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The Time Traveler's Wife(2009)
Clare has been in love with Henry her entire life. She believes they are destined to be together, even though she never knows when they will be separated: Henry is a time traveler-- cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through his lifespan with no control. Despite the fact that Henry's travels force them apart with no warning, Clare desperately tries to build a life with her one true love.
For more about The Time Traveler's Wife and the The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray release, see the The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 28, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Stephen Tobolowsky, Arliss Howard, Brooklynn Proulx
Director: Robert Schwentke
» See full cast & crew
The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray Review
A syrupy romance wrapped in a flimsy sci-fi bow...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 28, 2010
Every time I see a phrase like "based on the bestselling novel," "from the author who brought you..." or "from the acclaimed bestseller," I cringe. Not to plant my intellectual flag in frequently trampled soil, but bestsellers are rarely the best books. Crowd pleasers with mass-market charm, they're literary popcorn; good for a quick snack, but a poor choice for a meal. Me? I can always be found rummaging the shelves at Borders, pouring through pages bound by unassuming covers; ever in search of a voice, a distinct point of view, an intriguing concept worth pursuing. Even so, director Robert Schwentke's The Time Traveler's Wife, despite having those four dreaded words plastered neatly beneath its title, piqued my interest. I'm an absolute sucker when it comes to time travel tales, and the idea of a man desperately fighting to maintain a romantic relationship while being yanked through the time stream struck me as one teeming with promise. Sadly, the end result failed to win me over. Though Scwentke's film succeeds on its own terms, and will certainly worm its way into many a feminine heart this Valentine's Day, it squanders its potential and, more often than not, reduces its central conceit to a gimmick.
Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) has been bounding through time since he was six. It's a curse to say the least; one that hurtles the poor kid from past to present to future, sans clothes, with no control over where or when he'll arrive, or when he'll return. Never mind the inevitable questions such a haphazard setup raises but never answers -- How does dear lil' Henry make it through grade school? How does his father (Arliss Howard) tackle the challenges of raising a child who can disappear at any moment? How does he fare after his mother (Michelle Nolden) tragically dies before his eyes? -- just rest easy in the knowledge that he's been pulled and pushed from era to era since he was a boy. Over the course of his seemingly random journey, he encounters a young woman named Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) with whom he falls hopelessly in love. While his feelings only begin to bloom after Clare tells him Future Henry has pledged his undying affections (let that one rattle around in your brain), he's swept up in a romance that defies the ages. Inexplicably drawn to Clare, Henry befriends her as a girl, continues to visit her as a teenager, kisses her at eighteen, and eventually slips a ring on her finger. But as their time together grows increasingly complicated, Henry and Clare struggle to deal with the trials of their unorthodox relationship.
Based on Audrey Niffenegger's award-winning novel of the same name, The Time Traveler's Wife plays like a Connie Willis story that's been diluted and repackaged by schlock-master Nicholas Sparks. There are several fascinating concepts coursing beneath the surface -- a young girl robbed of free will, a man struggling with a debilitating fear of fatherhood, time travel being linked to a force akin to gravitational pull, fate as a product of overlapping time, and self-generating paradoxes, just to name a few -- but Schwentke and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin are so focused on the melodramatic fundamentals of Henry and Clare's romance that they afford very little time to the loftier ideas weaved throughout Niffenegger's story. The filmmakers touch on each subject, sure, but they tend to move on before doing any of Wife's complexities proper justice. The result? Sentimental science fiction stripped of its meatiest sci-fi; a sappy romance that teases but rarely delivers; an anemic epic that has more in common with The Notebook than 12 Monkeys. The fact that the film's runtime is a mere 107-minutes makes it particularly disappointing. There's more than enough room for further exploration, be it practical or cerebral, and more than enough subtleties to examine. Even the film's primary mystery (Future Henry appears with a bullet wound but vanishes before anyone can learn his fate) comes to a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion riddled with plot holes.
All that being said, The Time Traveler's Wife gets a few things right. Bana and McAdams eagerly embrace their individual roles, no doubt an extension of their breezy chemistry. He pines and broods convincingly whenever called upon, granting Henry a solemn yet soulful demeanor derived from hardship; she beams and weeps with ease, infusing Clare with the hopefulness and hopelessness befitting her difficult circumstances. A third-act development (which I won't spoil here) emerges as an even more captivating aspect of the story. It strikes a more satisfying balance of science fiction and drama than Henry and Clare's romance, and finally, finally makes the film as much an intellectual mind-bender as a touching tragedy. Though little more than a subplot, it outclasses everything that comes before it and strengthens everything that transpires in its wake. Had Rubin and Schwentke struck this chord earlier, I might have been more responsive to the loo-doo-doo of their maudlin symphony. Unfortunately, their obsession with lingering declarations and doe-eyed longing prevents them from achieving anything greater or grander. Is The Time Traveler's Wife a bad film? Not at all. Gents looking for something to enjoy about their wife's latest rental will find it to be a palatable alternative to her usual choices. But those expecting anything more than a romance draped in time travel clothing will be left in the cold.
The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Time Traveler's Wife features a sumptuous 1080p/VC-1 transfer brimming with rich colors and dramatic primaries. Despite some over-saturation, skintones are gorgeous; while sullied by crush, blacks are incredibly inky; though nearly impenetrable, delineation is faithful to cinematographer Florian Ballhaus' painterly vision. Henry's visits to Clare's childhood home are steeped in lush fields and blazing skies. His tenuous trip down a night-clad alleyway is dotted with warm golden hues and seedy greens. His dash through a snow-swept forest exposes him to a stormy bed of chilly grays and blues. Contrast remains strong and stable regardless of the scenario, and the film's jarring palette shifts are strangely consistent even in their inconsistency. Moreover, fine textures stake a claim on every surface, depth is convincing, and detail is exceedingly sharp. Arguably too sharp. Edge enhancement takes a slight toll on the image, occasionally disconnecting foreground objects from their backgrounds. Likewise, faces framed by bright skies suffer from brittle definition and minor ringing. It never becomes a major distraction, but it's an unnecessary hindrance that lessens the impact of the transfer. Be that as it may, The Time Traveler's Wife has been properly primed and polished for mass consumption. Fans of the film will be ecstatic.
The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's able-bodied DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is just as impressive. The Time Traveler's Wife doesn't offer a bombastic sonic experience by any means -- whispers and sighs frequent Henry and Clare's conversations, Mychael Danna's score is one of the more engaging elements of the mix, and snazzy directional effects are few and far between -- but it does handle the film's quiet exchanges and more sobering scenes with poise and confidence. LFE support is ever-present and ever-ready, and rear speaker activity enhances interior acoustics and exterior ambience. Bustling city streets immerse the listener in crowd chatter and dense traffic, Clare's lonely home sounds as empty as it should, and Henry's sudden arrival in another time period carries with it the weight of whatever situation he finds himself in. To that end, pans are transparent and dynamics prove to be quite arresting. Granted, a first-act tragedy and a third-act mishap are two of the only standout sequences, but the rest of the mix is so proficient that it hardly matters. Dialogue is crisp and intelligible (regardless of the locale), lines are never buried in the mix, and prioritization is spot on. The track wouldn't turn many heads in the middle of Best Buy, but it is another solid offering from Warner Brothers.
The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Time Traveler's Wife materializes on Blu-ray with a slim supplemental package comprised of a pair of semi-decent production documentaries: "An Unconventional Love Story" (HD, 26 minutes) and "Love Beyond Words" (HD, 21 minutes). The former gives Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams the opportunity to discuss their characters, the nuances of the tale's fractured timeline, and the relationship that unfolds on screen. The latter looks at the adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's novel and the challenges the filmmakers faced in translating her ideas for the screen. Both are solid, but both are tainted by the qualities of a studio EPK.
The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Time Traveler's Wife may appeal to those longing for romance in the vein of The Notebook, but others -- particularly time-travel genre junkies -- will be left with heavy-handed melodramatics that overpower Niffenegger's intriguing ideas. Setting aside its lackluster supplemental package, the Blu-ray edition is much better. Its video transfer is quite striking (artificial sharpening notwithstanding) and its DTS-HD Master Audio track is fit and faithful. I can't guarantee you'll enjoy the film itself, but anyone who does will be more than pleased with Warner's AV presentation.
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The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - February 9th - February 9, 2010
Making his full-length feature directorial debut, Peter Billingsley (who will forever be known as "Ralphie" from A Christmas Story) couldn't have hopped for a better supporting team. On writing detail was popular funnyman Vince Vaughn and the driving force behind ...
• The Time Traveler's Wife Blu-ray Announced - October 30, 2009
Warner Home Video, in conjunction with New Line Home Entertainment, has announced the release of the fantasy/romance movie 'The Time Traveler's Wife', starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, on Blu-ray on February 2, 2010, day-and-date with the DVD. The Blu-ray ...
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