The streaming platform (SvoD) is once again teaming up with Shawn Levy to offer Ryan Reynolds his Back to the Future. Adam through time has everything to be a hit on Netflix. Normal, it is calibrated for.
Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds, we can say that it’s a rolling business! After signing the excellent surprise Free Guy and before collaborating again for Deadpool 3 (for which the director has just signed), the duo take a Netflix break for Adam through time, a family adventure around time travel. .
For once, the story is rather simple. Adam (Walker Scobell) is a tough-mouthed 12-year-old boy who struggles to grieve the death of his father (Mark Ruffalo) a year earlier and who takes the opportunity to make his mother miserable ( Jennifer Garner). A life turned upside down when he comes across himself, thirty years older (Ryan Reynolds), landed at this time by mistake while looking for his wife (Zoé Saldana).
If we can recognize a quality to the streaming platform, it is its ability to attract our curiosity through projects that have a certain cachet. Or what the more realistic among us would call marketing. But what do you want, taking the director of several episodes of Stranger Things coupled with the star of a few in-house productions (6 Underground, Red Notice) with huge sympathy capital, and adding a cast of names and a scenario to the Return to the Future, Netflix knew very well that we were going to jump on it like a meat eater at the barbecue lounge.
Adam through time, an instant classic
With its mix of action, science fiction, humor, references to pop culture (now in the specifications of any blockbuster) and pretty morals around bereavement and family, the film ticks all the boxes. for those who would like to have a good time without pushing their requirements further.
From the intro to the floor to its end full of good feelings, each moment of the feature film works independently of the rest simply because it is written with a single objective: to keep us in a comfort zone.
It is for this reason that we can speak of classic, in the not noble sense of the term. Because Adam Through Time is just a compilation of scenes we know and love. From ET to Star Wars and even To Dream’s End, everything is there to remind us that the past is much nicer than the future. It is no coincidence that 2050 will only be mentioned, never shown. The whole point for the characters and the scenario is to go back, not the other way around.
Therefore, obviously the film will please, since it takes its ideas from the best. Impossible to say that we had a bad time during the viewing, in particular because the whole thing benefits from a rhythm and a staging that keep us awake, but how can we deny its lack of originality, of ambition.
Adam through time suffers from the same problem as many Netflix productions, seeking above all to satisfy the recommendation algorithm. Do you like romantic comedies? The mother is written like this. Meta valves? Ryan Reynolds has played the same character for ten films. Science fiction? There’s a time ship that makes itself invisible. Everything is written, played in advance to respond to his own cliché. And too bad if the addition of the elements is done by the use of large strings (the DNA of an injured person is therefore a bad DNA, otherwise how do you integrate the kid?), only the result counts. Adam Through Time has the exact same gait as Red Notice, he’ll just be given more credit for corporate cynicism. Perhaps because through this stacking, we have unsealed some good feelings…
Back to good ideas
Because if we start to sort, the film contains some beautiful ideas if they had been correctly exploited. The use of time travel to heal from mourning, to tell us about the relationship between a child who refuses to see the future and a man who hates his past, was a vision that deserved more than a few shots, a few dialogues around a lightsaber fight.
We know that we are often trapped between the film watched and the one we hoped to see. But Adam through time completely meets this principle since it is enough to scratch a little not to need to imagine its potential, it is present before our eyes! The film thus creates frustration, that of telling oneself that instead of having a film that does like everyone else, it had enough to offer its own identity. An identity that would surely have had strengths and weaknesses (including the risk of falling into big pathos), but that would have belonged only to him. Because here, blaming Adam too much over time, it feels like criticizing ET. And we don’t want to say anything bad about ET.