Saturday, August 15, 2009

When book and movie meet, pt 2

Here we go again.
The book: The Time Traveller's Wife
The author: Audrey Niffenegger
The Deal: So, this six year old girl wanders down to The Meadow near her family's home to throw a little informal picnic for herself. Just as she gets to the parcelling out of the sandies, she hears a rustling in the trees bordering the Meadow and demands to know who it is, and for that person to come out. The person asks, first, for the picnic blanket. She, suspicious of the request, passes it over. Seconds later, a 35 year old man emerges, wearing the blanket and proceeds to inform her that he is a time traveller, that this is the first of many meetings, and, please, could she find some man-clothes to hide in The Meadow for 'the next time'. See, here's the dealio: he never knows when and where he'll be travelling, but it will always be sans clothes. Pretty cool, eh? The next 20+ years go by and there are all sorts of inconvenient meetings. But, oh, wait, did I tell you that this is, at heart, a romance, not a scientific discourse on the physics of time travel? Well, it is. And yes, the laws of physics are being suspended for the duration of this book...or, really, why bother?
There were so many smart, witty and perceptive exchanges, esp between Clare (the actual TTW) and Henry (the TT of the title), that I began to enjoy those, without realising that the stage was being set for some pretty logic-defying events. If you are in the mood for a big, juicy, tender-hearted and sweet story (as opposed to one about a serial killer in post WWII Russia), take a chance. Oh, and leave your stubborn adherence to what is physically possible at the title page.

The Grading Session: Gotta be 4.99999 stars out of 5. When you read the book you will understand why I am reserving 0.00001 point.

Lessons Learned: Sometimes, even the most basic things simply can not be explained by love. Also, make sure you have clothing stashed all over town, just in case. PS- time travel is terrific, if challenging, if it leads to true love. However, wouldn't one measly super power go just perfectly with it?

Pt 2
The Film: stop me if you've heard this before: The Time Traveller's Wife
The Folk: Eric Bana (Henry), Rachael McAdams (Clare), Ron Livingston, Stephen Tobolewsky (sp? 'BING!').
The Deal: Please see above.
Confession time: I walked in 90 seconds after the movie began. The initial scene I saw was not in the book. Or, at least, I do not remember it. However, it set things off at a break-neck speed. Then we get the scene of Henry and Clare meeting. The back and forth nature of the storytelling (did I mention that the main character is a time traveller?) may seem needlessly confusing. And, at first, it truly is. Then I saw this as a way for us to understand what Henry and Clare saw, felt and worried about throughout the length of their relationship. NOTE: If you have read the book, the ending is a bit changed. And I liked this tinkering, although usually such editing makes me want to slap someone involved in the production. Really hard. Lots of episodes have been released from Plot Bondage, but not to the detriment of the forward movement of the plot (improved it, in fact).

The Grading Session: 5 stars out of 5. (Although I really did not care for the version of the song used as a leitmotif, as much as the one in the trailer. Hey, such things matter to me; hazards of having two sons who are musicians.)

Lessons Learned: Clearly her parents never taught Clare about 'stranger danger'. Or, as we referred to it at the HQ of the Corporation Prendergast, 'L as in Lunatic'. I mean this dude travelled in the nude! Perhaps, for the sake of plot, this turned out to be a good thing?
Also, to get really metaphysical about it, couldn't we view the time-travel element in this story/film as a metaphor for all the assorted challenges and opportunities (as my boss would say) that face any of us trying to make an important relationship work over the long run? I choose to think so.
Lastly, if you are going to hold the story up to the light, and run a reality-detection pen across its surface, I am pretty sure you are going to miss a wonderful, smile- and tear-inducing experience. As for me, pass the tissues. Pronto.

1 comment:

  1. You are hilarious! Great writing... very illustrative. Keep up the great work!