I have a question for you movie geeks; Am I the only person who didn’t read this book as a child? I feel like I didn’t have a proper childhood when I found out that A Wrinkle In Time, written by Madeleine L’Engle, is this legendary book that everyone was either forced to read in school or read it at home as a bedtime story. So the news that a movie adaptation is to be written and also directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma, Netflix’s 13), and I notice the world went nuts to find out this was being made.
I am not going to lie; I saw the trailer to this and thought to myself, this looks pretty interesting. Also the fact that they got not only Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Mindy Sterling; they also pulled off getting Oprah Winfrey to join the cast. This movie had to be great. The fan base is already locked in from what I thought because of how beloved the book is. This feels like a win from all angles. I have to say that by the end of the movie, I was a little disappointed.
Not ever reading the book before, I find out that this movie involves a little girl, Meg Murry (Storm Reid), is grieving over the loss of her father, Alex Murry, who disappeared without a trace and unknown to the rest of her family if he is even alive. That is until she is visited by beings who claim they know where he is and she is the only one that can free him from his prison into a world unknown to humans. Let the journey begin.
So this is not a bad plot. I can get behind the mystery of it all. My expectations however seemed pretty mixed with what I have seen in the trailer. I walked in thinking, “This could be another Tomorrowland (which was horrible and bland) or this could be this generation’s A Never-ending Story. While the movie started off pretty good and strong, Meg is going through a tough time dealing with her father but also having some heavy confidence issues regarding being different from everyone else. Also having to deal with a bully at school, her belief and heart is diminishing each and every day her father is gone.
Enter in one of the most adorable or the most annoying characters in many years, depending, which you are, Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, little brother to Meg. He is the “Toto” leading Dorothy into the tornado, or the “white rabbit” leading Alice to Wonderland. With his child-like imagination he is the window that fuses this mystical world with Meg as he introduces her to Mrs. Who, Which, and Whatsits. Three women or beings that in some way reminds you of one of the three crystal gems that watches over Steven in Steven Universe. If you are not watching that show by the way, stop your life and watch it right away. Before we get to them, let’s talk about Charles Wallace some more, Yes, you have to say the full name, otherwise you are saying it wrong. You can’t abbreviate it or give him a nickname. That is his name and in case you forget, his name is mentioned so many times you will lose your mind. McCabe I believe did a wonderful job with the part he was giving. He is very mature for his age and watching him on screen he was definitely trying to go after a statue. However, you either love him or hate him.
Visually this movie was tailor made to be a child’s film. To keep the little ones busy, we were given light hearted performance and lots of CGI to last a life time or at least the duration of the film. Lots of bright colors in the unique and creative costumes the characters had to wear and a decent movie score by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, West world). I actually do enjoy some of the original songs made from the film. Artist include: Sia, DJ Khaled featuring Demi Lovato, and Sade.
This family friendly film however is not so much about the technical side of things but the emotional impact of its characters. The relationship between The Murry Family is really nice to watch and also really heartbreaking because this family really loves each other. It is evidence in the current and flashback scenes depicted in the film. Also the eternal struggle of Meg herself and the villain of the movie serve as a huge metaphor for how young pre-teens feel when growing up.
Now, let’s talk about what you all have been wanting to hear about from reading the review, the marketing ploy of the film are the celestial beings who serve as guides on Meg’s mission. Each with their own quirky personalities brings in most of the comic relief of the film, if you can call this movie funny. Witherspoon (Whatsit) provided the honest and blunt commentary of the film. She would say whatever was on her mind as she was furthest away of how humans act and speak to each other. You saw her more in the film. Sterling (Who) was my favorite as her thing was that she would only speak words said by other people. Mostly quotes from famous artist and writers, she provided inspiration and motivation for Meg to never give up. I liked her take on the character to be up to date and modern but with giving a robot like demeanor; she came off as doll who speaks to make you smile whenever you are sad. She was very entertaining to watch. Last but not least is Winfrey (Which) who does what she does best and that is be Oprah. DuVernay take on her is pretty much how most people view her; a Goddess who stands tall above the rest of the world with all the wisdom in the world and has a bigger heart than the whole worlds combine. Her part while small, she is noticeable on screen and keeps you locked onto the screen. You don’t see her on the big screen as much so if you are a fan you take it all in while you can.
Overall I believe the movie didn’t live up to the potential the story and the characters deserved. The movie had a great message for little kids. Being unique and having unique and individuality I believe is very important and this movie talks about that throughout the film. It is okay to be “weird”, “different”, and stand out from the rest. Going into this film with no clue as to what to expect, they could have done anything with this film and while we were given a sunny happy playground of flying flowers, eccentric characters good and bad along with a huge flying cabbage that looks like Reese Witherspoon, the pacing was a bit slow and erratic. There was a lot of love displayed in this film but not enough to grab myself and give me the escapism I was looking for. The film should be seen definitely out of curiosity. The special effects is a good reason to see it on the big screen but if you have expectations that this film adaptation lives up to its potential you may be disappointed. I say this and I watched a woman next to me cry her eyes out towards the end of the film so is this movie a total bore? Absolutely not, but it’s just not the masterpiece everyone is hoping for.
DuVernay, I want to point out that I am so glad you were given the opportunity to direct this film. You are the first African American woman who has directed a movie with a budget over $100 Million. She brought interracial love to the screen with a diverse cast including people of color. Another film, that features mostly women in the cast and another reason that Hollywood has had it one way for too long and times they are changing.
2 ½ out of 5
Thank you for reading my review. I am sure there are fans of this movie so I would like to hear from them and why they enjoyed the film. Those who read the book, I want hear if this was adapted well to the screen. Make sure to like the post and subscribe for reviews in the future. Every film has at least one fan. See you at the movies.