Clockstoppers

Director
Jonathan Frakes
Runtime
1 h 34 min
Release Date
17 March 2002
Genres
Adventure, Family, Science Fiction, Thriller
Overview
Until now, Zak Gibbs' greatest challenge has been to find a way to buy a car. But when he discovers an odd wristwatch amidst his father's various inventions and slips it on -- something very strange happens. The world around him seems to come to a stop, everything and everybody frozen in time. Zak quickly learns how to manipulate the device and he and his quick-witted and beautiful new friend, Francesca, start to have some real fun.
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  • Clockstoppers
    Movies from Film Forum, 04/04/02Even though Smoochy made critics dig deep in their thesauruses for words that mean "unpleasant," they saved a few harsh words for the sci-fi teen adventure flick Clockstoppers as well.Here's the premise: A watch has been created that can stop or slow time, and the teens that have it are trying to keep it from the clutches of pursuing bad guys. Judging from reports about the acting, the writing, and the lack of ideas, it sounds like the special effects team may have been the only ones working on the film who had anything interesting to do.Mainstream critics quickly dismissed it as derivative and dumb. Robert K. Elder (Chicago Tribune) complains, "Sci-fi hijinks and a government conspiracy serve merely as window dressing for a ham-fisted message about the importance of good parenting and owning a car in high school."Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter) calls it "a lackluster children's action film … The script, credited seemingly to half the members of the Writers Guild, makes little attempt to establish the plausibility of the science fiction elements. OK, so the wearer of this watch winds up in hypertime, but how do cars and anyone nearby manage to enter this Coney Island of time and space?"Roger Ebert offers a more positive summary: "Unlike Spy Kids or Big Fat Liar, it offers few consolations for parents and older brothers and sisters. It is what it is, efficiently and skillfully, and I salute it for hitting a double or maybe a triple." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Some religious press critics had similar complaints, but for others it passed muster.The USCCB critic says, "Clockstoppers may appeal to children the way Spy Kids did because it portrays kids taking charge and saving adults. However, unlike Spy Kids, a far superior movie, there are no lessons to be learned, except maybe don't fool with your father's gadgets."None of this troubles Holly McClure (Crosswalk): "This clever family-friendly movie will appeal to adults as well as kids and teens. The unique special effects, the fun time-stands-still scenes and teen heroes who save the day make this a positive story about family relationships."Michael Elliott says, "Inconsistencies and unexplained gaps in its logic might frustrate the more demanding moviegoer. For the casual viewer, Clockstoppers is a bit of innocuous fun despite its many flaws."But Ted Baehr (Movieguide) labels it great: "Clockstoppers is a very entertaining diversion for teenagers. It skews too old for the younger crowd and may be too sweet for older teens, but it's got a great heart and great action adventure." Unlike the majority who found its special effects gimmicky and unoriginal, Baehr claims the film "has the same production excellence as its science fiction predecessors." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); John Evans (Preview) argues that the moderate action and some "suggestive comments" make the film "objectionable viewing for pre-teens and very questionable for teenagers." He also has a notion that young viewers who experience this "frantic action with loud, startling music" may become hyperactive. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Clockstoppers: Parent-friendly Movie Has Teen Appeal
    Movies Clockstoppers - PGBest for: Kids and adults.What it's about: Zak (Jesse Bradford) is a bright high-school senior who will sell anything to raise money for a car. When he spots the car of his dreams, he begs his teacher/scientist/inventor dad (Robin Thomas) to check it out, but his dad is too busy working on his own projects. When Zak's mom (Julia Sweeney) gives him more items to sell, he discovers a special wristwatch that can stop time for everyone except the person holding the watch. Zak and his friend Francesca (Paula Garces) are soon having a great time playing tricks on people (rearranging clothing, positions, pets, etc.) and sharing their secret, but the kids find themselves in a dangerous situation after Zak's dad is kidnapped by someone (Michael Biehn) who wants to use the watch for evil purposes. It's up to Zak and his friends to devise a rescue before time literally runs out for his father.The good: This is an exciting "what-if" story that allows you to see time stand still -- on the big screen, at least. The special effects allow us to see Zak and Francesca examine the frozen action around them (beads of water hanging in the air, kids in flight on skateboards). They also play jokes on people so that when time begins again, things are topsy-turvy. Since this is a movie aimed at the kid and young teen crowd, I applaud the fact that while it has a fun side, it still deals with real teen dilemmas and resolves them in healthy ways. Zak feels like his dad never has time for him, and he resents the fact that his dad isn't helping him get his first car; the bratty sister is a pain but eventually matures in her appreciation for her family; Francesca knows Zak likes her but forces him get to know her on a friendship level first. I also was pleased to see the parents and family unit positively portrayed, rather than the typical teen-movie portrayal of mindless, powerless adults who are nothing more than background props for the main characters. Even though Zak is the hero who saves the day, in the end, the dad becomes a hero as well, and the problems and issues the kids had with their parents are resolved or improved.The not-so-good: Clockstoppers includes teen social attitudes (a couple of bullies try to "pick up" Francesca but Zak tries to protect her; Zak's sister is very sarcastic, incessantly talks on the phone and yells at her parents) and fashion trends (Francesca embraces the exposed-midriff Britney look). Zak and Francesca use the watch to help win a contest. At the risk of putting a damper on the fantasy aspects of the story, I think parents should talk to their kids about some of the ethical and moral issues involved with changing life circumstances by altering time. Since accountability and consequences for behavior are often downplayed or ignored in movies, the idea of teenagers controlling the lives or circumstances of others around them has obvious appeal and might make for an interesting discussion.Offensive language and behavior: Some mild language is used by a couple of school bullies and by the bad guy. Zak's sister has a bad attitude toward the family and her parents, but she changes by the story's end.Sexual situation: None. A couple of kissing scenes as Francesca and Zak become boyfriend and girlfriend.Violence: Several scenes where the bad guys fight, push or chase Zak, his dad and his friends. No brutal fighting is shown, but people do get hurt. A big explosion destroys a building.Parental advisory: This is an adventure story with realistic bad guys and mild violence, so it's more appropriate for mature kids than for younger children. Clockstoppers also is the kind of movie that can generate great moral and ethical discussions with your kids, so take time afterward to ask your child how he or she would use a time-stopping watch. You might be surprised by their answers.Bottom line: This clever family-friendly movie will appeal to adults as well as kids and teens. The unique special effects, the fun time-stands-still scenes and teen heroes who save the day make this a positive story about family relationships. It's also the kind of fantasy movie that makes you ask yourself, "What would I do with a watch that could stop time?" googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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