Madeline L’Engle’s beloved story is adapted to the screen at the hands of another prominent storyteller in Ava DuVernay. A Wrinkle in Time has been celebrated for decades in print and like so many great literary works, it finally made its way onto the big screen.
In DuVernay’s adaptation, the heroine is Meg Murray, played by the very strong newcomer in Storm Reid, the daughter of two brilliant and respected NASA scientists. Meg is still reeling from the disappearance of her father, played by Chris Pine, who was on the verge of discovering a means of faster than light travel before his sudden disappearance.
Meg is approached by three celestial beings named The Mrs., Which, Whatzit and Who, and inform her that her father is in a distant region of the universe and may be in grave danger. Meg, her classmate Calvin, and her adopted brother Charles Wallace must venture out into the universe to find her father before an evil force finds him first.
I found A Wrinkle in Time, tedious, uncomfortable and sloppy and in my disappointment, I remembered that directors like Ava DuVernay are human; for every great movie like Selma, there is a movie in a director’s body of work that just doesn’t work and A Wrinkle in Time is a movie that just doesn’t work.
Visually, this is a very pretty movie but the plot is a lot to wrap your head around; these concepts of warriors of light, “The It”, tessering, it just doesn’t mesh well with the aesthetic of this picture and it doesn’t flow seamlessly like in other fantasy adventures like The Chronicles of Narnia for example. Ava DuVernay wanted this movie to feel like a labor of love, but in reality, this movie is just a haphazard mess once the inciting incident occurs.
Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell wrote this movie for the screen and it was difficult to follow. The plot and the pacing felt drawn out, devoid of wonder and I wasn’t enthralled by what was going on.
The cast of the film was decent enough. I liked Storm Reid, Pine, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kahling, Zach Galifianakis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Others like Deric McCabe, Levi Miller and Michael Peña left me very underwhelmed and other actors like André Holland, David Oyelowo, Belamy Young, Rowan Blanchard and Conrad Roberts, I felt as though were wasted.
On a technical level, this movie is its own worst enemy with so many factors that went into its production as positives were zeroed out by the negatives. The positives include the films visual effects, Paco Delgado’s costumes, Naomi Shohan’s production design, the art and set decoration and the makeup and hairstyling team.
The negatives? Oh boy! The cinematography and camerawork courtesy of Tobias A. Schliessler felt awkward and discomforting, Spencer Averick’s editing was more miss than hit as the film felt difficult to keep up with, Ramin Djwadi’s music and the soundtrack of the film was too heavy throughout and it felt like it was there just because of want more than need and didn’t enhance the quality of the picture.
A Wrinkle in Time is a story that was designed to take its audience away to new worlds and was set up to be this grand adventure about a battle between light and darkness. Unfortunately, it falls short of both taking audiences away and it was more misadventure and a losing battle. I felt as though my time was wasted more than wrinkled.