Movie Reviews

Clockstoppers

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 8 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Clockstoppers (Double Sided)
Cast:
Jesse Bradford as Zak Gibbs
French Stewart as Dr. Earl Dopler
Paula Garcťs as Francesca DeLaCruz
Michael Biehn as Henry Gates
Robin Thomas as Dr. George Gibbs
Jason Winston George as Richard
Linda Kim as Jay
Julia Sweeney as Mom
Lindze Letherman as Kelly
Jeff Ricketts as Officer Meyers
Garikayi Mutambirwa as Meeker
Nicole Kathryn as Sunshine
Dwight Armstrong as Nose-Ring Boy
Rachel Arieff
Caroline Fogarty as Convention Worker
Jodie Milks as Amy
Brad 'Chip' Pope as Slacker Eddy

Summary:
For a movie based on one special effects gimmick, Clockstoppers is surprisingly entertaining.

Story:
Zak Gibbs is a typical teenager who is interested in girls, cycling, and making money for a new car. However, he has a strained relationship with his father who is a professor at a local university. He feels that his father gives more attention to his students than him. Little does Zak know that one of his fatherís old students, Dr. Dopler, has him secretly helping out on a top-secret device. Dopler has created a watch that speeds up the molecules of the wearer and anything he comes in contact with. To the person wearing the watch, it appears that the world around them has slowed to a barely perceptible crawl.

When Zak accidentally comes into possession of the watch, he and his newfound friend Francesca have fun with it by playing practical jokes and observing the beauty of a frozen world. However, the owners of the watch discover that Dopler has allowed one of the watches to be released and they want it back. Thus begins a cat and mouse game between Zak and the owners to get it back. Things become even more complicated when they kidnap Zakís Dad to help finish the project.

Clockstoppers is rated PG for action violence and mild language.

What Worked:
Since this movie was a Nickelodeon kids film and it was pretty much based on one special effect, I didnít have very high hopes for it. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually very entertaining. At times it felt a little like Honey, I Shrunk The Kids while at other times it felt a little like Back to the Future. Both had wacky science and average teens thrown into incredible adventures.

The time freezing effects were a little like the bullet-time effect from The Matrix. However, the creators of Clockstoppers stopped just short of imitating that film. Rather than having their hero dodge bullets, they had him look at water frozen in mid-air and such. It was a pretty cool effect though it has been done many, many times.

I thought the film explored the whole time freezing concept very well. The first time Zak activates the time freezing feature is funny. Of all the things to happen, he encounters a frozen opossum. Itís an odd way to start the adventure, but it was amusing. The movie goes on to show the kids playing pranks, helping out their friends, having a car chase through frozen traffic, and more. The movie also answers the question of what would happen if you activated a second watch while the first was already in effect. Overall I think they did a great job of playing with the different aspects of it.

The actors did a good job in the movie. French Stewart added some much needed comic relief as the wacky scientist and inventor of the watch. Jesse Bradford does a decent job as the teen hero. However, Paula Garcťs is the person most guys will be interested in. Sheís beautiful and exotic and holds her own in this picture. I have a feeling weíll be seeing a lot more of her in future movies. She also has a great Star Trek line that is a tip Ďo the hat to Clockstoppers director Jonathan Frakes.

Overall Clockstoppers is a fun movie that I think both kids and adults will enjoy. I wouldnít mind seeing a sequel.

What Didn't Work:
I donít have many complaints about this film. After all, itís a kids movie and itís hard to be overly critical in light of that. But though the film operates by fuzzy, Disney science, itís still occasionally breaks its own rules. For example, it is pretty well established that people and objects are only put into hyperspeed if they are touching the person wearing the watch when it is activated. However, things donít always stick to this rule during the story. Zak will run by a tree while heís in hyperspeed, but it swings normally. Other little things like that happen throughout the film. Itís probably nitpicking, but there you have it.

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