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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Schwentke
Cast:
Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Alex Ferris, Arliss Howard, Ron Livingston
Writing Credits:
Bruce Joel Rubin, Audrey Niffenegger (novel)

Synopsis:
Lose yourself in timeless love with this gloriously romantic story of the journey of two hearts. Artist Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) shares a deep emotional bond with Henry De Tamble (Eric Bana), a handsome librarian who travels involuntarily through time. Knowing they can be separated without warning, Clare and Henry treasure the moments they have together, imbuing them with the yearning and passion of two people imprisoned by time ... and set free by love. Based on the #1 bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife weaves together destiny and devotion, past and future to turn an extraordinary love into an extraordinary love story.

Box Office:
Budget
$39 million.
Opening Weekend
$18.623 million on 2988 screens.
Domestic Gross
$63.411 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 2/9/2010

Bonus:
• “The Time Traveler’s Wife: Love Beyond Words” Featurette
• Previews


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The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 1, 2010)

Despite my general disdain for “chick flicks”, I thought 2009’s The Time Traveler’s Wife boasted enough of a sci-fi twist that it might become interesting. At a young age, Henry De Tamble (Alex Ferris) learns that he possesses an odd genetic anomaly. This sends him through time without notice, and this trend continues through adulthood (Eric Bana).

Which kinda puts a crimp in his various relationships and other elements of his life. He works as a librarian and has a strange encounter with Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams), a woman who claims to already know him. Despite some wariness, he agrees to meet her for dinner. Over a meal, Henry learns that an older version of himself visited Clare as a child and gave her details of his life and condition. This means Clare knows many things about which the current Henry remains unaware, and her love for him makes the situation awkward. The film attempts to explain their unusual relationship and follows it over the ensuing years.

That sure sounds like a story that could boast a lot of vivid adventures, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, one word best describes Wife: uninspired. Despite all the potential for interesting moments, intriguing moments pop up infrequently. Henry bops around from era to era and place to place, but nothing particularly engaging occurs. Stuff just kinda… happens.

I don’t demand shots of Henry as he runs from dinosaurs or as he sits at the roundtable with King Arthur; I’d just like something. Instead, we see Henry’s semi-creepy relationship with little Clare (Brooklyn Proulx) and his other visitations with friends and family. As the film progresses, these do possess a greater impact, but they remain fairly uninvolving.

If Wife gave us a more emotional character tale, I wouldn’t mind. However, it seems thin in that regard as well. Henry and Clare have a deep love, but we never get a sense why this occurs. We’re simply supposed to accept their bond because the movie tells us to do so. The characters fail to receive much definition, so the story limps along as it rarely goes much of anywhere.

Again, Wife does become a bit better developed in its last act. We see more obvious tear-jerking material over that span; while not drawn in a particularly strong manner, at least the movie manages to evoke a little emotion as it nears its end. That’s a contrast to the decidedly drab first two acts or so.

Nonetheless, the undercooked nature of the characters and the story means that Wife just never kicks into gear. It sputters along for its 107 minutes and generally fails to develop its premise. Given the story’s potential for drama, the end result disappoints.


The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

The Time Traveler’s Wife appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture had some positives, it was more erratic than I’d like.

Sharpness was inconsistent. Close-ups and two-shots looked fine, but anything wider tended to be rough and ill-defined. Some of the issues stemmed from digital artifacts; I noticed mild edge enhancement along with somewhat mosquito noise. The movie came across as rather blocky on occasion, and I noticed light shimmering and jagged edges at times. No source flaws appeared, however.

Colors were decent. The flick went with a fairly stylized palette that favored golds and heavy hues. These could be somewhat too thick, but they were usually fine. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while shadows looked moderately dense; they lacked much detail. I liked enough of the transfer to merit a “C-”, but much of it didn’t work very well.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Wife, it provided modest pleasures. Like most romances, this one went with a pretty restrained soundfield. A few scenes – subways, fireworks, the accident at the film’s start – boasted a reasonable amount of life, but they were infrequent. The surrounds offered mild reinforcement and not much more. Given the film’s nature, I didn’t expect a broad soundscape, and the film delivered the expected auditory perspective.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was consistently crisp and tight, without edginess or other issues. Music fared best, as the score and songs provided nice vivacity and punch. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they seemed acceptably accurate and full. Nothing here impressed, but I thought the track deserved a “B-“.

Only one extra shows up here: a featurette entitled The Time Traveler’s Wife: Love Beyond Words. In this 21-minute, four-second piece, we hear from screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, producers Dede Gardner and Nick Wechsler, director Robert Schwentke, and actors Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, and Robert Livingston. The show looks at the script/story and the adaptation of the novel, characters and performances, visual design, and some themes.

I expected a fluff piece here, but “Words” actually offers a good dissection of the film’s narrative. In particular, we get a nice examination of the changes made to bring the source book to the screen. The show digs into the various areas well.

A few ads open the disc. We get promos for Where the Wild Things Are, Valentine’s Day, Sherlock Holmes, The Blind Side, Gone with the Wind and Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove. No trailer for Wife appears here.

With its combination of sci-fi elements and romantic chick flick underpinnings, The Time Traveler’s Wife boasted the potential to offer a neat change of pace. While I like the basic premise, the movie fails to explore its themes and possibilities in a satisfying manner. The DVD gives us flawed picture, decent audio and one good featurette. Wife had the potential to turn into a romantic drama that also would satisfy the male audience, but it sputters in all areas.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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