“The Time Travel(l)er’s Wife”

The Time Traveler’s Wife (the third word must be pronounced “truh-vee’-ler’s,” as far as I’m concerned) was merely OK, I guess, to pass the time–and I only paid $4.20 to see it. I suppose the story is meant to be a metaphor for absent spouses (or something “profound” along those lines), but with all the time-jumping there is almost no coherent character development at all, so it doesn’t really work as romance or as science-fiction or, really, as anything. It must work much better in the book upon which it’s based, but I’m not inclined to find out.

One of the more annoying things about the film is that it was meant to be released last November, and it thus begins and ends around Christmas and New Year’s and also prominently features the German Christmas carol “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”–all of which just completely does not work for a film release in sweltering August. (My guess is that they will attempt to rush out the video for pre-Christmas, later this year.) Apparently, they had to do some major-scene reshoots (never a good sign!), but they had to wait until Eric Bana had grown his hair back after being the bald-bad-ass Romulan, Nero, in Star Trek and for the correct season to come around again. (Bana’s hair, or lack of it in Star Trek, oddly “stars” in both films.) As the time-traveller, he is semi-naked a lot, although you never actually really ever see more than his chest and, occasionally, his fleeting ass. He’s also in Funny People (an even worse film), so he’s kind of the “overexposed” (in some cases, literally) actor of summer 2009, something like Jude Law was five to eight years ago.

Bana’s co-star, pretty Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, was earlier in the romance film The Notebook (which no doubt inspired her being cast as the time-traveller’s wife), and she was the victim in the thriller Red Eye, as well as being in the comedies Mean Girls and Wedding Crashers. Speaking of people and things Canadian, I noticed Toronto’s Roncesvalles/High Park and Queens Quay areas (etc.) pretending to be Chicago, and apparently parts of the film were also done in Hamilton, Ontario. The score is by frequent Atom Egoyan collaborator Mychael Danna (who, as his brother Jeff told me in June, has recently moved back to Toronto from LA). The score was actually recorded in LA, though. Also, the occasional classical singing heard in the film is provided by Canadian operatic soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, and the Toronto band Broken Social Scene appears as a wedding cover band, performing (in what must be the worst wedding song selection ever) Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again.”

For multiple versions of the same character, instead see the much better current science-fiction film Moon. For incorporations of 1980s’ British gloom-rock, instead see the much better current “relationship” film 500 Days of Summer.

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