Do you ever get curious what movies you watched as a child would be like if you saw them again as an adult?
The 2002 version of The Time Machine stayed in my memory in a way that I thought was overall vague but specific in certain points. When I watched it again, I found that I did remember just about the whole movie--it's just that it's kind of a succinct movie, so there isn't much to remember. I just thought that there must have been more.
I must have been around eleven when I saw it that first time around. It was a little more . . . suspenseful at eleven. Now, I was struck mostly by how much it is not the H.G. Wells story. I mean, that's one of those stories that isn't really a story but more of a socio-political commentary and discussion, so naturally any movie versions are going to veer sharply away. But this one is so far away that it's almost surprising it even has the same name; it's its own thing.
It's funny, I remembered pretty much the whole plot from the first time around, even down to specific scenes. But I'd forgotten the theme--if indeed I even got it back then. Funny how something so simply might not necessarily stand out when you're young.
So in this movie, this man builds the time machine so that he can go back and prevent his fiancee from dying. But she just dies in a different way. So he can change the way she dies but not the fact that she dies. He ends up in the future instead and at the end, he finds a way to change the future using his time machine in a non-traditional way. The theme, then, is that the past is over and you must move forward from it in what way you can--and it's the future that you have the power to influence. A simple theme, to be sure, and yet that makes it no less powerful.
What do you regret about the past? The past can't change, no matter how much we would like it to. The future, though, that's all open. If you want better, make the future better.