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I'm trying to identify a movie I saw once in the early 2000s. It was a movie my mom had rented from Blockbuster and I remember walking in at some point to watch a fairly significant portion of it - I certainly missed part of the beginning of the film, and don't remember if I saw the whole thing. I remember it was on DVD with an animated menu, but I don't know how old the actual movie was. I do remember it was one of the first movies I saw involving a time machine.

Details I remember:

  • The protagonist is a man in his late 20s, early 30s with black hair and a beard.
  • Near the beginning of the film, the protagonist's girlfriend gets shot. They are at a fairground in the winter, and she is wearing a bright red coat and hat.
  • The protagonist builds a time machine. It has an open design (no protective glass or anything), and the protagonist sits on a chair in the center under a metal dome, in front of a control panel. The time machine had a strong steampunk aesthetic, and one of the major identifying features is a large metal odometer on the control panel indicating the year. The time machine fast forwards and rewinds, with the odometer ticking forwards or backwards and with the flow of time being visible around the machine.
  • One of the first things the protagonist does is go back to some point in the late 1900s to the day his girlfriend gets shot. For reasons I don't remember, she gets shot again.
  • The protagonist later travels into the future. As he is leaving, he drops a locket with a picture of the Mona Lisa, and he sees the locket vanish off the floor as he fast forwards.
  • He ends up in 2030, where everything has been modernized. He finds a repeating commercial playing in a shopping mall, as well as a series of glass panels with a virtual assistant walking between them (appearing only in the glass panels). The protagonist has a short conversation with the assistant.
  • He then goes to 2036 to find that society has degraded, with buildings on fire and such. He goes out to investigate, but is chased, and as he fast forwards again, he is knocked out, and the machine fast forwards eons into the future - we see a wide shot of the landscape changing over and over again in time lapse.
  • He eventually lands in the far distant future, where most of society has become primitive. However, he still finds some relics of the time he left behind, including a pile of books and one of the glass panels with the same digital assistant from 2030.
  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! See this guide for some help potentially improving your already detailed question. – Stormblessed Jun 27 at 16:01
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    Watch out for Morloks! – Hagen von Eitzen Jun 27 at 21:29
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    I always wondered what happened to the time machine prop from this film ... – nebogipfel Jun 27 at 22:25
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The Time Machine (2002), based on the 1895 book by H. G. Wells and the 1960 movie adaptation.

Wikipedia's summary (emphasis mine):

After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time to save her...

...Alexander travels to 2030 to discover whether science has been able to solve his question of how to change the past. At the New York Public Library, a holographic sentient librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel to the past is impossible. Alexander travels to 2037, when the accidental destruction of the Moon by the lunar colonists' demolition team has begun rendering the Earth virtually uninhabitable. While restarting the time machine, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701 before reawakening.

As seen in the trailer, Vox 114 is in a panel of glass:

You can see that the holographic librarian is inside some glass

Also in the trailer one can see the metal steampunk odometer:

The steampunk odometer

Around 0:58 in the trailer you can see the thing with time warping around the machine.


Found by reading through this list of time travel movies.

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    Yes, this is totally it! Thank you! – TheHansinator Jun 27 at 19:32
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This is The Time Machine, which was released in 2002.

A movie of the H.G. Wells book by the same name.

From wikipedia:

In 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen is an inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his friend David Philby, Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the world of business. After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time to save her. When he completes the machine four years later in 1903, he travels back to 1899 and prevents her murder, only to see her killed again when a horseless carriage frightens the horses of a horse-drawn vehicle. Alexander realizes that any attempt to save Emma will result in her death through other circumstances. Distraught, Alexander travels to 2030 to discover whether science has been able to solve his question of how to change the past. At the New York Public Library, a holographic sentient librarian called Vox 114 insists that time travel to the past is impossible. Alexander travels to 2037, when the accidental destruction of the Moon by the lunar colonists' demolition team has begun rendering the Earth virtually uninhabitable. While restarting the time machine, he is knocked unconscious and travels to the year 802,701 before reawakening. The Earth has healed and the human race has reverted to a primitive lifestyle. Some survivors, called "Eloi", live on the sides of cliffs of what was once Manhattan. Alexander is nursed back to health by a woman named Mara, one of the few Eloi who speak English. He observes the broken moon and suggests that maybe his teachings led to this future. One night, Alexander and Mara's young brother Kalen dream of a frightening, jagged-toothed face and a creature calling their name. Alexander informs Mara of the dream, and she tells him they all have that dream and notices that his watch is missing. The next day, the Eloi are attacked and Mara is dragged underground by ape-like monsters. The creatures are called "Morlocks" and they hunt the Eloi for food. In order to rescue her, Kalen leads Alexander to Vox 114, which is still functional after 800,000 years.

It stars Guy Pearce, who doesn't have a beard to begin with, but does grow some stubble at different points in the film.

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