Plot: What’s it about?
Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) wants a few things in his life. He wants a new car (albeit a cherry red ’65 Mustang), he tries to get the new foreign exchange student to go out with him and he wants his friend to win his Dee Jay contest. This being a movie based on Nickelodeon, we can assume that all of these things will happen. His relationship with his father isn’t as strong as it should be, his father (Robin Thomas) is a college professor who eats, sleeps and breathes his work. One of his former students (French Stewart) has been working for the government on a top secret experiment and it’s come to a standstill. Seeing nowhere else to go, he sends this experiment for a possible solution and this is where things take a turn for the worse.
Director Jonathan Frakes, better known for his role as William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, takes helm of this movie and does a fairly decent job with it. Granted Frakes is no Hitchcock, but the movie is aimed at younger audiences and it went over pretty well. There’s a shameless plug in a line of dialogue "Make it so, number one…" uttered by Francesca (Paula Garces) as she tries to be cute; but aside from that, things weren’t as bad as I had thought. As with most movies, the government is supposed to be bad, led by a ruthless boss (Michael Biehn) who wants the experiment completed. And speaking of the experiment, what exactly is it? Hypertime is how it’s described. A watch can literally speed up the molecules in the person’s body and thereby making time around that person come to a standstill. Naturally they don’t do anything I would do if I had that power (loot, steal, pillage, etc.), but the movie is for kids so they just have fun with it.
While the plot is very predictable, it’s pretty fun to watch. The effect does start to wear off after a while and even at 93 minutes, Clockstoppers had me looking at my watch to see when the credits might roll. Look for some washed up actors with some leading roles like Michael Biehn, Julia Sweeney and French Stewart. They make it worthwhile. A pretty hip soundtrack and even a few supplements from Paramount make this one you might want to check out. Though I say again, this is aimed at a pre-teen audience so you’ve been warned.
Video: How does it look?
Clockstoppers looks absolutely amazing on DVD. Granted I never saw it in the theater, but the 1.85:1 image is enhanced for widescreen TV’s and I saw very little evidence of anything I’d consider a fault. The colors are bright, for the most part except when we’re inside the goverment’s lair, but hardly any edge enhancement is noticeable. There is no grain present and no digital artifacts to take the attention away from what’s on the screen. Black levels are right on target and the level of detail is very impressive. On the whole, it’s not perfect, but right next to it.
Audio: How does it sound?
A great-sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included and during many times throughout the film I found myself enveloped in a 360 degree soundstage. Even school bells were coming out of the surrounds! Each time they use the watch to "stop time", they make a big deal about using all of the channels and it does sound pretty good. A decent car chase scene is also included and sounds pretty good as well. Plenty of movies would kill to sound this good, and I think it’s safe to say that you’ll be as equally impressed as I was when you hear this.
Supplements: What are the extras?
It’s very encouraging to see some supplements on a Paramount disc that isn’t labeled a "Special Edition". While not fully-loaded, this does contain a ten minute featurette "The Making of Clockstoppers" with interviews with the cast and crew. A couple of music videos are included, "It’s the Weekend" by Lil’ J and "Holiday in my Head" by Smash Mouth (who seems to perform all songs for Paramount movies). Some promotional spots are included, one with each lead character and another with Zak and Francesca. The original theatrical trailer is also included in 5.1 and non-anamorphic widescreen. All in all, a decent selection of extras. I wish all Paramount releases had this much on them!