Clockstoppers is a 2002 science-fiction film released by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. The film stars Jesse Bradford, Paula Garcés, French Stewart, and Michael Biehn. It was directed by Jonathan Frakes and was released in theaters on March 29, 2002.
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The NSA-funded QT (Quantum Tech) Corporation has slated a project to develop Hypertime, a technology which allows the user's molecules to speed up to the point where the world appears to be standing still. After realizing that such technology, contained within a wristwatch frame, could also be used against the USA, the NSA orders the project stopped. However, the research is farther along than the NSA expected and QT's leader Henry Gates plans on using the technology to usurp the leader of the NSA and dominate the world. He uses the prototype to stretch the weekend in order to give the brilliant lead scientist Earl Dopler time to fix the remaining glitch in the technology after his henchmen Richard and Jay prevent Earl's incognito departure at the airport. However, the disadvantage of Earl being in Hypertime for too long was him aging rapidly in real time, as his molecular age continued at the same rate despite time slowing down.
However, initially unknown to Gates, Dopler had sent a prototype to a former colleague of his named Dr. George Gibbs. His son Zak discovers the watch accidentally and initially uses it for fun, much to the amusement of Francesca. Once Gates finds out about the leaked prototype, he attempts to retrieve it. He sends his henchmen after Zak who break into his house and search for evidence. Upon learning about the ulterior motive of QT Corporation, Zak sets out to warn his father of the danger he could be in.
A chase sequence ensues, with Zak crashing the car into the river and thus damaging the watch. He awakes in hospital with a broken watch and only by a stroke of luck manages to avoid Jay and Richard again. He then goes in search of somewhere safe to hide in the meantime, after having been accused of stealing a van by the police. In a bid to retrieve the watch, QT Corporation enlists the help of national security agencies and portray Zak and his father as fugitives wanted by the law. Zak goes on the run with his girlfriend, locating the hotel that Dr. Gibbs was staying at in a bid to warn him. Dopler is also looking for Dr. Gibbs to ask for help and also to warn him. However, Gates, Jay, and Richard reach Zak's father before him and kidnap Dr. Gibbs from his hotel room.
Unable to reach his father in time, Zak and Francesca wander the streets aimlessly before being forcibly picked up by Earl Dopler, who wants the watch back. The teens take Dopler hostage and force him to do as they request. As Dopler feels that Dr. Gibbs has been kind to him, he reluctantly agrees to help save Dr. Gibbs. Dopler helps mend the broken watch as well as creating guns which can take someone out of Hypertime and back into normal time. The guns are loaded with paintballs filled with frozen nitrogen, and the low temperature 'freezes' a hit person back into normal time.
Dopler helps the kids break in but decides not to go as well. They get caught by Henry Gates, Richard, and Jay. Zak and Francesca are thrown in a cell with Zak's dad. Zak accelerates while in Hypertime and becomes "light" (Einstein's theory is seemingly correct, anything faster than "light", becomes "light"). They then manage to break out as the NSA Agents arrive and defeat Gates' goons. Gates is not defeated and knocks Francesca out of hypertime and prepares to do the same to Zak and his dad. Suddenly he's shot with a paintball by Dopler who returned to help and Dopler shoots Gates until he reverts to normal time, defeating him. Gates and his henchmen are arrested, and the watches are confiscated.
Following the arrest of Gates, Jay, and Richard, Dopler uses the machine he was building to reverse the aging effects of hypertime that happened to him, but it inadvertently changes him back into a teenager (Miko Hughes), meaning he will have to live with the Gibbs for a few years. The movie ends with Zak and his family happily together, and with Zak finally getting the car he wanted. As Zak speeds off in his car with Francesca, now his girlfriend, sister and teenage Dopler, it is revealed that he has not returned the watch after all, as he goes into Hypertime to have some fun.
- Jesse Bradford as Zak Gibbs
- Paula Garcés as Francesca
- French Stewart as Earl Dopler
- Miko Hughes as young Earl Dopler
- Michael Biehn as Henry Gates
Box office and reception
The film received mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a "Rotten" rating of 29% based on 125 reviews, with and average score of 4.8/10. Metacritic gave the film a score of 40% based on 24 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews". It opened at #5 at the U.S. Box office raking in $10,108,333 on its opening weekend.
|VHS||August 13, 2002|
|DVD||August 13, 2002|
| Bonus features:
- The plot was inspired by H.G. Wells' 1901 story "The New Accelerator", about a scientist who develops a drug enabling him to move so fast that no-one can see him. From his viewpoint, everyone else seems frozen in time.