Sunday, June 26

Different time travel for today on HBO Max, in a series that fills the fourth dimension with nuances and originality

The starting point, perhaps the very nature of the story behind ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ (whose first chapter of six has been released by HBO Max this week) is, let’s not say stale, but it is somewhat old. I have not been able to find images that lead this text that are not a couple passionately embracing or someone looking at infinity with a transposed gesture. The novel by Audrey Niffenegger from 2003 and the film by Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams (which you can see on Movistar+) from 2009 are very light and easily digestible, but somewhat burdensomely romantic.

The plot, in fact, will already make anyone who does not want too many feelings in their science fiction take a step back: a young woman has been, since she was a child, receiving visits from a man with a strange genetic anomaly that leads him to travel in time without being able to avoid it, which turns her life into an eternal wait for someone whom she is condemned to love beyond the most elementary physical rules. Fortunately, the series (at least in its first episode) goes a little further than its approach.

Thanks to the script by Steven Moffat, the thing acquires some verve. The dialogues are revitalized and the action is fired up with continuous travel, something that was already in a more tame version in the two previous incarnations of the story, which reduced time travel to a plot anecdote. Or better, an eccentric modernization of the trope of the girl waiting for her lover to return from the war with the Frenchto hunt whales or to build a skyscraper.

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Moffat is a fan of the original book, which allows us to respect a good part of its essence: we are still facing a story of traditional romanticism about a wait that could be said to be eternal, but at the same time Moffat has managed to analyze and dissect what it is that makes run to its starting point. In fact, in his vision of ‘Doctor Who’, the one that gave him fame, he already paid a curious tribute to the original book, in one of the most deservedly popular episodes of the modern incarnation of the character, ‘The girl in the chimney’ .

love at various times

But… if you’re not interested in what Moffat has to tell you about the sentimental troubles of someone who literally isn’t able to anchor himself in a single era, is there something to scratch in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’? Well, the truth is that yes, and it is thanks to that strange rhythm of unpredictability, with a chaotic point, that the protagonist’s time travel gives.

The non-voluntariness of these jumps gives the series a curiously crazy air, but also a very systematic one, which Moffat emphasizes by giving the viewer a very special contextual piece of information: the age of the two protagonists in each scene. At this start of the series it is easy to get carried away by the chaos of the times and the absolute absence of paradoxes (the traveler meets different versions of himself, and the characters speak without problems of their common futures and pasts), but it works thanks to the fluidity of a script that has its best asset in its apparent simplicity.

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All this is surrounded by some interesting interpretations of the two absolute protagonists: Rose Leslie (Ygritte in ‘Game of thrones’, of which she retains her strength and her breech) and Theo James (this yes, moving away from the one-dimensionality of the saga ‘Divergent’). His scripts are full of bombastic phrases that in other less capable actors would have sounded like a postcardbut they give it a curious ironic veneer that injects them with some genuine verisimilitude.

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In short, a series that deserves us to overcome its apparent veneer of romanticism and pastel colors. Despite the fact that there are elements that today have become somewhat outdated (her passivity as a mere statue waiting for her knight-errant, the not very logical attack of jealousy that lives in the middle of the chapter), Moffat strives to update them by providing something more of life and independence to the characters. A different vision of the returns to the future (and past).

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