on March 29, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
   “Clockstoppers" is about two teens with the ability to move forward in time by speeding up just enough so that everything else seems to be--but isn't--standing still. It's called hypertime, and it's a bright though not original idea that was tackled in “The X-Files” and director Jonathan Frakes' own “Star Trek” series, among many others. As well as being a science-fiction fantasy, the movie is also a youth-oriented teenage romance with all the trappings of a Nickelodeon production (which it also is). This is a less bright idea that undermines the more interesting sci-fi elements of the film, but provides a lovestruck teenage boy, a cute girl in a midriff shirt and several icons of youth culture--skateboards, mixing contests and baggy pants--for the target audience, which is the 10- to 15-year-old crowd.

   Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford of "Bring it On") is an average teenager, estranged from his work-obsessed physics professor father. He stumbles across a watch in his father's lab-- the product of a clandestine government program--that allows the wearer and anyone touching him to enter hypertime. The catch: If you do it too long, you begin to age very quickly. Needless to say, the government wants it back, and they send a bunch of black suit types to get it. They kidnap Zak's father and use him not only to blackmail Zak into giving up the watch, but to fix that aging glitch--or suffer its consequences. Suffice it to say, Zak is on a ticking clock to save his father before time runs out.

   Director Frakes is a veteran of high-end science fiction, having directed several episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (in which he also starred) and a film in the franchise's feature series. He's strong in the genre, but this a Nickelodeon movie, and that's where it belongs: on children's cable television. Starring Jesse Bradford, French Stewart, Paula Garces, Michael Biehn, Robin Thomas, Garikayi Mutambirwa and Julia Sweeney. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Written by Rob Hedden and J. David Stem & David N. Weiss. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd and Julia Pistor. A Paramount release. Sci-Fi/Adventure. Rated PG for action violence and mild language. Running time: 94 min

Tags: time travel, family, science-fiction, fantasy, teen, romance, Nickelodeon, high school, government, watch, aging, Jesse Bradford, French Stewart, Paula Garces, Michael Biehn, Robin Thomas, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Julia Sweeney, Jonathan Frakes, Gale Anne Hurd

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