Time travel in films has always been a popular subject. Those films mostly revolved around science-fiction ideas. There have been a plenty of films who have tried to mix science-fiction elements with romance comedy elements. But you likely won’t remember The Lake House as much as you remember Back to the Future. The reason for that is simple. Mostly all romantic, science-fiction, time travel films are completely forgettable. The Time Traveler’s Wife is the latest film to try and mix romance with science-fiction.
In The Time Traveler’s Wife, Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) has been able to time travel due to a genetic disorder called Chrono-Displacement, ever since he was a young boy. This forces him to never truly fall in love. That is until he meets Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) one afternoon at his library job. Henry finds the soul mate he never knew he had, learning that he visited Clare in the past from the future, building a relationship with the impressionable woman throughout the years. Forging a unique bond, Clare and Henry decide to get married, though life with a man that is hardly ever there starts to wear on Clare’s patience. Henry, eager to slow down his condition, finds help from a geneticist (Stephen Tobolowsky), but soon learns that no matter what he does in the past, present, or future, he can’t fight his fate.
At its core, The Time Traveler’s Wife follows the basic outline of every other romantic comedy. Two people meet, fall in love, and have to overcome obstacles to stay together. But comedy is really few and far between during this film. Instead, this film opts to go with a more science-fiction route. The problem is that you really have to suspend disbelief to believe anything that is happening in this film. Good science-fiction films are ones that viewers can easily do just that. However, The Time Traveler’s Wife is filled with too many inconsistencies and plot holes to really believe completely. The most glaring inconsistency is the basic idea of fate and time travel in general. Most believe that if you could go back in time, you can either change things and prevent bad things from happening, or not be able to change anything, because what has happened will still happen. This film can’t make up its mind on which idea it wants to believe.
If you can accept the premise, though, you will grow to like and feel for the main characters. You will want to see Henry and Clare together in the end. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams have great chemistry together. Clare knew what she was getting into when she married Henry but still complained about him not being there many times. So McAdams has the difficult time of making Clare likable, but she does just that and you still want to see Clare happy with Henry in the end. That carries this film a long way.
The Time Traveler’s Wife moves along at a fast pace that it mostly prevents you from seeing all the flaws in the story until the film ends. Of course, women will certainly love all of the romantic elements in this film. But for the men in their lives that might have to watch this film, it’s at least more bearable for them to watch than most romantic dramas in recent years. That doesn’t mean you won’t completely forget about it after watching it, though.
The video on the Blu-ray disc is presented in 1080p/VC-1 codec at the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs of course. This transfer is great. Small details are clear and all the colors are crisp and vibrant. Not the best looking Blu-ray, though. No major problems, though.
The audio included on the Blu-ray disc is available in English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. No major problems here either.
“An Unconventional Love Story” Featurette –
This runs 26 minutes and it’s like most every other behind-the-scenes featurette. It talks about the film’s entire cycle of filmmaking, including information on location hunting, prop making, scoring, scripting, and the creation of visual “echoes” that help connect the film’s dramatic intent. Various cast and crew members also comment on all of these different areas along the way as well.
Found on the DVD As Well…
“Love Beyond Words” Featurette –
This runs 21 minutes and it focuses on the troubles of adaptation, and how the product felt the need to please fans while enticing newcomers with “shifting perspectives” and a general reworking of Henry’s trauma. The writer of the novel, Bruce Joel Rubin, reflecting on his challenges for this movie and talks about his hopes for the final product.
This is worth a rental, if you enjoy romantic comedies. Perhaps even worth a purchase if you really love Rachel McAdams or Eric Bana. All others will likely want to pass, although it’s not the worse thing to watch.
New Line Home Entertainment presents The Time Traveler’s Wife. Directed by Robert Schwentke. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin. Starring Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Arliss Howard, Ron Livingston, and Stephen Tobolowsky. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: February 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
I'm not embarrassed to say that my favorite television show of all-time is The O.C. I live by the motto "you can't fight fate!" More importantly, I watch WAY too much television, but I do so for the benefit of everyone reading this now. So to my mom and my wife, I say thanks for reading! To everyone else that might stumble across this, remember TiVo should be your best friend!