Monday, January 3, 2011
Day 3: The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
PG-13, 1 hr. 48 min. Directed by: Robert Schwentke. Release Date: August 14, 2009. DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010.
The tragedy of these types of romances is that there always seems to be an element of the stupid added in order to keep this from being too bittersweet. Certainly, a man with a genetic aberration that allows him to slip back and forth within his own lifetime qualifies as the stupid… not unlike the girl who can't decide between the broody vampire and the hot-tempered werewolf. I don't think there's a tragic romance ever created that doesn't have this problem, so I'll try and move past it. Otherwise, all I'll have to say about this movie is that it's too stupid for its own good.
This is one of those movies that arrives in my mailbox from Netflix that when I see it I have to wonder how it got on my movie queue. This isn't the type of movie that I would have rushed to the theaters in order to see, but there was some good stuff here. Primarily the cast, because I think the story was the trite pulp fiction that always seems to be the inspiration for cheesy, silly movies. I love Rachel MacAdams. I have since Mean Girls. Not only is she ridiculously easy on the eyes, but she seems to shine in everything she does. This is a different role for her. A much more grown up role than she's typically played, and based on the trailer for her 2010 release, Morning Glory, it's a type of role she plans on repeating. She's great here, totally winsome and lovable. She manages a pretty awesome chemistry with Eric Bana and it's enough for me to almost feel bad when this whole thing gets to its inevitable ending of Montagues, Capulets, and poisonous draughts. I liked Eric Bana in this, too; which is nice because I haven't liked anything he's done since Troy. I think he's a decent actor, but I think he's been going for mass-market appeal instead of taking roles that will show his talent.
I didn't like how much of this film's back story is created off camera. There are all these "remember then…" moments when either Bana or MacAdams' character has done something terrible to each other. But really the hardship here comes in the explanations for how people either know or don't know about the time traveling going on. Gomez' wife, for instance, is there during a particularly gruesome episode involving multiple Banas and a complete violation of what I'm pretty sure Spock called the "time travel paradox." To our knowledge, she hadn't known about her friend's mutant power, but she's totally nonplussed by the whole event and no one provides an on-screen explanation. The opposite problem occurs with MacAdams' character's family. How they couldn't have seen their son-in-law running around buck naked in his traveling escapades is beyond me… even though he likes to lurk both at his in-laws home and around his own home at various times.
There was something a bit… unpleasantly pedophilic about the development of the relationship between Henry (Bana) who appears as a man in his late-30s and befriends Claire (MacAdams) in her wonder years, maybe eight or nine. I'm willing to believe I've been watching too much SVU, but the several scenes showing Claire as a child interacting with the man who would be her husband were a bit off-putting. Also… if Henry only slips away to times and places that were important to his life, where in the hell does the snowy forest come from? Enquiry minds and all that.