Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book vs Movie: The Time Traveler's Wife

Minor spoilers.

I like discussing movie adaptations because I always find it interesting to see the story in a new light. Telling that story in another format sometimes can even improve on the original material.

When it comes to writing these reviews, I try to keep it spoiler free. Sometimes I might add minor spoilers, but that’s about it. I want to keep it simple so that people who haven’t read the book or watched the movie can still read it.

Today we’re looking at The Time Traveler’s Wife.

I was really looking forward to see The Time Traveler’s Wife movie especially after reading the book. I’ve been avoiding it since it came out back in 2009 because I wanted to read the book first. And I’m proud to say I’ve succeeded.

Although I really wanted to see this adaptation, I had no expectations going in. After I finished the book and saw the trailer, I immediately thought that the movie wouldn’t do the book justice. In some aspects, I was right.

First, I want to clarify that this is NOT a bad movie. In fact, it was much better than I expected. I was surprised by how faithful it was to the source material. The Time Traveler’s Wife is not an easy book to adapt. Turning a 500-page book into a 90 minutes movie requires talent. There is no way anyone can fit in everything in the book with that amount of time. I understand that  a huge amount  will cut out from the movie, however it has to be done well.

Here’s my first problem with the movie, it cut out too much. I said in my book review that I had problems with the pacing of the book. As for the movie, I had the opposite problem. Things moved too quickly. You don’t get enough time to spend with these characters and care about their relationship. We don’t spend merely enough time with Clare as a child as we do in the book.  It's more focused on of Henry’s side of the story.

I don't have a problem having Henry be the main main character, but it almost feel like some parts of the story is lost. I think what made the relationship so good in the book is that you get to see both sides of the story. I'm not saying that it's the script's fault. I thought the screenwriter did a great job adapting the story. I'm just saying that this movie should have been longer. If this movie was over 2 hours long, it would have been a much better adaptation that could stand on it's own against the book.

Speaking of standing on it's on, The Time Traveler’s Wife movie... it doesn't do that very well. Because I didn't get to see Clare's side of the story from when she was a child (in the movie), I didn't exactly get why she fell in love with Henry in the first place. I didn't feel how much of an impact he made in her life as a child and as a teenager.

You definitely have to read the book in order to appreciate this movie. There's nothing wrong with that. The filmmakers knew going in that the movie wouldn't be as good as the book, based on the behind the scenes interviews I saw. Those who haven't read the book will look at the movie as a pleasant yet forgettable romance. That also explains why the movie didn't gain the popularity it should have being based on a well-beloved, very popular novel.

In conclusion, the winner is obvious. The book is so much better. It's more complaining, complex and an unforgettable read. The movie is also very good. I advise you to see it if you are a fan of the book. It's a much simpler take on the story, but it's a very faithful adaptation with incredible performances from both leads.

Winner: Book

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