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Time Traveler's Wife, The (2009) Print E-mail
Friday, 12 February 2010
Image"The Time Traveler's Wife" is another romantic drama that is based on a "best-selling" novel.  However, this time it is a little more of a mixture of genres than, say, "The Notebook" or "Nights at Rodanthe."  This film has a bit of science fiction in it and visual effects.  Still, the film fails to truly impress.

It is rare that best-selling novels turn into great movies.  Take the Harry Potter series.  The movies are entertaining, but they are not classic movies based on the book.  The same applies to "The Time Traveler's Wife."  The film has some major plot holes and leaves a lot to be desired.  I promise you, this will be a movie that you will reinvent in your mind.

Obviously, the filmmakers were limited to events based in the book, however, I could see the film taking different turns had it not been following the novel.

Eric Bana plays Henry, a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time at random and for indeterminable amounts of time.  As a boy he watched as his mother was killed in a car crash.  He was in the back seat at the time and his first time traveling experience occurred, distracting his mom from the road.  When then fast forward to his young adulthood years in which he is working as a research librarian.  It is there that he meets Clare (Rachel McAdams).  She knows Henry, but Henry is at a loss.

Clare tells Henry about his future-self time traveling to her when she was just a little girl and all his subsequent visits.  His future self becomes her best friend and she falls in love with him.  They finally meet in the present when they are both the same age.  As this is a story of fate, they already know that they are meant for each other.  While Clare believes that she is ready to live a life with a man that disappears at random, the unexpected time traveling moments take a toll on their marriage.

This first half of the film is quite stretched and jumps all over the place leaving the audience disoriented.  The final third of the film is a bit more interesting.  This section of the film introduces a human element to the plot and grounds the film as more of a romantic drama than science fiction.  Without a doubt this final section of the movie is the most interesting to watch.  Still, it leaves you unsatisfied.
That is ultimately the problem with the film.  There are too many loop holes, plot holes and wishing that something different would happen.  Having never read the book I cannot attest to whether or not the plot issues is a result of the original book or the adaptation.  My guess would be a mixture of the two.

Nevertheless, this a film that can be enjoyed by both male and female, especially on this Valentine's Day.  I take that back, this is not really a "get you in the spirit" type of romantic drama.  In fact, it is fairly depressing.  The film introduces us to how it is going to end early into the story.  That ruins things because you only really sit through the rest of the film hoping that it isn't going to turn out the way that they indicated.

New Line brings "The Time Traveler's Wife" to Blu-ray with a 080p/VC-1 encode that is better than I would have thought.  My main complaint with the transfer is that elevated contrast level.  There are numerous instances of non-revealing, crushed black spots and overblown practicals.  Saturation is also a bit on the high side.  Notice the greens and yellows in the meadows.  They are blooming just a little bit, causing an unnatural look.  Edge enhancement is a bit more apparent than I would like.  Dimensionality is strong and colors, though highly saturated, are vivid.  Fleshtones are stable for most part, though there are a couple of instances in which the skintones take on a muddy orange tinge.  Details are strong throughout, and there is only one really distracting fast motion pan, obscuring all details.  This is a great video transfer based on the history of New Line's romantic film releases.

I was pleasantly surprised by the audio on this disc.  It seems that New Line is shifting toward DTS-HD.  The lossless track here is expectedly front heavy.  However, the dialogue is weightier than I ever heard dialogue in a romantic drama.  Clarity remains strong despite the beefy bottom end to the voices.  The sound effect sequences used during Henry's time traveling is forgetful, but fits appropriately with the film.  Visual effects are not the main importance and thus the audio effects should not take precedence either.  The rear channels are engaging but not really immersive.  Dynamics and frequency response is better than most romantic dramas.  While you won't remember many audio tracks of this genre, it is certainly easy to remember than the audio track of this film stands out just a bit more than most.

The Blu-ray only comes with two bonus features.  Exclusive to the Blu-ray is "An Unconventional Love Story" which has the two main actors discussing their characters' relationship.  "'The Time Traveler's Wife' – Love Beyond Words" which is a basic novel to screen adaptation featurette.  Sadly, there is not audio or video commentary or deleted scenes.  Boo!  A Digital Copy is also included.

"The Time Traveler's Wife" is definitely enjoyable for both partners.  Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana are strong on screen.  The film is supported by very good audio and video transfers.  I recommend this disc, or at least a rent.

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