Blu-ray Review: The Time Traveler's Wife, starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams


Based on the 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife is the fractured tale of Henry (Eric Bana) and Claire (Rachael McAdams), a pair destined for life-long love battling the hardships that life inevitably delivers. Out of the ordinary here is the fact that Henry suffers from Chrono-Displacement, an odd genetic disorder that randomly drops him out of his current moment and into other times and places. His time-travel allows him to visit his mother before her tragic death and meet his future wife when she’s only a child, but sadly, he has no control over the jumping and this ailment leaves his life fractured.

The juxtaposition of a romantic love story and a science-fiction plot are handled exquisitely well by director Robert Schwentke. The audience is pulled from day to day — and season to season — in a narrative mirror of what our main characters are experiencing. It may be a tad jolting to some, but the emotional current weaved here still makes the movie feel like it has a linear narrative.

[image-2]The audience must be willing accept two concepts to enjoy this film: 1. The notion of true love, and 2. The fantasy of time travel. The latter is taken care of behind the scenes; the direction and cinematography both steal you from ordinary world with ease. No matter what time period or season the movie jumps to, you'll know where you are. The key to it all though is the love story, the bond between Henry and Claire which is really required to sell this thing. And sell it they do: Bana and McAdams’ performances are brimming with heart and innocence. Hopefully, their romance distracts the audience from thinking too much about the logic of time travel. (And had they failed at selling the romance, The Time Traveler's Wife would have been a disaster.)

Some of my favorite aspects of this story are the morality issues brought up by the unique concept. Will there be outraged viewers when presented with scenes of a grown man approaching a young child, basically selling her on the idea of waiting for him to love him when she’s grown? There is also an interesting fidelity issue present (is it considered cheating if you’re with a lover from the past or future, not the present version?), and at least one fascinating and totally unique obstacle Henry and Claire have to deal with (with an outcome that would only be at home in this one-of-a-kind plot). I won’t give it away, but this twist really forces the audience to ponder issues they probably have never considered before.

That’s why I think The Time Traveler’s Wife works as both a romance and a fantasy deeply tinged with science-fiction hues. It’s deep and rich, unlike most any other love story available.

The Blu-ray version of the film is crisp and clear, with the amount of energy spent detailing each season and each different time period jumping off of the screen. The autumn hues burst with oranges and browns, and the winter’s snows are a blinding cold.

Extras wise The Time Traveler’s Wife offer two separate featurettes, each clocking it at just under a half-hour. The first, "An Unconventional Love Story," is more than your typical behind the scenes fare — It taps into each different aspect of the film’s creation with worthwhile interviews with all the key contributors.

"Love Beyond Words" is similar, but deals with the transition of bringing the novel to the screen. It’s fascinating to hear how certain story elements were left out of the feature because they wouldn’t have translated well.

The Blu-ray version also comes packed with a digital copy of the film that can be loaded on your computer or other portable device. Sadly, there is no theatrical trailer to be found.

The Rabid One’s verdict is that The Time Traveler’s Wife is a touching and poignant piece of cinema that will dig deeply into the hearts of any and all hopeless romantics. Anyone interested in science-fiction (and time travel specifically) will not be bored here, as the film takes liberties with the typical “time travel rules.” The Blu-ray, while not a spectacular package brimming with extras, still touches on the heart and care that went into this production. And seeing as the film got lost in the heat of the blockbuster summer movie season, The Time Traveler's Wife is definitely worth at least a rental.

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… and that’s why I think The Time Traveler’s Wife works as both as a romance and a fantasy deeply tinged with science-fiction hues.

Wait, were you expecting me to start at the beginning of the review, not at a random point within it’s own structure? Follow along to the beginning of The Rabid One's journey with this time-bending love story, now out on Blu-ray just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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