Review: “Clockstoppers”

Back when I was a kid, the one comic I read religiously wasn’t some costumed superhero tale – it was “Uncle Scrooge”. Anyhow one of the more famous stories by the acclaimed artist Don Rosa involved the Beagle Boys using a time-stopping stopwatch to steal cash from Scrooge’s money bin which lead to a chase by Donald and the boys through the city. That story had clever and well-researched moments using the frozen time concept – water became concrete, a grass field turned as sharp as razors, a pigeon flock became climbing handholds and even post-it notes became a running gag.

That 5-minute story had more inventiveness and charm than this 90 minute snoozefest. “Clockstoppers” is a kids film alright but even kids will find it somewhat dumb. Like with “Hollow Man”, its a great idea open to many possibilities but aside from the first ‘stop time’ sequence involving a nice house sprinkler droplets trick (seen in the photos above), the rest is juvenile jokes like shifting weeing dogs around and such.

Bradford, who was great as an everyday sort of guy in “Bring it On” is somewhat of a bland lead this time around, and as much as her assertiveness is a good role model for kids – Paula Garcas falls into the foreign accented babe stereotype as the female lead. Supporting roles from Biehn to Stewart to Thomas are all low points in the careers of these talented actors as none get to do anything much.

Don’t look for scientific accuracy here either, the effects are decent but like most movies the ‘time slow’ principle seems to bend and shift according to the demands of the story whether it be the super fast moving elevator in the bad guy’s headquarters, to the ‘helping a friend rap dance by manipulating him physically’ scene. Worse still towards the very end the finale rests on a special effects twist with the watches which Director Jonathan Frakes was all to familiar with – the ‘phasing’ trick was used at least twice on his old “Star Trek: The Next Generation” show.

The music is twee with dated Blink 182 songs to covers of the likes of “Time After Time”. What kids film wouldn’t be one without the obligatory stunned housewife who just accepts everything, the annoying little sister, the overworking father who will no doubt make it up to his son, and of course a fight with the villain’s henchmen in which our heroes manage to beat them up and escape only on bikes. A great concept totally wasted.