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April 1st, 2010

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Drinky
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Clint Harris

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April 1st, 2010

The Time Travellers Wife is a romantic drama in which Eric Bana is bounced from era to era by a mysterious force, drawing him to important events, some of which he can influence, some of which he cannot.  His character is not immediately likable to say the least.  His environs are dismal, his habits unhealthy.  He constantly interferes with the lives of the same set up people, sometimes causing real problems for them which appear later in their lives, without their knowledge.

The plot tends to jump around, focusing on the unpredictable nature of time travel and the madness that begins to eat away at the Time Traveler because of his condition.  The titular character, the time traveler's wife, is never seen on screen.  It is the sorrow of her loss that has driven the Time Traveler to such terrible ends.

His madness begins to reveal itself when he attacks the Federation in a battle which effectively kills the father of James T. Kirk, who then becomes a force drawing the time traveler to him again and again.  Kirk's story also becomes the focus of the film, where Eric Bana has found a nemesis in a man whose potential could have been so much greater but instead has become a half-lived life of bad decisions and regret. 

The movie continues on with one improbable time-travel paradox after the next.  Sometimes involving a substance called Red Matter which can implode a planet with a single drop.  It is never explained why Spock has a 50 gallon glob of the stuff when a little dab'll do ya, but still, it's nasty stuff.  The Time Traveler continues to rampage through the galaxy, eventually reaching earth, where he tries to erase the memory of his wife once and for all by destroying her home world.  Thankfully he is stopped.  See, I told you not to bring more red matter than you would ever need, Eric Bana.

My critical thinking cap was on the whole time.  I couldn't help but wonder who the wife really was.  I had heard that Rachel McAdams was in the movie, and was sorely disappointed when she wasn't.  I'm hoping she makes it to a director's cut in the future.  Although there was some very nice eye candy in the form of Lt. Uhura and her green roommate, McAdams absolutely lights up the screen with her presence.  I think Bana's ship could have used a little more light.  Dark and dismal as it was.  But as I watched, I realized McAdams wasn't the time traveler's wife.  I wondered if it wasn't Kirk.  Events kept inexplicably drawing the two together. 

Bana's rage for Spock and constant need for revenge reminded me of Melville's Moby Dick, in which Ahab becomes obsessed with his nemesis.  It could have been that Spock and Bana were indeed married and Bana's thirst for vengeance  was more a condition of unrequited love.  Or possibly lust.  This is especially evident when Bana's ship dangles it phallic "drill" to the surface of Vulcan and impregnates Spock's homeworld with the Red Matter, which eventually destroys it.  It is a symbolic rape as much as it is a way to remove the Freudian barriers of Mother and Lover from between Bana and Spock.  This violation is too much for Spock, yet Bana's lust for Kirk, his second pick, is replayed as he attempts to rape the Earth with his barbed penis ship.

Kirk and Spock end the madness of the time traveler, sending him into a rip in space and time caused by the Red Matter.  They continue their lives, picking up the pieces, cleaning up the mess caused by an abusive relationship so bad that it transcended space and time.  There is hope at the end, and Kirk and Spock both show their resolve in playing the cards they have been dealt, rather than returning things to the way they "should" have been.

The Time Traveler's Wife is yet another example of genre tourism.  It is sold and promoted as a mainstream novel, and though I have not read it, I have to say that judging from the movie, it is obviously science fiction.  I mean it was practically an episode of Star Trek or something!  I should hope that permission was given to use Roddenbury's names and characters for this story, but I'm sure some provision of postmodern literature allowed the writers of the novel and the movie to rip off his ideas without crediting him.

If this had been a Star Trek movie, I think I would have liked it more, but instead it was being promoted as a romantic drama featuring Rachel McAdams, a move which invariably hurt the film in the long run. 

The Time Traveler's Wife

Starring Eric Bana, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and surprisingly enough not Rachel McAdams
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin based on the novel by Audrey Niffenegger

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