Hello, Spongey here.
I’m…not sure how to introduce this one. It doesn’t have any huge stigma around it, or anything that I can use as a segue way. Honestly, I just went onto Netflix and picked a movie that looked interesting.
So let’s talk about that. This is one of those movies that people kind of remember…but kind of don’t. It’s always talked about as a forgotten nostalgia film…but that’s it. No one really knows if it holds up or not. I’ve heard about quite a bit but I know very little about it.
And that’s pretty much why it here.
This film comes to us from Nickelodeon Movies. Now that’s interesting. This must be one of their early 2000’s films that no one really cares about, like Snow Day, which I’ll have to get to at some point. Hopefully this will be an improved from our rather mixed previous encounter with them.
As far as the creative team, I have good news and bad news. See, we have 3 writers. Two have The Rugrats Movie…but also The Smurfs. And the other has Friday the 13th Part 8.
So this could be the worst ever, or the best thing ever. …But the director did Thunderbirds, so it’s all up in the air. Let us take a look at Nostalgia film and see if it deserves to be remembered. Insert time pun here.
This, is Clockstoppers
The movie opens at an Airport as a creepy dude with a beard is walking around, acting suspicious….That sounds more disturbing when I put it like that. He is about to board a plan when a force suddenly sucks him into a van.
Okay I’m not getting good vibes so far.
As it turns out, this guy is a scientist trying to run away from the people in this van. He is played by French Stewart, in yet another role he probably regrets.
We then cut to our main character Zac, whose first scene pretty much confirms that was made in the early 2000’s. Especially the background song and his computer. He visits his Dad at work, as he is a teacher. He’s also a scientist guy and he’s working on a project made by French Stewart here.
He meets with his friend as they exchange dialogue no kid has ever said. He catches a glimpses of a new girl who he gets a crush on. The clichés are piling up. The actress of this girl is 41 now, and this movie came out in 2002 which means…yeah a bit too old to be playing a high schooler. Though to be fair, Zac’s actor was over 20 when he did this, so that’s not too shocking.
Also, she happens to be a repeat actor, being Maria in those Harold and Kumar sequels I covered. …She’s grown.
Anyway, he tries to hit on her and he fails. She’s pretty awesome in how she shoots him down but they are gonna end up together in the end, no matter how implausible it is.
He goes home to his Mom as he takes a big ol’ sip of product placement. Of course he has a sister who he bickers with. This is gonna have a ton of clichés, isn’t it? When Dad gets home, he begs him to get him a car. …Yep, it is.
Speaking of clichés, if you guessed that Dad does a bit too much work for Zac’s, than yay, you’ve seen another movie before!
We cut to night as we see two guys in suits talking about something mysterious. Yep, they’re evil in some way. They are talking about some device that may cause some trouble.
These guys work for QT and one guys goes down into the lab where they have captured Dr Doppler. He’s in “hyper time” and while he’s been in there a week, it looks like he’s aged 20 years.
They talk just vague enough for us to not know 100 percent of what is going on here. These bad guys want him to help perfect a little project of his and he is having Zac’s Daddy help out with it.
But he sent him too much so…
They don’t take it well. Also, of course some smart guy does something stupid so our teenage can eventually got a hold of top secret technology. We cut to Zac and his friend at school as they are bothered by incredibly transparent/annoying bullies. Said bullies try to hit on the badass hot new girl which goes as well as you would expect.
When they are taken care of, Zac swoops in and eventually gets her to give him a second chance. But the joke is on him as he has to help her with her plans, which include raking leaves.
Yeah be sassy and cool all you want, you’re still gonna end up with him or need to be saved in the end.
They hit it off while they are doing their work and while she’s doing something, Zac puts on a watch he found at home, and of course it’s the project the scientists have been working on.
As you might guess, the device freezes time and it causes a bit trouble as it unfreezes at odd times. A not so dead rat thing is involved. The girl is pissed before but time freezes just as she lashes out. When Zac is done being pervy, time unfreezes and he is kicked out.
But just then he freezes time just as she touches her, which makes her join in on the freezing fun. I like that it doesn’t take them long to figure out what is going on, instead of being all dumb and oblivious about it for half an hour.
“I don’t think time has stopped, we’re just moving really fast”
Well if you wanna all scientific about it.
“For this to work, we have to touch each other”
“Sooner or later, all guys say that”
“With such awesome power comes awesome responsibility…at least that’s what my Dad would say”
I’ve made the joke too much already.
So we get a montage (set to an early 2000’s pop tune, of course) of them using their powers to have fun and get revenge. Also, they mention Star Trek cuz Jonathan Frakes made this, hardy har har.
They go to weird club place where the black friend in this turn table…scratching…this competition and they use their freeze powers to help him stop sucking. After helping him out, they tell him about the whole Hypertime thing. He’s very excited about the idea of the watch.
“Let’s dress Coach Wells up like Britney Spears”
Did I mention this movie was made in 2002?
After he overacts his hearts out, they drop him off at home and they head to the girl’s house where Zac gets a kiss from his girl. Of course this happens after one day.
Zac heads home where he finds some people searching the place. He tries to escape but he is taken into a van. Not again..,
As it turns out, this is the same Van holding French Stewart.
“They wanna kill you, man”
With his help, Zac gets the Van started and they escape. Yet again our baddies are terrible at their job. We get a big epic car chase that ends with the van falling into a river, as the watch gets wet while on Zac’s wrist.
He is knocked out and he wakes up in the hospital. Wah wah.
His family (minus Dad) are there and apparently they think he jacked the van. Naturally they don’t believe him when he tries to tell them the truth, so he dries out the watch to freeze time again.
He uses this to escape and now it looks like our hero is on the run, if anyone cares at this point. After running around for a bit, he find’s Francesca and tells her what is going on.
She lets him borrow her car but then she decides to hop in him with him and join him on his epic quest. Meanwhile, Zac’s Mom tells Dad about the crazy stuff going on and when she mentions the watch, Dad gets worried. The bad guys show up at his door right after that and when Zac shows up, Dad is nowhere to be found.
To make things worse, the TV Happens to be on Plot Convenience News and it looks like everyone is on the hunt for French Stewart and Zac.
Speaking of which, French Stewart shows up to ask for the watch and Francesca responds by kicking him in the face. Nice.
“You know what I don’t like? Getting kicked in the head!”
Zac complies but he gets mad when he saw that he got it wet, even then he saw him get it wet earlier. Also, why is he acting like a bad guy when he was pretty nice earlier?
Anyway, they talk for a bit and Stewart explain the whole deal with Dad and how he didn’t mean for things to get all messed up like this. So French Stewart decides to help them save Zac’s Dad but first they must fix the watch.
After a montage, they fix it and prepare to sneak into Bad Guy HQ. But of course, French Stewart pulls the “this is as far as I go” thing once they start going in through the ventilation. Zac calls him out on this and they move on, only for the alarm to catch them in Hypertime. Yeah they froze time to get past this fan thing.
Bad guys chase after then and of course this leads to one of them getting hit in the balls. Lovely. Also, the part where Zac busts through glass while in Hyper Time is awesome.
Despite their best efforts, they are captured and taken to where Dad is. Some dudes show up at the bad guy’s door, so they decided to get a head start on their plan and activate hyper time. They try to start up this Accelerator thing but Dad changed the access codes on them.
He says he’ll give them the ride codes if Zac and Francesca are let go. Zac uses a screwdriver thing to hold the doors to their containment thing shut, and he gets out his watch to accelerate further. In short, this causes him to look weird and go right through everything.
It also turns him into the Flash.
He tries to escape with his Flash powers, but the bad guys use this weird gun thing to take off God Mode. Thankfully, Michael Bay steeped in the director’s chair and there is a huge explosion to knock out the bad guys.
As I side note, I’m 100 percent sure all this science is bullshit, and there are a lot of questions I can ask, but I don’t care.
The main Bad guy (who is so important I forgot his name) chases after them but French Stewart shows up to save them.
“Good night, little man”
That was cool…but it also our villain defeat. I’ve seen lamer in my line of Not Work but still, that’s lame. With that, some NSA guys show up and arrest our baddies.
“So what do you have in mind for our next date?”
Oh yeah, there was an underdeveloped Romance, I forgot…
While stuff like that is happening, French Stewart asks Dad if he has been working on a machine to reverse those again effects. Yeah, remember, French Stewart become super old earlier. I forgot cuz they kind of forgot until now.
Anyway, Dad hasn’t even tested the Anti-Aging machine yet so Stewart decided to do that, but of course we cut to something less interesting as he does this. Zac, Francesca, and Dad arrive home to the family and everyone is happy.
But as it turns out, French Stewart had a mishap with the machine and now he’s a old man in a teenager’s body. Oh how silly! This all be explored in Clockstoppers 2: No time for this shit.
With that, the kids hop in Zac’s new car but as it turns out, the police never called off that little hunt they started earlier. Thus, a police car starts chasing them but as it also turns out, Zac never turned in the watch so he turns on hyper time. Roll credits.
…There’s a few things wrong with this. 1st off, the whole police hunt thing was pretty pointless in the end. 2nd, they never called off the investigation even after all this crap happened? And third, the fact that Zac took the watch back pretty much shows he learned nothing about messing with time. Yay!
That aside, it’s close to avoiding the abrupt ending problem but the Anti-Climax sort of ruined it. Whatever, we’re done here.
For better or worse, this is exactly what I expected when I heard this was a Nick movie made in 2002. And it’s…well it’s safe to it’s not good, but I kind of enjoyed it. I mean it uses almost every early 2000’s kid’s movie cliché in the movie. How could I not love mocking it?
Of course that is part of the problem. Every about it feels calculated to show off what kids were into at the time. The plot hits every expected beat and it has lots of pandering and product placement. Not to mention the character archetypes such as the annoying black friend.
But for what it is, it’s pretty harmless. The fact that no one remembers this movie shows how much it really matters in the end. Before I move on, let’s go over the things that actually bug me.
The black friend is annoying. Besides that, the romance is forced and some plot points are wasted. The whole thing with Dad they started isn’t really resolved and the more “emotional” parts kind of feel shoehorned in. They don’t exactly fail but they don’t exactly work either.
I feel that they kind of done a lot more with this concept other than the usual stuff you expect. Of course it can’t all be wacky stuff, since you do need a plot, but there should have been a better balance.
And of course, the ending is fairly problematic.
All that aside, this movie is a lot of fun to riff on. It’s just so Early 2000’s that it’s hilarious. Zac is so hopelessly extreme and there’s so much pandering and so many clichés. If either grew up with these types of movies, or love to mock them, then you’ll have fun with this.
If not…well you’re gonna hate it.
I can’t really say a lot about the story and characters since there isn’t a lot to say. The story is pretty straight forward and predictable, and there are confusing or underused plot points. Nothing too far away from what I expected.
The characters are pretty basic. Zac is your typical Teenage Hero who tries too hard to be releatable to the kids, but to be fair, he’s not…hateable or anything like that. The love interest is fairly badass but she end up being a typical love interest. But at least she’s kind of cool.
Everyone is else just kind of there. The bad guy is boring and Dad is just…the Dad who is there to get our hero to find the watch in the first place. French Stewart’s character is probably the best since he has a few neat things going on, and honest, French Stewart was pretty good. Unlike the other stuff we’ve seen in him, it looks like he’s actually trying and he has some funny lines.
Hey, it’s better than the last time we saw him meeting a time freezing device.
Speaking acting, it’s about as good as you can expect with this script. Everyone does fine but no one is really exceptional. But still, not bad. The strong point of film does come from all the tech stuff.
They do a decent job exploring the capabilities of the Watch when they actually have fun with it. The effects are also pretty good, if a bit unspectacular. It’s cool to see how things work, and there are a few promising plot points and good performances.
Overall, this movie is…okay. On a Critical level it is kind of meh due to how predictable it is, and how it uses tired clichés and panders to its audience. But on a personal level it’s pretty enjoyable due to just how Early 2000’s it is.
And like I said, it’s harmless. Far from the worst Nick movie ever, but far from the best. Since I did enjoy it in a way, I’ll go easy with the rating. I only recommend to people who tend to enjoy this kind of thing. Everyone else need not apply.
And look on the bright side: No crappy time puns!
Next time, we have more Tech gone amuck, but instead of a big screen Nick production, it’s on a smaller screen, on one of its competitors.