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Film / Clockstoppers

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Clockstoppers is a 2002 film directed by Jonathan Frakes.

It follows the story of Ordinary High-School Student Zak Gibbs (Jesse Bradford), who stumbles upon an Applied Phlebotinum watch that allows him to stop time (okay, technically, it gives the wearer Super-Speed and alters their perception of time).

Before long, he's tangled up in a conspiracy as Quantum Tech, the company developing the technology, comes after him and will stop at nothing to get it back.

Clockstoppers provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. The two main characters are teenagers, but they're only as competent as any other teenager could be expected to be in the situation. Without the help of Dopler, they would never have succeeded.
  • Advertised Extra: Meeker was heavily featured in the marketing campaign at the time of the film’s release. In truth, he has a small role yet he’s featured on the poster. He mostly serves as comic relief in the first act of the film, and disappears until the third act where he briefly assists Zak and Francesca. He never goes up against the villain with his friends, and is the only one of Zak’s loved ones absent in the closing scene.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • If a person were really sped up in such a way, placing your hand on a table would have the effect of slapping it hard. Running at a wall would hit it with the force of a car, which sounds nice but remember your skeleton isn't reinforced to handle that. Worse, your molecules would be vibrating at such a speed that anything you touch would light on fire. It could be said that these kinks have been worked out of using the watch normally. Zak's dad points this out when Zak prepares to use the watch while in hypertime.
    • This problem with forces is also in play the other way around. For example, if the watches only quicken the wearer's biological processes, then the acceleration caused by the force of gravity is unchanged. This would cause characters in hypertime to walk similarly to astronauts on the moon (though perhaps to a different degree). Zak is also seen letting go of garbage bags that drop at what looks like a normal speed to characters in hypertime. In fact, the bags should fall much more slowly.
  • Big Bad: Henry Gates
  • Cast from Lifespan: You age normally in hypertime.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Dopler at first refuses to accompany Zak and Francesca into Quantum Tech headquarters, claiming he's too frightened of the place after what he went through in there at the hand of Gates. However, just when it looks like the heroes are going to fail, he returns to save the day.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Near the beginning of the film, Meeker is shown at his job at a sports and hobby shop working with paintball guns. Liquid nitrogen-loaded paintball guns later get used in the climax.
  • Clock of Power: The Hypertime Watch appears to stop time, but actually gives the wielder super speed and alters their perception of time. The drawback is, this can age the wearer prematurely.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The blobs of liquid nitrogen instantly freeze an entire human. In this case, though, the person would have to cool down from the point of contact with the liquid nitrogen. At best, you could take out a joint or an arm instantly, but not the whole person at once.
  • Covers Always Lie: From the cover, you'd think Meeker has a much bigger role than he actually has. Going by screen time and billing, logically it should be French Stewart as Dopler in his place. Of course, French Stewart, as he looks in this movie, won't sell so many boxes.
  • Creator Cameo: The film's director is an extra in one scene.
  • The Dragon: Richard is this to Gates, along with Jay they're almost always by his side.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: How do you stop a person in Hypertime? With paintballs loaded with liquid nitrogen, of course.
  • Harmless Freezing: Characters who get frozen with liquid nitrogen are not harmed in any way except for feeling cold. Dopler does point out that it hurts, however.
  • Hate Sink: Henry Gates is the head of the government-funded QT Labs who oversees the creation of the HyperTime watch. He threatens and forces scientist Earl Doppler to continue to work on it and in it and Doppler ages quickly as a result. Gates then force the same on Dr. George Gibbs later on and threatens Dr. Gibbs's son Zak and his girlfriend Francesca to help further his possession of the technology with the intention of betraying the NSA with it.
  • I Have Your Dad: The bad guys kidnap Zak's dad to work for them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dopler is one of these; kind of a prick but, considering all he's been through, you can't really blame him, and he definitely comes through at the end.
  • Karmic Jackpot: For coming back and helping the kids, Dopler not only gets his age reset, but he gets about ten years added on, too.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Quantum Tech conspiracy in general, and Henry Gates in specific (as its leader) seek to control Hypertime technology to usurp control of the NSA to Take Over the World and have no problem threatening to kill people (even teenagers) in order to get what they want.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Zak and Francesca give this to the people offending them while time is frozen, punishing an overzealous meter maid, two punks spraying graffiti and stealing a bike, and a car shop owner who broke a promise to Zak.
  • Meaningful Name: "Meeker"
  • Mundane Utility: With vast time-stopping power at his fingertips, Zak chooses to pull pranks to impress Francesca. Then again, he is a teenager trying to get with a hot girl.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Francesca drops her Hispanic accent partway through the film. The novelization explains this as her accent being one she deliberately puts on to mock people who think she can't speak English. If she isn't making fun of someone, she doesn't use it.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: The protagonists.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: The hypertime device malfunctions after Zak gets it wet.
  • Power Glows: When Zak uses the watch while already in the hypertime chamber.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": The meter maid said this upon seeing a dog peeing on her cart from Zak and Francesca's frozen time crusade.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dopler. Unusually for this trope, he's called out on (and mocked for) the damage he's caused.
  • Shout-Out: During their pranking spree with the watch, Francesca tells Zak, "Make it so, Number One."
    Francesca: What? We have Star Trek in Venezuela!
  • Silent Antagonist / The Voiceless: Gates’ henchmen have but a few lines and are mostly silent.
  • Stereotype Flip: Meeker, the black guy, is a much worse DJ than his white rival.
  • Super-Speed: Since those in Hypertime see time as slower, those not in Hypertime so those in Hypertime, or ones affected by ones who are, as faster
  • Take Over the World: Gates plans to use the watch to achieve this.
  • This Is as Far as I Go: Dopler refuses to accompany Zak and Francesca into Quantum Tech headquarters. At first, at least.
  • Time Travel: Disputable, but since people in Hypertime move faster in time than anyone or anything else, getting out of Hypertime means going to the relative past.
  • Time Stands Still: Hypertime. Although it's more like "you are going so fast everything else looks like it's standing still".
  • Token Trio: Zak, Francesca and Meeker on the cover.
  • Totally Radical: Dopler's speech patterns make sense for the 20-something he really is. However, as he's been aged to about his early 50s, it comes across as this. Zak even mocks it in the film.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: This is a movie about kids freezing time and not a sci-fi thriller about manipulating the device to be used by an Evil Corporation, yes? No? Gates is dead serious in pretty much all of his scenes and clearly cares nothing for what the potential consequences of manipulating time could be. He's willing to use anyone who is of value towards his goals and is more than capable of having those who interfere stomped out if he deems it necessary.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Zak's father is certainly well-meaning, but doesn't have much time for his family because of his work. The rest of the family seems to accept this while Zak resents it.
  • Younger Than They Look: Dopler is 27 years old, but being forced to use the watch constantly to speed up his work leaves him looking over 60. Humorously, he still talks like a 27-year-old.