(2 / 5)
Like the book, A Wrinkle in Time has truly high concept ideas that are about beings and scenarios that far exceed the characters that they revolve around but also cuts deep into the tender emotions that power us forward. It takes these and crafts wild and bold images through costume, colors, sets and special effects. I’d wish something more memorable happened during it though.
The book is intended for children and the writing plays out for that audience, simple and clear. The movie is also meant to be a children’s movie, the colors are varied, but also stimulating, reds, greens, white, orange, blues, very little grays and just the most careful use of black. It is a world where even showing a school makes it look like a fairytale world.
This story tells the tale of a young girl named Meg Murry (Storm Reid) that was having a perfectly fine life until four years ago her father (Chris Pine) inexplicably disappeared. Now she is’nt very motivated to get involved in schoolwork, social events or anything.
I am not sure whether or not Charles Wallace is her stepbrother or not, I either missed that detail or it isn’t very clear. But for whatever reason Meg, as well as everyone else in the movie, refers to him by his full name of Charles Wallace (I hope you like that name because you will be hearing it a lot). No bodies for everyone and Deric McCabe is not for me. He’s only nine years old (younger when the movie was being filmed) and he is definitely confident in his performing but I feel it comes from a script level rather than anything else. He is apparently a natural genius and is never frightened by anything and always in the know. He comes off more obnoxious than anything.
One night there is an oddly dressed woman that has let herself into their living room. She goes by Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), she describes her motivations very vaguely and whimsically. Then she leaves. Later Charles Wallace leads them into a house where Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) sits waiting for them. She has apparently evolved beyond verbal language but can repeat other peoples famous quotes. This makes no sense. Finally is the leader and the eldest of the mysterious women, Mrs. Which (Oprah).
Later Meg’s schoolmate Calvin (Levi Kailing) is present and gets wrapped up in the plot. That’s it, he doesn’t really add anything or is opposed to anything going on nor does he even get that shocked.
The problem with these children is that, apart from Meg, they aren’t really interesting. They are just thrown into spectacular environments and meet odd characters and just go with whatever is asked of them. Calvin is asked by a strange woman he’s never met to come on a journey and responds with a blank expression “Sure!” Meg, on the other hand, has doubts second guesses her decisions and askes questions about all this madness that is happening around her.
Not since Doctor Strange have we seen a Hollywood movie with such wild visuals. The clothing, make-up, and C.G.I. create truly surreal images from funky patterns to sets that are striking while minimal. But they are just here to impress, there is a scene where the children go flying and the scene adds nothing. There’s also one set which I’m pretty sure is a reference to Jorodosky’s The Holy Mountain.
There are examples of movies getting bad critical reviews on the first release and going onto becoming treasures of cinema. Freaks, Labyrinth, Ferris Buller’s Day Off and others. So what does this mean for the rest of my review? Well, it means that art is subjective and there are things that can transcend simple criticism.
The book has endured because it has such wild, imagination-sparking ideas within it. The movie tells the same story and puts forward the same ideas and is accompanied by bold patterns, sets, and costumes. Though it never really comes to life and the sequences don’t really connect. It does distinguish itself from nearly any other movie out there. Children will be entertained and maybe even inspired while watching it, though I don’t believe they will be nourished by it in any way and adults will find it hard to connect with this very thick layer of whimsey.