The Time Traveler's Wife [Blu-ray] (2009)

Actors: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams
Director: Robert Schwentke
Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Subtitled
Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: New Line
DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010
Run Time: 107 minutes




The book is always better as they say and The Time Traveler’s Wife is no exception alas.

Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 debut novel was a wonderfully immersive and emotionally involving experience. It comes highly recommended.

It was one of those clearly science fiction books they marketed as something more “literary” instead, much like Cormac McCarthy’s popular The Road. Anyone who has however seen any of the early Terminator movies and X-Men will instantly recognize its main plot conceit.

Henry (Eric Bana) is the titular “time traveler.” Because of a genetic anomaly he time travels to the past and future. Only problem is that he cannot control his ability. He time travels by random and cannot decide when and where he goes – or for how long. Like the character in Quantum Leap he can also only travel more or less in his own lifetime so he never even gets to meet Hitler or Napoleon or anything like that. The other problem is that like the time travelers in the Terminator movies he pitches up stark naked at his destination, which creates all kinds of problems for him obviously.

Clare (everyone’s favorite Everywoman Rachel McAdams) is the loving wife who waits for him at home – never knowing when he’ll be back or how long he’ll be gone in the first place. Take away the sci-fi trappings and it could the story of a traveling salesman who spends a lot of time on the road while his ever-suffering wife pines at home.

The 2009 film adaptation is however – out of pure necessity of course - a mere Reader’s Digest synopsis of the 500 pages plus novel. It condenses events to the extent where anyone who hasn’t read the book, but did see the movie, will wonder what the fuss is all about.

Worse than that the movie also loses the novel’s grittiness in favor of a more pleasant romance-lite vibe replete with understated string score. The devil is indeed in the details and ditching apparently superfluous details about the main characters’ previous affairs in the book makes them seem too much like a “movie couple” instead of real people. Bana and McAdams also come across as too lifeless and Bana makes his character too much of a metrosexual compared to its literary equivalent. (At 107 minutes the movie is too short.)

THE DISCS: Not much in the line of extras, just two 20 minutes plus making of featurettes, one of them exclusive to the Blu-Ray disc edition. The film-makers talk a bit about the problems inherent in condensing a book such as Time Traveler’s Wife to the big screen. As screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin points out short stories are actually more suitable to movie adaptations. (He also wrote Ghost and Jacob’s Ladder – one can’t think of two more different movies!)

By the way, it is scary how Bana effortlessly switch between an American accent for his movie scenes and his own native Aussie accent for the making-of featurettes!

Unfortunately there are no audio commentaries because it would have been interesting to hear the screenwriter or director compare the book to the finished movie and explain their creative decisions in the process.

Image quality is fantastic and like all Warner Blu-ray discs it plays without a hitch, which is more than one can say of their Universal counterparts.

WORTH IT? Somewhere in Time fans would want to check it out.

RECOMMENDATION: The movie has its moments, but the book is really good and it is suggested that you check it out instead.



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