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The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

June 29, 2010

4/10 Quantum Leaps

You ever see a movie that just exists for the sake of existing? Yeah, this is one of those.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is about a guy and girl who fall in love, only the guy can time travel to different points in his life against his will, it makes things difficult for their relationship, but they’re in love so they work it out like the troopers they are.

I saw this one a couple weeks ago and have put off writing a review for it because, to be honest, I really didn’t care. One of those movies that seems to erase itself from your being the second it ends, an experience that I imagine is probably similar to looking at your watch, seeing it’s 1:00 PM, then having Agent J. walk in the room, flash you with his Neuralyzer, then you look down at your watch to see that it’s 3:00 and for some reason you know how The Time Traveler’s Wife ends.

No skin off my back, but still, an unfortunate way to lose two hours.

When it comes to the acting, Eric Bana‘s fine and Rachel McAdams is fine. That’s it.

The directing by Robert Schwentke, also fine. Again, that’s it.

The problem here is the script that leaves the cast with nothing to work with and somehow manages to make time travel, and everything else for that matter, boring. The dialogue is painfully ordinary, has all the flair of a conversation between mimes, and as interesting as this story should have been with the whole “Wouldn’t it be crazy to be in love and time travel at the same time?” thing going for it – not that anyone was really thinking that to begin with – it ends up missing the mark completely, leaving us with this snoozefest. Towards the end, it ends up being a little interesting in regards to serving as a kind of tame meditation on coping with loss, but I was already a goner long before that rolled around.

I was at a party last weekend where someone went off on this movie calling it “The worst movie I’ve ever seen after Taxi! (the Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah version that I will hopefully never see)”, and while it’s not quite that bad, I wasn’t exactly arguing with the guy either. There’s no way that the source material isn’t astronomically better, ’cause The Time Traveler’s Wife is just a completely unspectacular and entirely forgettable movie in every way. Has nothing to do with it not being my kind of movie or anything like that, it’s just not often I come across a movie so overwhelmingly average, unaffecting and generally sleep-inducing that the word “indifference” doesn’t even begin to describe the lack of emotion I felt towards anything this thing had to offer.

So, as usual, stick with the book. Something was very much lost in translation.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. nothatwasacompliment permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:06 am

    hmm…i can’t really disagree with anything you said in your review, yet i liked this one a bit more than you. didn’t love it or anything, but it was tolerable and occasionally interesting.

    • June 29, 2010 3:34 pm

      Definitely tolerable, just felt like the whole time travel thing felt kind of pointless after a while, like it didn’t add anything to the story outside of just feeling gimmicky. Eh, wasn’t terrible, it was just there, but I hear ya all the same.

  2. Marc permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:15 am

    I saw this with the wife and really didn’t mind it. I’d give it a generous 6. My biggest problem was the uncontrollable time traveling “gene” which that was a stretch). Tell me it was a time traveling experiment that went wrong or some exposture to radioactive material. Don’t tell me it’s some abnormality. Like telling me, “Oh I was born with 32 chromosomes…and now I can FLY! Give me a break.

    Also, I find it very very hard to believe a girl would really make it her life’s goal to never fall in love with anyone else after seeing some “weird naked guy who showed up in the woods”. Time traveling destiny be damned…that was lame. But I liked Bana and McAdams…hence the generous 6:)

  3. June 29, 2010 12:41 pm

    Why did this chick marry a time traveler, and then complain that he’s time traveling??? Thank you, I rest my case.

    • June 29, 2010 12:45 pm

      This is what I got from the trailer and what stopped me from going to see it. I love Eric Bana and usually will see anything just because he’s in it, but I still can’t bring myself to settle down and give this one a try. If Aiden is right, I may have saved myself a few hours.

      • June 29, 2010 6:03 pm

        I’m with Heather. I LOVE Eric Bana but I still haven’t bothered with this one. I kinda get the snoozefest vibe even from the trailer. It’s a collection of ‘fine’ everything: acting, directing, etc. that sums up to meh. It’s too bad given the talents involved.

    • June 29, 2010 1:02 pm

      That’s the best question I think anyone’s asked about this movie yet. Very strange.

  4. June 29, 2010 3:21 pm

    Anything on an Oprah booklist will end up being adapted now. Hollywood figures, despite there being no real story, that people will so it anyway.

  5. June 29, 2010 6:02 pm

    So Rachel McAdams is becoming the Queen of bad chick flicks – I’ve heard people rave about this and The Notebook, but please, may I never see either! I don’t want to be one of these guys that gets ‘Notebooked’!

    • June 30, 2010 12:48 pm

      Oooh, I won’t say that in front of Castor, Dan… he LOVES Rachel 🙂 I don’t mind The Notebook, I just don’t love it as much as other chicks (and guys too).

    • June 30, 2010 1:03 pm

      Dan, you have been banned from Anomalous Material!!!!!!!!!!


  6. June 30, 2010 1:02 pm

    I can’t really disagree with you as it was a somewhat disappointing movie in how incredibly unambitious it was. Additionally, the movie kept the disconnected, odd structure of the book which made way for way too many fade-to-black transitions. However, I did find it pleasant enough and worth a watch. One of those movie that needed a big name director and more creative writing to make it special.

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