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Starring Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, French Stewart, Robin Thomas
Screenplay by Rob Hedden and J. David Stem & David N. Weiss; Story by Rob Hedden & Andy Hedden and J. David Stem & David N. Weiss
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

IN SHORT: A faster paced family flick. Upper Teens may get cynical. Smaller numbered kidlets will enjoy. [Rated PG for action violence and mild language.]

Any time we see more than two names on a screenplay and a story by credit, we automatically think the worst. When it comes to films aimed at the family market, it usually means too many cooks with too little ideas. In the case of Clockstoppers we were pleasantly surprised, even if all the major ideas were old news to anyone who's read The Flash in comic books or remembers the old George Reeves Superman TV show. That rules out the single digits, who will like Clockstoppers' effects and fast pace. As for them double digits, we tip our caps to director Jonathan Frakes, who knows all about SF for teens from years on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Clockstoppers is a fairly simple story about a technology which speeds a body up to the point where everything else seems to stand still. It isn't that teen Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford) is a technological genius -- that nod goes to his dad, George (Robin Thomas), who is helping another brain, Dr. Earl Doppler (French Stewart) perfect the technology. Said technology has been made portable by Dopler and installed in a wristwatch. The only catch is that if you remain in "hypertime" too long, the natural aging process will be similarly affected. Hiding in the wings is Dopler's evil boss, Henry Gates (Michael Biehn) who wants to rule the world. At Zak's side is the lovely new kid in the class, Francesca (Paula Garces), who shares all the wonderful adventures that play out in the film.

Y'know, except for the occasional (and that means more than one) jumps in the visual and/or story continuity -- nothing major but big enough to make us sit up and take three maybe four times -- Clockstoppers is a perfectly ordinary and palatable movie for the entire family. It's got pleasant looking stars and good effects, meaning they don't blow your mind so bad you forget what the story is supposed to be, and delivered enough stuff of interest to this old dude that we can honestly say you won't have to worry about petrifying in your seat while your kidlets get all drooly. There may be a whole mess of Clockstoppers in the future if the film does big. If it doesn't, it's got a real good sense about it that will work on the small screen, too.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Clockstoppers, he would have paid . . .


That's the adult POV. You can take the kids, who will love it, and we think you'll see plenty of action for this film once the home versions come out.

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