Friday, August 21, 2009

Double Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife ('Time' for a Divorce...)

It all started with a nice premise written on the back of the paperback my friend Odi Rufino showed me not too long ago...

Something about time-travelling man flashes girl, then meets girl, and keeps meeting girl until she’s barely legal enough to boff. Then they boff. Naturally, they don’t live happily ever after. Sort of...

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"...['time traveller] isn’t unenjoyable. As long as you take everything at face value..."

The Book

Author Audrey Niffenegger (try saying those three words fast ten times...) has admitted somewhere online that the premise of “The Time Traveller’s Wife” started with a few paradoxical key scenes that i’m guessing she probably thought were cute. Then i’m guessing she figured out a way to string them together into a somewhat hodgepodge excuse for a novel.
And it shows.

I would be first in line to admit that Niffenegger has a gift for assembling very interesting/amusing little character encounters. Get two supposedly attractive sex-starved characters, throw in a slight sci-fi twist, and a sprinkling of déjà vu, and voila... steamy, and sometimes curiously intelligent little vignettes from an otherwise convoluted storyline.

But the thing about the “Time Traveller’s Wife” is that it isn’t unenjoyable. As long as you take everything at face value, allow yourself to get swept up in the emotional vignettes and assume that Einstein is out there somewhere trying to cover the plot holes as a personal favour to you.

Honestly not “must-reading,” but not a total waste of time.

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The Movie

Oooooooooookay... the first thing i must get off my chest is that it was a mistake to go see the movie the very day after i finish the book.

With the book still fresh in my head, it was hard for me to just take the movie for what it was without comparing it to the book as most book-readers are wont to do. And while the movie tried to be as faithful to the book as possible, it had to shoehorn a few explanations into the script just to try and enlighten the audience on how mixed up the story really was. That made for more than a few hokey scenes, and some unrealistic dialogue.

The casting of Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams as Henry and Clare was pretty spot-on, the same goes with the character of Charisse in the person of Jane McLean, but Ron Livingston as Gomez sort of missed the mark for me.

Like the book, a few scenes were nicely executed, but ultimately felt like a mere video synopsis of the book. And a lot of the emotion in the book was either forced or was totally absent altogether.

An honest effort, but in my personal opinion, a failure.

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Everyone who picks up a novel will always say that the book is/was better. Partly because a book is almost always written with the knowledge that whoever has the brains and fortitude to actually a whole effing book without pictures has got to be smart enough to understand multi-layered plot-points, characterizations, and obligatory sub-plots.

And of course, people who’ve reduced their social lives to whatever’s available online need people to know that they put their hermit time to good use by boasting that the “book is better.” Just to spite your non-book-reading ass and tell you indirectly that “i am smarter than you, because i read a thick book without pictures...”

But yes, the book was more satisfying. And yes, i AM smarter than you...

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