" stuff here but really, you should know the basic plotline already.)
this movie allowed me to put a finger on something that's been bothering me about cinema in general for some time; it seems to me that with all the cool stuff we can do with visual effects, we've forgotten about *realism*.
realism specifically regarding character development, motivation, and action. in the first film adaptation, after the main character creates the machine, there's a good 15-20 minutes of screen time spent where he's simply *fucking around* with it, with high-tech-at-the-time stop-motion doing a decent job of conveying what the machine is and does.
the lack of such plot development in the 2002 version really killed suspension-of-disbelief for me, because any scientist would stand back, gaze upon his creation, and then decide to *test* it first, as it's difficult to save your lost love if you're dead too. i don't care *how* "driven by love/loss/etc" someone is, they're *not* going to use the maiden voyage of a newly-invented time machine to attempt the Point Of The Whole Endeavour.
which was kind of lost, by the way- i really don't think the point was made that clearly that the "answer he was searching for" (what was it again? oh yeah), the reason he couldn't change the past was because he invented the time machine in order to do so; therefore having Emma alive would create a paradox, because he'd have no reason to create the time machine.
i'm not even sure if the "real, moral" lesson they're attempting to convey is that endeavours like this should be undertaken for the gain of the species, not the individual... one would hope that's the case but the waters are just too muddy.
which does a good job of obscuring the other moral dilemma of the movie, i suppose; after watching this, the idea that killing all the molochs made for a happy ending didn't sit well with me. both races were descendant of human; what qualifies one as "fit to live" while the other is marked for death? i know i'm giving this way too much thought, but i guess the subject of genocide hadn't crossed my mind recently.
combine all of the above with the fact that the lead actor seems to have played two completely different characters at opposite ends of the flick, and this one gets my seal of "wait for dvd".
ok, i'm done.