Director Simon Wells reduces his great grandfather’s cautionary novel about science versus humanity and the clash of castes to a brisk but thematically toothless monster movie. Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential) stars as a nerdy mathematics professor whose fiancée (Sienna Guillory) is murdered during a Central Park robbery. He becomes obsessed with building a machine that allows him to travel through time and maybe control fate. He eventually careens 800,000 years into the future where mankind has evolved into two species: an underground horde of cannibals called Morlocks ruled by an albino (Jeremy Irons as Edgar Winters lookalike), and cliffside, pod-dwelling pacifists called the Eloi. At this point, the film becomes a sort of Planet of the Apes as the mousy inventor-turned-action hero urges his new friends to fight back before they are turned into human lunchables as common sense is supplanted with wave after wave of computer graphics.