August 14, 2009

'The Time Traveler's Wife' Left Me Looking At My Watch

The Time Traveler's Wife was based on the best-selling book of the same name, but unfortunately the film didn't live up to the hype. Before fans attack me, I have to admit that I have not read the book so my opinions are based solely on a screening of the movie.

The film follows the love story of Henry (Eric Bana) and Clare (Rachel McAdams). The pair first meet when an adult Henry
appears out of nowhere in front of a six-year-old. He continues to travel through time and visit Clare throught her life until the two are eventually married. They live as a fairly normal couple who just accept the fact that Henry uncontrollably dips through time every now and again.

The problem wasn't so much with the story, but the way it was told on the screen. I know the plot revolves around time travel, but I found the storytelling to be jumpy and disconnected while somehow being blindly predictable at the same time (even for someone who didn't read the book.) There were no twists and no real moments of anticipation. It was almost as if the film was a clip montage of a much, much longer and more involved story that left the audience no time to actually connect with the characters. Basically the whole movie was a series of big events with no small moments, so the normal rise and fall of a plot was missing.

Both Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana were fairly bland in the film, with Bana being particularly robotic. Maybe it was his American accent (he's Australian) but his words and sentences came out with a weird forced-ness. I just didn't feel sympathy for his character. Even the dialogue was a little lacking. The sentences weren't emotional; they were purposeful and direct to move the story forward (or backward, depending if he was time traveling or not.)
The film totally violated the "show, don't tell" rule of storytelling. There were also moments when the theater erupted with laughter at things that weren't particularly LOL-worthy. Was it a comedy? Was it a drama? The line wasn't blurry enough. It was a tug of war.

I do have to admit that people who have read The Time Traveler's Wife may get a lot of enjoyment seeing their favorite story acted out on the big screen, but if you haven't read the book you may want to spent your time on something else.