Clockstoppers

Bomb Rating: 

Obviously, being trapped in his own "Star Trek" reality warp for ten years didn't lend (director Jonathan) Frakes much ability to communicate with audiences that aren't wearing Spock ears and talking back to the screen in Klingon.

For some reason, I was actually looking forward to seeing this, which just goes to show you I ought to jam a corkscrew in my urethra and spend the day trying to uncork my penis the next time that thought crosses my mind. The concept seemed to have promise -- some kids have a watch that allows them to speed up their molecules to such a degree that everyone else is moving so slowly as to be effectively immobilized.

Unfortunately, this movie is nothing like Nicholson Baker's book "The Fermata," in which the protagonist can stop time and basically waits until every hot woman he sees jumps in the shower. What does our hero, Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) do? He goes bike-riding with the new girl, Francesca (Paula Garc├ęs). Bike riding, for Christ's sake! Zak is 16 years old and this is all he can think to do with his nifty time-stopping watch? (Suggestions: Francesca undresses. Use watch. Francesca showers. Use watch. Francesca invites all her female friends over for naked pillow fighting. Use watch.)

Actually, the blame for this lack of imagination lies not with Zak so much as with director Jonathan Frakes. Obviously, being trapped in his own "Star Trek" reality warp for ten years didn't lend Frakes much ability to communicate with audiences that aren't wearing Spock ears and talking back to the screen in Klingon. And to think I hadn't learned this lesson from watching everything William Shatner ever did after "Star Trek."

In one particularly painful scene, Dr. Earl Dopler (French Stewart) warns Zak to not get the watch wet. To think Dopler went to all the trouble to make the time-stopping watch, yet didn't bother to spray it with a coat of Scotch Guard. Somehow, the watch works for a bit, then breaks. The bad guys, led by Henry Gates (Michael Biehn), also have watches but for whatever reason don't choose to use them until it's too late to matter. Zak ends up in the hospital and the bad guys only think to turn their watches on after Zak gets his working again.

Here's my point: The bad guys, had they used their watches from the start, could have shot and stabbed and dismembered and immolated Zak and then staged it to look like an Enron-style suicide. Apparently, nobody on the film, including the scriptwriters, bothered to give a second's thought to the more complex implications of this technology. By film's end, the only clock that seemed frozen was my watch as I waited for this disastrous movie to be over.

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