by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Ava DuVernay helms a Disney remake with a blockbuster big budget of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic, A Wrinkle In Time.
Meg Murray (Storm Reid) is a girl with a problem. She is moody and insecure. She is bullied and picked upon all over the disappearance of her father Dr. Alex Murray (Chris Pine), a ridiculed scientist that just disappears one day. Meg’s adopted brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), an extremely odd child prodigy, does nothing to help the situation by embarrassing her sister while in school. Despite her mother Kate’s (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) attempts to console her, Meg is bitter, angry and has recently lashed out against her neighbor and head bully Vanessa (Rowan Blanchard). One rainy night, on the four year anniversary of their father’s disappearance, Charles Wallace lets Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) into their home. Mrs. Whatsit flitters around the house and insinuates that she knows the whereabouts of Dr. Murray before she is ushered out of the house. The next day, the adventure to find him begins as Meg and Charles Wallace are accompanied by Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) on the walk home.
DuVernay entered the record books as the first African American woman to direct a movie with a budget of over $100 million and when watching this movie you can see where the money went. Wrinkle is beautiful in its imagery. The colors are bright and engaging, except for a couple of very perilous scenes. Even in those scenes, the cinematography is beautiful and enthralling. The sweeping 3D experience is the best in quite a while. There are lots of flying scenes and scenes of things flying at and around the characters which make the perfect environment for such an experience.
Unfortunately, there is very little else to positive about in this movie. This is Disney’s second attempt at bringing this classic to life. A made-for-TV version was attempted in 2003 that fell flat with the audience. This version is even flatter. For all the beauty of the imagery in the film, the adapted screenplay is the antithesis. This adaptation is severely lacking in substance and depth. Meg’s twin brothers are missing. The IT has somehow become the great darkness and the box scenes of Dr. Murray are absent from the film. Of course, these things can be sacrificed for the sake of creating a film but because the movie is A Wrinkle In Time you would think that they would take the time to explain the wrinkling process in a way that is fully understandable to the children that are supposed to be watching. Usually, I am finding movies that could use a trim down in their time but this is one of those time that I believe this movie could have used about twenty to thirty minutes added to flesh things out more completely.
A Wrinkle In Time is the first book in the famous “Time Quintet” of movies by Madeleine L’Engle.
The themes of those books were good versus evil and love and strength and the journeys that must be taken to find them. L’Engle’s books are full of richness and a completeness that Disney has been unable to capture on film twice. Thankfully, there does not seem to be any indication of any sequels to follow. Maybe Disney realized that some roads are better left untraveled.
Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril, A Wrinkle in Time is a lackluster, soulless, voiceless bore of a movie experience that is all style and no substance and made more faces wrinkle than the time.