The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger, Bruce Joel Rubin, and Robert Schwentke, 2009

Worse than the book. I suspect this would have been a lot more effective had it been filmed as a single television season; each major development could have had an episode devoted to it. As it stands, the plot points are crammed into the movie as if it were a Tokyo subway car, at the expense of any kind of development or depth. Consequent impact of said plot points: minimal.

The Road
Cormac McCarthy, Joe Penhall, and John Hillcoat, 2009

Better than the book, and well suited to be a feature — as the book was basically plotless, the two hours cover everything and then some. The movie fits quite nicely into the tradition of The Day After and Threads, and on that level I was pleasantly surprised. The lifeless setting is much better evoked in the film than by McCarthy's irksome prose, the character of the boy comes through more clearly, and the themes seemed less objectionable to me. Let me put it this way: there are moments in the film when we hear a voiceover, the natural response to which (as in most films) is "shut up, shut up, it's a lot more effective when you're not talking." Well, the book is basically just however many hundreds of pages of that voiceover. The fact that in the movie the guy actually does shut up from time to time makes it the superior way to experience the story.

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