Hoping to reclaim his lost fiancée, a turn-of-the-century Manhattan scientist (Guy Pearce) builds a time machine to travel back to the moments before she died. When he realizes he can’t save her, he starts a long, rather uninvolving journey into different futuristic New Yorks in search of an answer to the question ”What if?” Based on H.G. Wells’ novel, director (and great-grandson) Simon Wells’ The Time Machine has all the grand special effects required of the subject matter. But it quickly becomes a theme-park-ready action-adventure flick, saturated with sentimentalism and devoid of the brilliant details of the elder Wells’ well-thought-out cautionary tale. What if, indeed.