Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To The Movies: The Time Traveler's Wife

When a storyline from a book is turned into a movie, the movie becomes its own text. The basic storyline may be the same, but when changes are made in order to fit the movie within a time limit or to highlight an element or theme that the people involved in the movie feels is important—they make the story their own.  I will focus these features on movies made based on books I have read—I want to look beyond whether I think the movie is better or worse than the book.  I want to appreciate and review the movie as a companion to the book.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Actors: Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Arliss Howard, & Ron Livingston
Director: Robert Schwentke
Scriptwriter: Bruce Joel Rubin
Date DVD Released: February 9, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Info: IMDB
Order Online:
Rating: 3 stars
Movie borrowed from library.

In A Nutshell:
I liked The Time Traveler's Wife.  I found it entertaining, the type of movie I could watch again and enjoy.  I particularly found the special features interesting; they gave me a glimpse into why some of the decisions were made.  Overall, I felt that the movie kept to the spirit of the book while making some changes that helped me to like it even more than the book. 

I hoped the movie would address some of my concerns from the book, in particular that it felt too long and that it was very slow in the beginning.  I was not disappointed.  Rather than having the memories of Clair and Henry in the meadow dominate the beginning of the story; those memories are interwoven throughout the story.  This weaving of the memories brought the action of the story out much more quickly in the movie.

I appreciated that the movie asked the biggest question I had after reading the book, namely, were Clair and Henry destined to be together or were they together because Henry came to the meadow and told Clair they were married in the future.  However, I was sorry to see that not much was done.  Clair asked the question in anger but the question was not answered.  When she calmed down, the question was not addressed again.  I realize that there may not really be an answer, but since it was a question that really struck me in book, I was disappointed to have it asked and then not addressed in the movie.

I appreciated some of the some decisions made that deviated from the book.  In particular, the way that Henry convinces Dr. Kendrick that he can time travel.  The story from the book made me sad and a little uncomfortable.  The story from the movie was almost comedic in my opinion—(**spoiler alert** one minute Henry is in the MRI machine and Dr. Kendrick is ignoring him and the next Henry’s clothes are in the machine and Dr. Kendrick is staring confused.)

The movie focuses more on the romantic elements of the story than the science fiction elements of the story.  For instance, the relationship with Dr. Kendrick is only explored as it affects Clair and Henry’s desire to have a child, while the genetic research done to determine how or why Henry time travels is glossed over.  Since I went into the movie with the expectation that it would be a romantic movie, I was okay with the decision.  However, a friend of mine was a little disappointed to see there was not much science fiction in the movie. 

I loved the special features included on the DVD.  I learned a lot from listening to the insight and background behind some of the decisions that were made during the process of writing and producing this movie.  It made me appreciate the movie so much more and made me want to re-watch the movie so I could see some of the scenes referred to in the special features in context.

I enjoyed watching Eric Bana's performance, so I set out to see what else he was in.  I found out he was in another book-turned-to-movie.  I have not read the book for this movie yet, but it is on my TBR.  Until then, I have enjoyed the movie:
The Other Boleyn Girl

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