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CLOCKSTOPPERS ($30) is one of those movies that I like to term science fiction lite- just like regular science fiction, with only half the plausibility. Of course, one has to remember that CLOCKSTOPPERS is a Nickelodeon co-production, with a somewhat juvenile target audience that isn't likely to question the film's gaps in logic. With one's brain switched to neutral, CLOCKSTOPPERS becomes an enjoyable teen adventure with cool looking special effects and a fairly potent soundtrack.

The plot of CLOCKSTOPPERS concerns an underachieving high school student named Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford), whose needs, wants and desires are always at odds with those of his workaholic college professor father (Robin Thomas). Just as Professor Gibbs is about to leave town for a scientific convention, he receives a new invention to evaluate from one of his former students. As it turns out, the invention that Dopler (French Stewart) sent his former mentor is a wristwatch, which accelerates the wearer's molecular structure to the point that time seems to be standing still. Of course, Zak winds up in possession of the wristwatch and he uses it to impress a pretty new student named Francesca (Paula Garcés). Unfortunately for Zak, the fun and games come to an abrupt end when some goons in the employ of Dopler's sinister boss come looking for the wristwatch. The cast of CLOCKSTOPPERS also features Michael Biehn, Garikayi Mutambirwa and Julia Sweeney.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made CLOCKSTOPPERS available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Owing the fact that CLOCKSTOPPERS is a slick looking new movie, it should come as no surprise that this is great looking DVD. The image super crisp and beautifully detailed. Colors are usually quite vibrant and the flesh tones remain natural looking. There are no traces of chroma noise or smearing the mar color reproduction. Blacks are perfectly inky, contrast is wonderfully smooth and the picture produces very impressive shadow detail. Dual layer authoring keeps the digital compression artifacts very well camouflaged.

In addition to the great looking picture, CLOCKSTOPPERS features an impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The mix is highly aggressive and very enveloping. Sound effects emanate from all of the discrete channels, and many of the effects move convincingly through the soundstage. Every time the film's hyper-time effects are engaged, the accompanying sound effect really rock the entire soundstage and they cause the bass channel to pulse to floor shaking life. Dialogue is cleanly rendered, with excellent intelligibility. Since CLOCKSTOPPERS is interned for the youth market, there is plenty of incidental pop music on the track- all of which is reproduced with terrific fidelity. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Running a little over ten minutes is the featurette The Making of Clockstoppers, which is pretty much a fluffy PR piece with interviews and a brief look behind the scenes. Four thirty second promotional TV spots are also included on the DVD, as are the music videos Holiday in my Head by Smash Mouth and It's The Weekend by Lil' J. A theatrical trailer closes out the DVD's extra features.


CLOCKSTOPPERS is a fun movie for kids and teens, although adult audiences and hard-core science fiction buffs will probably find the material a bit too lightweight for their tastes. Still, the DVD looks and sounds great, so anyone interested in seeing CLOCKSTOPPERS will certainly enjoy the disc.



Clockstoppers (2002)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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