A Wrinkle in Time: Disney’s So-so Fantasy
A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay (notable for being the first film budget over $100M with an African American female director), who also directed Selma (2014), is based off the best-selling, award winning, children’s science fantasy novel written by Madeleine L’Engle in 1960. It is the story of Meg, her brother Charles, and her friend Calvin, whom are sent by three mythological beings to find their father trapped in space and time. The film is a very mixed bag. There are some good performances, it’s visually gorgeous, but it is clearly aimed at a young audience, ten years old and under.
The original novel is heavily laden with symbolism combined with theoretical physics, and a hard novel to adapt to film. This film adaptation does include much of what happens in the book, just placed in a more modern context. The visuals by Industry, Light, & Magic (famous for the Star Wars films) are great and create a new world which nicely accompanies the story. In particular, seeing Meg and her friends ride a grasshopper in a grass-field world was one of my favorite moments.
Most of the performances are actually quite good. Storm Reid as Meg is a promising newcomer, and she really brings a lot of emotion to the role. I think she’s going places as an actress. At first, she came off as too emotional and gloomy, but as the film progressed, she became much more active. Deric McCabe, as her brother, Charles, is a bit too much of an, “Ah, oh”, type of kid actor for my taste, but I guess, given his character is supposed to be a genius, it does makes sense.The three “beings” of space and time, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are played respectively by Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon. They are omniscient figures, and the actresses play them over the top. Sometimes, it can get annoying, and it was pretty funny to see a giant Oprah looking like she’s wearing something resembling a chicken-head do. Chris Pine also plays the father, but his part is small, only taking center stage as a major character in the plot.
A Wrinkle in Time is a movie that had a lot of potential, and while it isn’t bad, it does sort of squander the book’s ideas to a certain extent given the direction it took of mainly appealing to younger audiences. It is worth seeing on the big screen for the visuals, and the last half, without giving too much away, is actually better than the beginning.
Now playing in Hanover at The Nugget Theater Monday - Thursday at 4:15 and 6:40 PM, Friday at 4:15, 6:40, and 9:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 1:40, 4:15 (3D), 6:40, and 9:00 PM.