Clockstoppers (2002) Movie Review

I guess it’s no surprise that “Clockstoppers”, a movie produced by the fine folks over at Nickelodeon — a TV network that caters exclusively to kids — is filled with gaping plot holes and enough continuity errors to make your head spin. That is, this would be the case if you didn’t already expect all these flaws going in. The fact is, “Clockstoppers” has so little interest in being grounded in reality, or based on something as inane as common sense, that it’s no use pointing out all of its errors. Thank God I’ve never let that stop me before!

“Clockstoppers” stars Jesse Bradford (“Bring it On”) as Zak, a teen slacker who spends his time selling junk on Ebay at inflated prices. One day Zak ends up with a super duper doohickey (in the guise of a normal watch) that can grant him superspeed. Since the watch makes Zak move in “hypertime”, everyone else, including the whole world, looks like they’re frozen. The watch was created by Mad Scientist Dopler (French Stewart), who is working on behest of a Shadowy Government Agency run by Gates (Michael Biehn). Since he’s about to be closed down, Gates plans on taking Dopler’s invention and selling it on the black market. I think. The movie can only afford a couple of minutes to devote to Gates. But since Gates employs two enforcers in Black Suits and Sunglasses, we know he’s shady by affiliation.

So blah blah blah and the watch ends up in Zak’s hands. Once he figures out what the watch is, Zak uses it to romance Latina exchange student Francesca (Paula Garces) and, with Francesca in tow, uses his superspeed ability to help his buddy Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa) win a DJ competition. Actually the best thing about this 15-minute interlude where the teens go about town getting revenge and playing tricks on people is the notion that Meeker, one of those Sassy Black Characters with an Urban Personality can’t — get this — dance! Ha ha, get it? Meeker is the only black character in the history of Black Urban Characters who has no rhythm!

The breezy movie is directed by “Star Trek” alum Jonathan Frakes, who also helmed “Insurrection” and “First Contact”, two entries in the “Star Trek” movie franchise. Frakes is used to special effects, so the movie’s hypertime sequences are standouts. In all likelihood 70 to 80 percent of the movie’s budget was probably blown on those special effects and it shows. Of course having groovy CGI and bullet-time effects still doesn’t change the fact that although Frakes and company can tell actors to freeze and poise inanimate objects anyway they want, they still can’t stop Mother Nature. On more than one occasion, while the world is supposed to be moving in slow motion, you can see tree branches and leaves blowing away at normal speed in the background!

“Clockstoppers” was obviously geared for kids under the age of 10, who won’t notice all the continuity gaffes and lapses in story logic. Although this doesn’t quite explain why the film had to make Jesse Bradford and Paula Garces as teens in high school. At the shooting, Bradford was in his mid-20s, and Garces was in her late ’20s. I mean, geez, sure they can past for early 20-somethings — but teens? Why not just cast Hilary Duff and Frankie Muniz, two actual teens known to kids? The duo already teamed up in “Agent Cody Banks”, and that’s pretty much the same movie as “Clockstoppers”.

Actually, the most annoying thing about “Clockstoppers” is just how poorly the characters use their superspeed. Even the most thickheaded teen could figure out better uses for the ability than these bozos.

Which leads me to this final conclusion: With the freezing and superspeed technology available nowadays, why hasn’t someone taken the Flash off the pages of DC Comics and turned the Scarlet Speedster into a live-action movie? While watching “Clockstoppers” I kept wondering how awesome a “Flash” movie would be using the exact same technology…

Jonathan Frakes (director)
CAST: Jesse Bradford …. Zak Gibbs
French Stewart …. Earl Dopler
Paula Garc’s …. Francesca
Michael Biehn …. Gates

Buy Clockstoppers on DVD